Bulgari made quite an impact last year when it unveiled its record-breaking, ultra-thin Octo Finissimo Automatic. In total, the sand-blasted titanium case measured just 5.15mm thick, an incredible achievement and one that in my opinion, looks absolutely superb on the wrist. Others, however, found it either too thin or too expensive. Fortunately for those detractors, Bulgari’s new Octo l’Originale Solotempo Titanium offers a very similar aesthetic, in a slightly thicker case and at a more wallet-friendly price.
Bulgari is introducing several new models into its popular Octo collection this year, and we’ve already gotten hands-on with two of them; the Octo l’Originale Velocissimo chronograph in full titanium and the Octo Tourbillon Sapphire in Black DLC. The third model we are looking at is the Solotempo, a stylish three-hander with date presented in the brand’s trademark multi-layer octagonal case with 110 facets.
As with earlier versions of the Octo l’Originale Solotempo, the case measures 41mm x 10.6mm height and offers a sense of depth and contrast that other watches really struggle to emulate. Like many of the famous artworks in Rome, the home of Bulgari, the case and crown look like they have been sculpted, as opposed to machined, from titanium. Despite the fact that it is inherently a very simple watch, it is a really interesting piece on the wrist – architecturally speaking. In contrast, the Octo Finissimo Automatic sacrifices some of this depth by virtue of being such a flat watch, although I must admit it’s still my favourite.
Over the last five years or so, titanium has become an increasingly popular material in the watchmaking industry, thanks in large part to its incredible lightness. As you probably know already, it boasts a density 40% lower than that of steel, combined with excellent resistance to mechanical stress, fire and corrosion. This translates into an incredibly light feeling on the wrist, which can sometimes be a little disorienting at first but is ultimately very comfortable. Plus, I really like the sand-blasted titanium aesthetic that Bulgari has created. It gives the watches a slightly more industrial feel, whilst still looking stylish. This is definitely a watch you can wear for all occasions.
Unusually, this aesthetic also carries over to the dial, which is also made from sand-blasted titanium with applied hour markers. The dial layout is very simple, with large Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock in the classic Bulgari font. At 3 o’clock there is a small date window, with a black date wheel and grey numbers. I like this added bit of contrast as it makes the dial just that little bit more interesting, although I can imagine some people might prefer a grey date wheel (matching the colour of the dial) or no date window at all. Completing the display are open-worked, dauphine-style hands.
Inside is Bulgari’s Calibre BVL 191 Solotempo, a self-winding, manufacture movement that is visible through the sapphire case back. A quality construction, it beats at 28,800 v/ph and offers a 42-hour power reserve. The movement is properly – if simply – finished with chamfered edges and Geneva stripes.
The Bulgari Octo l’Originale Solotempo is presented on an integrated rubber strap and closed with a DLC-coated steel folding clasp. Water-resistant to 100m, it really is a great all-round watch, and will be perfect for those warmer months later this year when you want something understated yet still cool to wear with your more casual summer gear. As I mentioned earlier, the price is also a bit friendlier and will be set at EUR 6,950. More details on bulgari.com.