The Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon marries two traditional complications in a radically contemporary setting. The impressive acoustic and visual show, with a three-hammer chime and tourbillon, takes place on the dial of a very ‘noir’ Octo Roma case. The hammers, gongs and tourbillon are exposed on the dial while the mechanics of the impressive new BVL428 manual-winding calibre can be glimpsed at through an openworked metallic grille bolted to the dial and more clearly on the reverse side of the case. Assertive and commanding with its black DLC titanium case, two traditional complications are cast in an entirely new – but very dark – light.
solid chiming credentials
Chiming complications, in all their modalities, are not new to Bvlgari. Well represented in the past by the Daniel Roth Grande Sonnerie QP and the Gérald Genta Grande Sonnerie Magsonic with Westminster chimes and tourbillon, Bvlgari masters chiming timepieces with two, three and even four hammers. More recently, we’ve been treated to the world record ultra-thin Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater (in titanium, carbon and gold) and the magnificent and hyper-complex Octo Roma Grand Sonnerie.
Contrary to prevailing opinion, the Octo was not a Gerald Genta creation: the Octo was conceived in Bvlgari’s Roman design department in 2004. Its bold octagonal profile, emulating architectural and decorative motifs of Ancient Rome, has become the iconic profile of Bvlgari’s men’s watches and the departure point for the brand’s record-breaking ultra-thin Octo Finissimo collection.
The black DLC-coated titanium case of the Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon has a 44mm diameter and displays a matte finish. The choice of titanium and the generous proportions of the case ensure the clearest possible diffusion of sound. The dynamic architecture of the octagonal case becomes even sharper with the incorporation of three hollowed-out areas on the case middle corresponding to the three chimes. Like ventilation grilles, the amount of metal on the sides of the case has been reduced to allow the sound to exit from the chamber. On the reverse side, the caseback also features hollowed-out areas covered with a titanium grid to protect the resonance zone but allow sound to travel outside the case.
The crown, crafted in white gold, features a black ceramic insert with the limited edition number in white (1-15). Directly opposite the crown is the white gold pusher to activate the chiming function. The hallmark octagonal bezel, also made of black DLC-coated titanium, frames the dial. Unlike other Octo Roma models, the perimeter of the dial does not echo the octagonal case. Semi-openworked for a glimpse of the impressive movement, the dial is covered with a metallic grille, similar to the ventilation apertures on the case side. The hammers of the chiming mechanism in the upper left section of the dial meet the gongs that circle the dial’s perimeter. Formed by hand, the gongs are hardened at a temperature of 900 degrees and then ‘ironed’ in an oven at 500 degrees; this last stage gives the metal its crystalline resonance. The gongs are then lengthened with a file to refine the chords. Like the Big Ben in London, the Westminster chimes are performed with three hammers sounding three tones: the note C for the hours, the mid-re-C notes in sequence for the quarters, and the mid note for the minutes.
Bvlgari’s new manual-winding calibre is manufactured in-house. Measuring 35mm with a height of just 8.35mm and 432 parts, the movement was designed to prioritise the quality of the sound produced. The choice of case material and its large dimensions allow for increased torque of the three-hammer construction and more powerful sound production. The movement is equipped with two barrels; one of the barrels is dedicated to the sound mechanism, the other ensures a 75-hour power supply for the movement when fully wound (there is a circular power reserve indicator on the caseback).
In keeping with the case’s contemporary finishings, the openworked main plate and bridges are treated with black PVD to contrast with the alternating polished or brushed steel components.
Availability & Price
An on-trend black rubberised alligator strap with a black DLC-coated titanium three-blade folding buckle completes this dark homage to Bvlgari’s Sinfonia della Meccanica. Limited to 15 pieces, the Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon will retail for EUR 290,000. More information at Bvlgari.