Bulgari is a brand that frequently seeks to redefine shape and silhouette, with head designer Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani one of the driving forces behind this pioneering approach. In fact, few are aware that Stigliani actually created the initial design sketches for the Octo in 2004.
The watch takes its inspiration from the city of Rome and its historic architecture as well as its modern design. In particular, the timepiece was informed by the arches of the Maxentius Basilica in the Roman Forum, which is considered to have been an unprecedented design and engineering feat of the era, much like the Bulgari Octo.
With an eight sided case and a rounded face, the Octo is a complex watch in the guise of something altogether more simple. Created with 110 facets, the case has a wonderful polished finish that generates a truly mesmerising impact. Smooth and sophisticated, the Octo is a classic that is seriously easy going. In a 41.5 mm wide case constructed in either pink gold or steel, the Octo is 10.5 mm thick and was created specifically as a trademark for the Bulgari masculine branch.
As if this watch’s aesthetic appeal was not enough of a draw for watch lovers, the in-house developed movement, an automatic calibre BVL 193, powers the simple, minimalist design hands along with date window, whilst there is a 50 hour power reserve.
Bvlgari Gets Better
Just as the Octo was taking the watchmaking world by storm, in 2014 Bulgari sprung a real surprise by launching the Octo Finissimo, a super-thin version of the model. A product of the brand’s expansion, the Finissimo was created in-house and features a manual winding mechanism. At just 2.23 mm thick, this was a truly pioneering development and showed that Bulgari was set on blazing a trail in horology. Later that same year the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon was born, boasting the world’s thinnest tourbillon. At just 5 mm thick, this watch represented yet another major development in the Italian born, Swiss based brand’s history.
Bulgari was created in Italy when Greek keweller Sotirio Bulgari first opened a store in Via Sistina in Rome all the way back in 1884. His sons, the Bulgari brothers, would make the brand a huge success in the early 20th century with their commitment and passion for precious stones and jewellery. Then, at the culmination of WWII, Bulgari became synonymous with Italy’s elites and the Dolce Vita years which would soon follow. Indeed, the brand was a favourite for film stars of the calibre of Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn, whose careers were tied intimately with Italian culture.
Bulgari began an international campaign to expand in the 1970’s with their first inroads into watchmaking. The first Bulgari timepiece was the Bulgari-Bulgari, launched in 1977 only three years before the brand established Bulgari Time in Switzerland. Bulgari slowly gained the respect of the Swiss watchmaking community by producing expertly made timepieces at its highly advanced HQ. By merging with a range of established Swiss horology companies, Bulgari was able to launch its first mechanical movement designed, created and put together in-house in 2010.