You can’t talk about Bulgari’s timepieces without mentioning the slick and slim Octo Finissimo watches. Launched since 2012, the slim pieces quickly became iconic for their elegantly thin form and impressive watchmaking techniques. Wanting to expand its universe, the Italian luxury brand followed up with Octo Roma in 2017. Now six years later in 2023, Bulgarias has refreshed the sophisticated Octo Roma series with nine variants.
At Watches and Wonders 2023 in Geneva earlier this March, Bulgari unveiled the next chapter of their Octo Roma series. A total of nine watches complete the collection – three Octo Roma Automatics, two Octo Roma Chronographs, and four Octo Roma Tourbillons.
Bulgari buffs up the 2023 Octo Roma
While Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo brought the line mainstream fame and success, the younger Octo Roma also quietly won fans by tapping on not only the luxury brand’s heritage and Italian-style design, but also Swiss watchmaking precision.
The Octo Roma is adapted from the 1975 Roma, which is itself inspired by ancient Roman coins. Furthermore, the Roma’s shape is a nod to Roman city architecture like the Pantheon and the Basilica of Maxentius’ vaults, further cementing Bulgari’s connection to the historic city.
Compared to the Octo Finissimo, Bulgari uses a softer approach for the Octo Roma. Perfect for the modern gentleman, the latest iteration sees gentle curves that soften the edgy sharp angles of the Octo. The satin-brushed upper round bezel contrast with a polished lower octagonal bezel part, creating an eye-catching symphony of texture, light, and shadows.
Zoom in, and you’ll sport an intricate Clous de Paris motif on the dial of the automatic and chronograph models, honouring Swiss Haute Horlogerie. The Octo Roma’s crown is also seamlessly incorporated into the case of these two models and secured by screwed-down crown protectors. Thus, each watch is water-resistant up to a depth of 100 metres.
Both automatic and chronograph models allow personalisation via a convenient tool-free interchangeable wristband system. Whether casual or chic, the Octo Roma’s sophisticated versatility makes it an ideal wrist companion from day to night.
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Octo Roma chronograph makes its debut
The 2023 Octo Roma collection features three different mechanical styles across nine models. But making its debut this year is the Octo Roma chronograph. Stainless steel in build, the 42mm good-looker is powered by Calibre BVL 399, a Swiss-made manufactured in-house mechanical movement with automatic winding that’s visible through the caseback. This movement operates a central seconds hand, a 30-minute counter, and a 12-hour counter. Also, this handsome timepiece beats at a robust 28,800vph (4Hz) and provides a 42-hour power reserve.
Available in blue or black dials, the Octo Roma chronograph comes fashioned with Geneva stripes and chamfering, alongside Bulgari’s signature on the half-moon rotor. Clean, simple, and with no frills, the date is immediately in clear view, with the window positioned between 4 and 5 o’clock, alongside the three sunburst counters at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. This layout facilitates quick and intuitive chronograph readings.
The Octo Roma Automatic trio
At 41mm in diameter and 9.15mm tall, the Octo Roma Automatic may look like a doppelgänger for the chronograph counterpart but it appears in a slightly slimmer case. It is powered by Bulgari’s in-house automatic calibre BVL 191 with the same Côtes de Genève decoration and chamfering. In addition, the bidirectional winding rotor uses the same ceramic ball bearings as the BVL 399. The automatic movement runs at 28,000vph (4Hz) and features a 42-hour power reserve.
Octo Roma’s Automatic models come in three dial colour variations, blue, anthracite, and white, each enhanced by the 3D effect of the Clous de Paris technique.
Like the Chronograph model above, the automatic version shares the same identical rotors, Clous de Paris dial motif, and Bulgari Arabic numerals and indexes to make for a properly handsome timepiece.
Octo Roma Tourbillon goes sporty and exquisite
Bulgari’s Octo Roma collection this year also highlights its expertise in the art of Haute Horlogerie. A total of four tourbillons make up this category – the sporty Striking Papillon Tourbillon and Striking Tourbillon Sapphire, and the stunning Precious Naturalia and Precious Tourbillon Lumière.
Go sporty with Octo Roma’s Striking Tourbillons
The Octo Roma Striking Papillon Tourbillon and Striking Tourbillon Sapphire share the same skeletonised internals as its predecessors, only this time sporting a new 44mm titanium case with a black DLC treatment.
Firstly, the Octo Roma Striking Papillon Tourbillon exudes contemporary grandeur with the design of a striking complication in the centre, accentuated by vivid green touches. The timepiece is a true work of art. The “butterfly” minute display runs from 0 to 60 on a semi-circular track while two diamond-shaped hands traverse and take turns to count the minutes. Elsewhere concurrently, the jumping hour simply shows through a fixed window at 12 o’clock. A manual-winding manufacture calibre BVL 332 – which sports a central flying tourbillon and a power reserve of 60 hours – powers this exquisite piece.
On the other hand, the Octo Roma Striking Tourbillon Sapphire is a skeletonised dream and a visual treat for the eyes.
Crafting the silhouette of the in-house manual-winding calibre BVL 206 is challenging itself. Traditional watchmaking cues are adopted here, with two central hands and the flying tourbillon taking centre stage at 6 o’clock. At 3 o’clock, the complex architecture sees a black pusher that, when pushed, reveals a discreet red dot in the axis of the winding stem. This indicates that the watch can now be adjusted by turning the crown in the traditional way. The 10 centric indexes of green Super-LumiNova not only add flair, but also make it easy for wearers to tell the time.
Also present is an activation indicator for time-setting. When off, the crown can wind up the barrel for up to 64 hours of power reserve. In addition, the timepiece’s transparency, courtesy of the sapphire case, allows for a closer look at the intricate movement.
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Luxe leads Octo Roma’s Precious Tourbillons
The Octo Roma Precious Naturalia and Octo Roma Precious Tourbillon Lumière complete the collection with plenty of flair.
While the Octo Roma Precious Naturalia contains the same mechanical structure as the Striking Tourbillon Sapphire, the former comes adorned with precious metals and opulent finishes. Inside the glossy rose gold case and affixed rose gold crown is a skeletonised calibre BVL 206. Instead of the dial’s 10 indexes, the Octo Roma Precious Naturalia flaunts the lume with a tiger’s eye gemstone.
Lastly, the smallest Octo Roma from this collection is undisputedly the Octo Roma Precious Tourbillon Lumière. At 38mm in diameter, this diamond-studded Octo Roma has the quintessential Bulgari woman in mind.
This statement timepiece bedazzles with 267 round brilliant-cut diamonds (~2.48 carats) around the rose gold case and 48 round brilliant-cut diamonds (~1.58 carats). Its rose gold crown also glistens with a cabochon-cut ruby. Under all the glamour is an equally impressive and intricate skeletonised calibre BVL 208 that’s outlined in rose gold, as well as a tourbillon that spins elegantly at 6 o’clock.
Find out more about the Bulgari Octo Roma here.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore