Part of the novelties for the Geneva Watch Days 2021, Bvlgari revisits its magnificent Papillon Tourbillon with jumping hours, patented Papillon (butterfly) minutes and central tourbillon in an Octo Roma case. Introduced in 2015, Bvlgari combined Daniel Roth’s innovative “butterfly” time display complication with a spectacular central flying tourbillon to create the Papillon Tourbillon. Smaller than the first 45mm model, the new 41mm Papillon sheds its distinctive Daniel Roth design cues and flaunts an equally impressive Octo Roma case.
Intent on upping its horological game, the Bvlgari Group acquired two heavyweight names in high-end watchmaking in 2000: Gérald Genta and Daniel Roth. This acquisition was instrumental in laying the foundations for the development of the superb and successful Octo Finissimo collection and its impressive series of horological world records. Although Roth left the following year, Bvlgari inherited his forceful designs and technical know-how to produce some of the most exuberant pieces in its collection. Introduced in 2015, the Bvlgari Papillon used Roth’s original time display complication and added a central tourbillon.
Papillon time display
The 24-hour jumping hours appear in the gold-framed aperture at noon, and the minutes, which might initially look as though they are retrograde, are indicated by two independent retractable lozenge-shaped hands. Each 18k gold hand traces a 180° semi-circular minute track (spanning from 3 to 9 o’clock). When the first hand reaches the 55th minute on the track, the second hand simultaneously performs a gradual quarter turn to assume a position parallel to the first 00-minute indication and start its journey. Once the second hand is in position, the first hand retracts and remains frozen for the next 55 minutes.
Unlike a traditional retrograde hand that jumps back to its initial position, causing wear and tear on the mechanism and consuming a lot of energy, the alternating hands of the Papillon consume less energy and consequently have less impact on the power reserve. When one of the butterfly hands reaches the 60-minute marker, the jumping hour mechanism on a ceramic ball bearing is activated.
Adding even more dynamism to the scenery is the centrally mounted tourbillon, a rarity in watchmaking given the complexity required to position it in the centre of a dial.
Octo Roma Case
In a clear departure from the 2015 Papillon Tourbillon, the 2021 model is housed in a 41mm Octo Roma case. The Octo, which made its debut in 2012, took its octagonal geometry from the impressive coffering on the arches supporting the Basilica of Maxentius in the Roman Forum. Its iconic stacked architecture would become the backbone of the ultra-thin Octo Finissimo legion. In 2017, Bvlgari presented a softer, more rounded version of its Octo with the Octo Roma. Obviously, the octagonal central container was retained but topped by a smooth, round, brushed bezel; instead of the 110 razor-sharp facets of the Octo Finissimo, the Octo Roma limited them to 58. Beyond simple time-and-date models, the Octo Roma has hosted a spectacular Carillon Tourbillon and a high jewellery Tourbillon Sapphire Malachite.
The 41mm rose gold case of the new Octo Papillon Central Tourbillon features a brushed bezel and contrasting polished finishings on the octagonal case middle. A rose gold crown with a black ceramic insert matches the elegant matte black and gold colour scheme of the dial.
Calibre BVL 332
Visible through the sapphire caseback is Bvlgari’s manufacture Calibre BVL 332, a hand-wound movement designed and assembled by master watchmakers. Although the press release does not provide much detail, it is likely to be an upgrade to the original BVL 266 central tourbillon with its patented minute papillon system created for the 2015 edition. A central bridge with cut-out radii and anthracite finishing gives the movement an attractive contemporary look, and the power reserve indicator – originally positioned vertically – is now aligned horizontally. Beating at 21,600vph/3Hz, the movement can store up to 60 hours of power reserve.
The Bvlgari Octo Roma Tourbillon Central Papillon comes with a matte black alligator strap, and a rose gold folding clasp. Price to be confirmed.
For more information, please visit Bvlgari.com.