With the Bulgari Octo Finissimo collection celebrating its tenth anniversary earlier this year, one would think everything has been done by now. We’ve had time-only Automatics, GMT Chronographs, Tourbillons, Minute Repeaters, Perpetual Calendars and more, with pretty much every single one setting ultra-thin records. Nevertheless, Bulgari remains diligent in expanding the Octo Finissimo range with technical marvels, all using the same instantly recognizable design ethos. The latest addition might not break any outright records for thinness, it is an extremely impressive watch for a number of reasons. As part of Bulgari’s novelties for Geneva Watch Days 2022, this is the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days.
There’s no denying the Octo Finissimo as a modern-day horological icon but who would have thought when Bulgari presented it less than a decade ago it would set the tone for a relentless push into ultra-thin watchmaking? With a signature mix of horizontal and vertical lines inspired by the Basilica of Maxentius in Rome, the Octo Finissimo broke new grounds for styling and proved a smash hit for the brand. Sure, the more complex and often record-breaking pieces would never be produced in the thousands, but what Bulgari has achieved through the Octo Finissimo is monumental.
Through record-breaking watches such as the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic and of course the Ultra, Bulgari has cemented itself as a master of ultra-thin watchmaking. Time and time again Bulgari showed highly technical watches with complex and clever solutions to shaving off millimetres wherever they could. Engineering peripheral rotors, a case that doubles as a mainplate and a folding clasp that sits flush in a bracelet are just a few of the examples. And although today’s novelty does not break any records, it is a technical marvel nonetheless.
a new landmark
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days can best be described as a new landmark piece for the collection. It is the embodiment of the Octo Finissimo laureled design and Bulgari’s expertise in complex watchmaking down to the smallest of margins. Part of the clue is in its name already, but going over the specs the overall height of the watch reveals this is yet again a horological marvel. Coming in at 40mm across and just 5.95mm in height, the geometric pink gold case is just a hair thicker than the record-breaking and award-winning QP from last year.
The entire case has been satin-finished, a trick Bulgari has deployed many times before and works brilliantly with the warm tones of pink gold. The circular bezel gives way to the dial and movement through the trademark octagonal opening. A sapphire crystal covers both the front and the back of the case. The pink gold crown, used for setting and winding the watch is finished with a black ceramic insert. The flat caseback with flush mounted crystal is engraved with all the specific details of the watch and is held in place with 8 screws.
With the entire movement being openworked (more on that later on) you can’t really speak of a dial for the Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days. What constitutes as such, is a chapter ring with a gold-coloured printed minute scale. This is integrated with 11 hour markers and an Arabic 12 at noon. The pink gold hands are skeletonized to match the look of the movement. On the bottom left corner the small seconds subdial ties in with the aforementioned chapter ring. Bulgari has placed a spoked wheel underneath the small seconds hand that has an extended bar on its outer perimeter. As the watch is wound, this bar slides into view through the cutouts between 8 and 9 o’clock to indicate the movement’s power reserve. At 3 o’clock the Bulgari 8 Days logo is the finishing touch.
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days is powered by a brand new movement, Calibre BVL 199 SK. All the plates and bridges are skeletonized in a masculine straight-edged style and finished with bevelled edges and an anthracite PVD coating. The coating provides a strong contrast with the rose gold elements and the movement’s running gear. It comes with 33 jewels, almost all of them visible by the way, and runs at a frequency of 21,600vph. But, and this is the wildly impressive bit, it delivers a massive 192 hours of power reserve. In reality, this means you can put it aside for a full week, pick it up on the eighth day and still have it running on time. Although I can’t imagine not wearing this watch that long.
How? Well, basically there are three ways to extend the power reserve beyond the standard 40 to 50 hours. Firstly, you could reduce the frequency, which is what ETA did to achieve the 80 hours of the Powermatic range for instance. Secondly, you could include multiple barrels to increase the power reserve. And thirdly, just go for the biggest barrel with the longest spring possible, which is exactly what Bulgari has done. A large single barrel is positioned in the top-right quarter section of the movement and since it’s fully skeletonized you can clearly see it takes up all the space between the centre pinion and the edge of the movement. You also get a glimpse of the very long spring that sits inside the barrel. When fully wound it is tightly wrapped around the barrel arbour, as you can see in the images. When unwound, the spring is nestled against the outer rim of the barrel, and you can see right through.
The tantalizing Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days is presented on a chocolate brown alligator leather strap with a rose gold pin buckle. This is attached to the case with a pink gold end link. It is presented as part of the permanent collections but will not be produced in extremely high numbers as you can imagine. The price will be EUR 38,500 or CHF 36,200.
For more information, please visit Bulgari.com.