2018: The Year of Octo-Obsession Continues With A Skeleton Delight
The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) announced their nominees for what is known as the Academy Awards of the watchmaking world. Of all the GPHG nominations, Bulgari got the most nods. The brand is up for awards in five categories, including jewelry, men’s complication, ladies’, ladies’ complication, and mechanical exception.
And while we won’t know the results until the ceremony on November 9th, we haven’t stopped thinking about all things Octo since Baselworld. First, we fell in love with the chimes of the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, and then we succumbed to the charms of the Octo Finissimo Sandblasted. Now, we’re all about the Octo Finissimo Skeleton Black Edition, an opulent men’s watch that combines the taut, edgy lines of an objet d’art with haute horology.
Thin Is In
First, let’s address the space race. There is definitely a space race going on between watchmakers. And while silhouettes are getting slimmer in all categories, ultra-thin watches are usually seen as the province of dress watches. In the last five years, however, the friendly competition between Piaget and Bulgari to create the world’s thinnest mechanical watch (with or without a complication) has created an opening for sporty but skinny timepieces.
At 40mm, the Octo Finissimo Skeleton Black Edition has plenty of wrist presence. Yet its thickness has been reduced to a bare minimum of 5.37mm. This allows the watch to sit perfectly flush on the wrist so that it doesn’t get caught up under cuffs — you don’t want to hide a beauty like this under your sleeve.
Another innovation is the integrated bracelet. Ultra-thin, ultra-light-weight and flexible the Octo Finissimo Skeleton Black Edition’s folding clasp is literally set inside the bracelet for a snug, comfortable fit.
In 2018, Bulgari celebrated its 100th year of jewelry watchmaking. But with the Octo — a singular watch that has grown into a whole collection — Bulgari has transitioned from being a jeweler who makes watches into a watchmaker that makes fine watches that also work as jewelry.
And it’s with a jeweler’s eye for details that make the Octo Finissimo Skeleton Black Edition stand out. Like the sandblasted models, the matte finish of the black Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) coated titanium case, and bracelet jumps out visually. The black coating also adorns the bridges. The indications bring the only color accents, all highlighted with rose gold-plated hands. The hours and minutes hands are faceted and openworked.
But Octo Finissimo Skeleton Black Edition is more than just a pretty face. The design, in fact, is quite practical. The dedicated central hours and minutes hands appear to be suspended in mid-dial. The small seconds is shown between 7 and 8 o’clock. At 9 o’clock, the power reserve is on the front side. The metal under the case’s ebony coating is lightweight-but hardwearing sandblasted titanium.
With the Octo line, Bulgari likes to prove that it’s up for a technical challenge. In the case of the Skeleton Black Edition, the brand had to balance the signature eight-sided case shape with the delicate openworked movement. So not only was the case slimmed down and the materials made lighter, The mechanics were meticulously cut away to eliminate any superfluous material.
That mechanism is, of course, the Finissimo BVL 128 SK calibre, a manufacture hand-wound skeleton movement measuring just 2.35mm thick. The result is stunning: the openwork structure of the watch is all about transparency, enablinga views through the whole movement, from the front, and through the sapphire caseback window. This mechanism is none other than the Finissimo BVL 128 SK calibre, a Manufacture hand-wound skeleton movement measuring just 2.35mm thick.
We can’t wait to see how Bulgari will continue to innovate with the Octo collection in 2019. But for those of us who live in the present, this graphic and robust creation will do nicely for now.