The first of December 2014 should be a special day for anyone with an appreciative ear for a fine tune. Particularly if it comes from the chrome-tipped exhausts which ring out the music of a singing Italian V8 motor. Because on that date, a true legend of Italian automotive history will be celebrating one hundred years in business, and at Maserati they plan to mark their centennial event with a bit of a party. To please our love for beautiful watches, here is the Bvlgari Octo Maserati Limited Edition.
The secret of Maserati’s longevity lies behind their success on the world’s greatest racetracks, their pure sporting heritage and of course those drop-dead gorgeous lines with the iconic Trident badge up front, which imprint themselves in one’s soul. Oh, and also because everyone loves a beautiful Italian sportscar!
By fortuitous happenstance their friends and fellow Italian superbrand Bvlgari will also be enjoying a knees-up to celebrate their 130th anniversary, and as they have already been collaborating in recent times, what better reason could you want to release a special limited edition watch to mark both big occasions?
The watch, the Bvlgari Octo Maserati Limited Edition carries almost as much presence as the cars in which it will most likely be seen in, and whether by accident or design, its multi-angled case is the Bulgari yin to Maserati’s sweeping and curvaceous yang.
With its origins tracing back to a now 15-year old design by watch designer extraordinaire Gérald Genta, the Bulgari Octo is a panoply of straight lines, edges and angles; its widely-spaced lugs and fat leather strap where it meets the case, and the screw-in crown nestled between the rectangular chronograph pushers combining to create the illusion of a piece somewhat larger than its relatively modest 41.5mm width suggests.
The new Bulgari Octo Maserati Limited Edition is presented in a stainless steel case, with brushed horizontal and vertical surfaces, and highly polished angles providing an eye-catching contrast. The round static bezel features circular brushing with imprinted tachymetre scale in black and sits atop the distinctive eight-sided ring, which inwardly frames the dial and outwardly characterizes the watch as a whole.
Its dial is a deep dark blue and has been lacquered and then polished to a glossy, glassy sheen. The white minutes markings, which glow a light blue in the dark, faithfully track the octagonal steel ring and are punctuated by applied hour indices with numerals only at the 12. The chronograph counters are laid out in a familiar array, with white rings and dark blue references. With the 30-minutes and 12-hour chrono counters at the 3 and 6 respectively, flanking the date window at the 4.30, and the small constant seconds at the 9, it can mean only one thing, but more of that presently.
The Maserati branding is very classy, with no gaudy limited edition text or colourful badge printed on the dial, which in my opinion can get old pretty quickly. Instead the famous Trident is incorporated into the seconds hand and seems subtle enough to be able to retain its cool through the passing of time. The hours and minutes hands have hollowed panels, but no luminous material, although the contrast of the bright-ish steel hands against the dark dial means it is probably still practical in all but pitch black conditions.
Turned over and another really nice surprise awaits, a barely opaque commemorative blue glass panel serves as the centerpiece of the caseback, and features the Maserati name in an arc around the Trident, and the piece number of the 1914 pieces which will be produced. Look closely and the free-spinning signed rotor of the automatic movement within is visible.
Ah, that movement: for this Maserati edition it’s been given the racy moniker Velocissimo, meaning ‘fastest’, and that’s because the ‘manufacture’ BVL 328 calibre, beats at a high speed 36,000 vph. A silicon escapement ensures longevity, and an oscillating pinion which engages the column wheel chronograph means activation and use is as seamless as the modern Maserati sequential gearbox.
But hold on there a second! Isn’t that subdial and date configuration, and a 36,000 vph rate the fingerprint of the smoothest of horlogic engines, Zenith’s standard-setting El Primero? And sure enough, that’s what it is. And why wouldn’t it be, as both donor and benefactor now reside as stablemates under the auspices of the LVMH corporation. But a Bulgari ‘manufacture’ as hinted at in the official press release? Really? Is that not perhaps stretching poetic license just a little? Sure, it is without doubt a manufacture movement, just not Bvlgari’s.
But in any case, what that iconic piece of Zenith micro engineering does is make sure that when the Bulgari Octo Maserati Limited Edition turns up for the big birthday bash, it will be in good company because like those delicious cars, it will be confidently packing the hardware to back up its looks.
The Bulgari Octo Maserati Limited Edition is presented on a dial-matching dark blue leather strap with folding clasp, and as stated previously is available in a production of 1914 individually numbered pieces.
It is priced at € 9,700.