Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton
Slim, Sun-kissed Torso
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton reveals its hand-wound mechanical movement for the delectation of horophiles. Angus Davies discusses the ‘svelte charms’ of this horological beauty.
This summer, Europe’s beaches will be littered with the ‘beautiful people’. Nestling among the middle-aged paunches, an array of slim, bronzed torsos will garner attention, courtesy of their impressive physiques.
However, while the allure of an adonis-like body may initially attract attention, there is still a requirement for inner beauty. Indeed, as looks subsequently fade, the long term allure of a gentleman necessitates profound intelligence and a kind heart.
Bulgari has crafted an exquisite skeleton watch that has a slim, sun-kissed torso but contains a plethora of inner virtues and a freely disclosed heart. The Octo Finissimo Skeleton is supremely slender, measuring 5.37mm in height with a modest diameter of 40mm. Yet, despite its slender waistline, this high-end timepiece contains a vast array of components which have been finished to a supremely high standard.
Front of House
The sword-shaped hour and minute hands are open-worked and point to subtle strokes on the chapter ring. There is an absence of hour markers and the hands are free of luminescent fill. Nevertheless, the hands remain readily visible, courtesy of their faceted surfaces which sparkle in ambient light. Moreover, despite the multitude of exposed parts shown, ease of read-off is satisfactory, albeit understandably not as good as the non-skeletonised Octo Finissimo.
A small seconds display resides at 07:30 while a power-reserve indicator is positioned at 9 o’clock. Thankfully, the inventory of functions is limited, allowing sufficient room for the exposed components to be seen. At 3 o’clock, the crown wheel is visible via an aperture on the adjacent bridge. Next to the crown wheel, soupçons of perlage can be observed.
The balance wheel is positioned between 4 and 5 o’clock. The Incabloc can be seen at the fulcrum of the balance and the hairspring can also be glimpsed. I especially like the sight of the pallets industriously engaging with the escapement wheel.
One is reminded that this is a no-compromise timepiece with gorgeous anglage much in evidence. Each bevel provides a gleaming contrast with the satin-brushed bridge surfaces.
The barrel cover is also skeletonised and the mainspring is partially visible. At the fulcrum of the dial, the hour wheel is revealed.
The beauty of this dial is that it charmingly invites the wearer to see at close quarters how the watch works. Few components are hidden from view and all surfaces are executed to an ultra-high standard.
The 40mm steel case is treated with DLC and the bezel is made of 18-carat pink gold. The juxtaposition of the stealthy black hues with resplendent gold provides an agreeable contrast. Bulgari has equipped the case of the Octo Finissimo Skeleton with a plethora of facets. While I suspect this presented a headache for the company’s engineers, the resultant appearance is magnificent.
Measuring only 5.37mm in diameter, the case is very slender and this is attributable to the slender BVL 128SK movement which is ‘barely 2.35mm thick’. The shallow depth of the case is particularly impressive as much material has been removed from the movement, potentially reducing the torsional strength of the calibre. However, Bulgari has much expertise in crafting skeleton watches at its Le Sentier workshops in the heart of Vallée de Joux.
The crown is presented in 18-carat pink gold and a ceramic insert graces its vertical flank. Two rows of knurling grace the exterior surfaces of the crown, augmenting ease of adjustment as well conferring a handsome appearance. The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton has a water resistance of 30 metres and is supplied with an Alligator leather strap and titanium pin buckle coated with DLC.
Rear of House
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton features an exhibition caseback, affording views of the open-worked hand-wound movement. The frequency of the balance is 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 28 jewels. The power reserve of the the Calibre BVL 128SK is impressive, providing 65 hours of autonomy.
One area where this watch seduces onlookers is with the front to back views of the Manufacture Calibre BVL 128SK. The minimal bridge work grants a fabulous horological vista for watch connoisseurs to savour. Usually, numerous components are hidden behind large bridges frustrating curious eyes, but in this instance virtually everything is exposed and made available to view.
The wheels are circular grained, while the mainplate and bridges are black coated bestowing a palpable sense of modernity. Both the jewel and screw sinks are highly polished.
The design prowess of Bulgari is legendary and it is manifest, once more, with this particular timepiece, the Octo Finissimo Skeleton. This watch is particularly impressive as it combines two concepts which should, in theory, preclude one another.
A thin watch has to be expertly engineered, making sufficient provision for the various forces acting upon its case. By removing extraneous movement material to form a skeleton watch, the rigidity of the watch is potentially weakened still further. In creating the Octo Finissimo Skeleton, Bulgari has shown it can successfully explore the limits of the rigidity envelope while creating a stable wristwatch in the process.
Beyond its torsional stiffness, the Octo Finissimo Skeleton is devilishly handsome with its svelte torso playing host to a multitude of components, all finished to a high standard. Furthermore, the open-worked movement allows the purist to see the thought processes at play. The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton may have a slim, sun-kissed torso but it also possesses many inner qualities, a fascinating mind and a freely disclosed heart.
- Model: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton
- Reference: 102469 BGO40BSPGLXT/SK
- Case: Steel with DLC coating and Pink Gold bezel; diameter 40mm; height 5.37mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indicator.
- Movement: Caliber BVL 128SK, hand-wound movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 28 jewels; power reserve 65 hours.
- Strap: Alligator leather strap with titanium pin buckle with DLC coating
- Price: £20,900 (RRP as at 13.3.2017)