Bulgari is becoming a force to contend with in the watchmaking arena, and not just because of its ultra-thin, razor-sharp Octo Finissimo range that has scaled the podium to achieve ‘iconic’ stature in less than a decade. As Rome’s most celebrated jeweller, Bulgari’s high-jewellery watches are no less spectacular. And we’re not just talking about women’s high jewellery watches but watches designed for both sexes that combine horological content with voluptuous stone settings. The launch of the spectacular Mediterranea high jewellery and watch collection, interpreting the vibrant colours and marine life of the Mediterranean in precious stones, includes a one-off men’s Octo Roma Mediterranea secret watch powered by Bulgari’s record-breaking, ultra-thin flying tourbillon movement. Housed in its chapter dedicated to Roman Splendor is another unique Octo Roma secret watch bearing the profile of a Roman emperor sculpted in cameo, concealing the ultra-thin tourbillon movement.
Octo Roma Mediterranea
Most of us are familiar with Bulgari’s seductive Serpenti Misteriosi secret watches, hiding their miniature mechanical movements in the head of the snake, but not many know that Bulgari is probably one of the rare brands to design secret watches expressly for men. The bold octagonal architecture of the Octo Roma, inspired by the geometry of Ancient Roman architectural motifs, has been used in the past to house a secret watch using an ancient Roman coin to hide the hand-wound 1.95mm tourbillon movement that made its debut inside the Octo Finissimo of 2014.
One look at this watch with its diamond-set octopus guarding the movement, and you’ll be humming “Octopus’s Garden” by the Beatles. Crafted in white gold, the octopus and his tentacles concealing the movement are brought to life with a dynamic setting of diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and neon-blue Paraiba tourmalines. However, raising the hinged secret cover containing the octopus reveals a second octagonal bezel set with brilliant-cut diamonds framing the modern, ultra-thin BVL 268 SK calibre with flying tourbillon. Beating at 21,600vph, the 1.95mm thick calibre delivers a power reserve of 52 hours.
The Octo Roma Mediterranea secret watch is housed in a 44mm rose gold case set with baguette-cut diamonds. The rose gold crown is set with a contemporary black DLC titanium insert, and the watch comes with a blue alligator strap with a folding buckle set with baguette-cut diamonds.
Octo Roma Cameo Imperiale
Summoning the imperial grandeur of Ancient Rome, the second secret watch hides its mechanism with a cameo of Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome. Dating back to the 5th century BC in Greece, cameo art became popular in Rome under Augustus. To recreate the traditional technique of cameo carving, Bulgari collaborated with skilled cameo artisans in Torre del Greco (just outside Naples). Depicted in profile, the cameo portrait of the Emperor is beautifully executed, and his head is embellished with a diamond laurel wreath, while his toga is made of lapis lazuli and his protective armour of diamonds. The cameo is, in turn, framed by a diamond-set meander, a decorative geometric Greek motif used extensively in Roman art.
The 44mm platinum case of the Cameo Imperiale is also set with baguette-cut diamonds, and the hinged cover with the cameo can be lifted to reveal the BVL 268 SK calibre framed by brilliant-cut diamonds set in the bezel. The white gold crown is set with a DLC titanium insert, and the watch comes with a black alligator strap and folding buckle set with baguette-cut diamonds.
The Octo Roma Mediterranea and Octo Roma Cameo Imperiale are one-of-a-kind timepieces, and their price, as you have probably guessed, is exclusively on demand. For more information, please visit bulgari.com.