Black, Bold And Gold: Bulgari’s Geneva Watch Days Novelties
When it comes to visually arresting styles, The Italian luxury house’s latest introductions are all killer, no filler.
During Geneva Watch Days, Roman luxury house Bulgari once again took the event by storm. My Watchonista colleagues Philip Minden and Kristen Shirley have already provided excellent coverage of the show-stopping Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days and the seductive new Serpenti watches, including the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon, two black Serpenti Seduttoris and a Serpenti Spiga Ceramic. But these are not the only new to-die-for Bulgaris that were shown. We are delighted to see the brand deliver its distinct design language and record-breaking technology throughout its timekeeping division.
The Octo Finissimo is not only the face of Bulgari’s record-breaking, ultra-thin mechanisms, but the architecture of the eight-sided case has also become emblematic. This is why the Automatic Sejima —a limited edition collaboration with Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima — is so exciting.
Sejima transforms the Octo Finissimo by introducing a playful dot pattern that has been metallized onto the sapphire crystal. The monochromatic 40mm case stays true to the Octo S Series signature look but a highly polished case and bracelet and a mirror dial provide a sense of movement and lightheartedness.
Speaking of movement and light, turn the timepiece over and you’ll see the ultra-thin automatic calibre BVL138 wound by a micro-rotor in action. Only 36.60mm in diameter, and 2.23mm in height, this micro machine still beats at 3Hz and boasts 60 hours of power reserve when fully wound. The exhibition case back features Sejima’s signature and an engraved limited-edition number.
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Sejima (reference 103710) is limited to 360 pieces and comes delivered in a shiny steel press box that recalls the dial’s mirror finish. It is priced at $14,000.
Bulgari has been celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Octo all year with many limited edition interpretations of the now iconic collection. In the case of the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT in pink gold and the Octo Finissimo Automatic in pink or yellow gold, the material is the message.
Like the Automatic Sejima, the emphasis is on slimness and shine.
The gold touch is quite transformative: the precious metal warms up the Octo Finissimo’s angular silhouette while the satin-brushed case offers a dramatic play of light. The case is then contrasted against a subtle brown-lacquered dial. These ultra-thin timepieces have been fitted with a brown alligator leather strap secured by a folding clasp.
The Chronograph GMT is controlled by pushers on either side of the case and is driven by the BVL Calibre 318, an integrated automatic manufacture movement that still holds the record for the slimmest mechanical chronograph ever made.
At Geneva Watch Days, Bulgari was encouraging visitors to use the hashtag: #UNEXPECTEDWONDERS. And it’s a helpful way, to sum up the brand’s offerings. We weren’t expecting so many novelties; each iteration felt new and there was something for everyone.
Take, for example, the two new Bulgari Bulgari references: a 33mm case with a quartz movement and a 41mm execution driven by the mechanical self-winding BVL Calibre 191.
These simple round watches with their logo-decorated bezels are made more modern thanks to a black DLC coating on the stainless steel case and bracelet and lacquered dial. This murdered-out mix of matte and shiny surfaces provides plenty of wrist presence.
The Bulgari Bulgari collection is also appealing thanks to its pricing. Both non-limited editions the 33mm with a quartz movement lists for $3,750, and the 41 mm with automatic caliber 191 goes for $5,100 to allow enthusiasts to experiment with a bolder-looking design without breaking the bank.
On the Sporty Side
The brand continues to back blacks with a new Bulgari Bulgari Aluminium watch. Earlier this year, the maison revived the collection with two timepieces tied together by the theme of transportation. The red and black Ducati version is also inspired by the colors of the Ducati racing bikes, as well as by Amerigo Vespucci, with a black, white and yellow gold color story (and because its theme is travel and exploration, it has a GMT function). These sporty limited editions come with an ultra-light aluminum case, a titanium case back with DLC coating, and a segmented rubber and aluminum strap.
For Geneva Watch Days, Bulgari introduced a third piece to the family — a collaboration with the Japanese artist Sorayama. The defining characteristics of this racy watch are the outsized, but subtle, number 2 (the artist’s lucky number) and the silvered perlage dial that recalls the streamlined design of planes and race cars from the 1930s and 1940s. It contrasts nicely against the black rubberized bezel. It is fuelled by a high-beat, ETA 2892 or Sellita 300-1 self-winding movement.