Bulgari Octo Finissimo

Angus Davies provides an in-depth review of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo. A recent tour of the watch brand’s manufacturing facilities revealed an impressive array of in-house capability and reaffirmed why the Octo Finissimo is a personal highlight of 2014 for this self-confessed watch addict.

This detailed review of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo contains live images and specification details.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo - in-depth review by ESCAPEMENT

It is that time of year again, when my thoughts turn to summer holidays. As I lazily tap on my computer keyboard, melting in the summer heat, I cast my mind back to a holiday in Italy’s picturesque capital. My Roman holiday has left an indelible mark on my romantic soul.

I vividly recall the scene. Animated figures conversing with excited hands and exaggerated gestures. Scooters zig-zagging through Rome’s narrow streets with fearless abandon, producing a noisy soundtrack to accompany daily life. And yet, there’s a juxtaposition of beautiful people serenely floating by with a notable air of refinement. Clothes gracing chiselled torsos in crease-free splendour. The sight of sartorially styled gentlemen attired in fine fitting suits provides a perfect illustration of “La Bella Figura”.

The Italian’s have always known about style. Contrasting with the hustle and bustle of a vibrant market scene, elegant statuesque ladies float in splendid fashionable attire made of the finest fabrics. The superfine, superlight wool fibres are the epitome of luxury. A suit made of Super 200 from a prestigious Italian tailor is the very embodiment of refinement and good taste. The pleasure imparted with the superfine weave is something that has to be touched to be truly discerned. A smoothness and creamy like character denotes the best of the best. But, with lightness comes an intrinsic fragility which demands careful treatment and only occasional wear.

However, Bulgari, with its latest superfine creation, the Octo Finissimo, has shown that frequent wear of a stylish creation is viable. While this latest model from the Swiss-Italian watch brand can be worn every day, it is anything but an everyday watch. This timepiece is special.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo - in-depth review by ESCAPEMENT

The Bulgari Octo Finissimo, launched at Baselworld 2014, harnesses Italian styling prowess and fuses it with Swiss haute horlogerie know-how. The Manufacture movement, the Finissimo calibre, is ultra-thin, measuring only 5.00mm in thickness. Indeed, this watch has the slender torso of a couture clad beauty gracing Piazza di Spagna. There is something very alluring about a slender waist.

However, merely to focus on the dimensions of the Octo Finissimo would be a gross injustice to the creative talents of Bulgari as this watch offers many virtues.

The dial

The polished black lacquered dial proffers a deep beguiling lustre. It tempts eyes closer with its glossy appearance. There is a palpable sense of luxury as you look at its blooming face.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo - in-depth review by ESCAPEMENT

The hours are conveyed with sword-shaped hands, partly open-worked along their faceted form. The rhodium finish wonderfully ensnares light and evinces a sumptuous mien. Everything feels lavish, yet within the confines of good taste. Indeed, nothing feels outré or unduly opulent. Bulgari has judged the aesthetics of this dial composition to perfection.

Applied hour markers consist of slender, extended batons and elongated Arabic numerals at 6 o’clock and noon.

Adjacent 8 o’clock, a small seconds display tastefully blends into the dial canvas, yet remains readily legible.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo - in-depth review by ESCAPEMENT

The dial area is framed with an octagonal shaped flange which contrasts with the neighbouring round bezel. This is a strategy Bulgari repeatedly employs with this model to spell-binding effect. Quite simply, this watch is the epitome of sophistication.

The case 

Bulgari has pressed my “horological buttons” with the Octo Finissimo. It is presented in the noblest of metals, platinum. The selection of platinum is wonderful but rather surprising. If you enquire of any watchmaker which material is the most difficult to manipulate, they will immediately reply, “platinum”.

However, Bulgari has chosen to use platinum for this incredibly complex case with numerous angles presented. I must confess, I don’t know how many angles feature on the Bulgari Octo Finissimo, but I remember reviewing the gorgeous Octo Chronograph and being amazed it had 110 surfaces. The challenges that the Finissimo case must have presented in bringing it to fruition cannot be underestimated.

The case diameter is 40mm, but actually feels larger. I suspect this is because the watch sits flat against the wrist, readily residing beneath the cuff and feeling eminently comfortable to wear.

Wherever the eyes choose to dwell, there is delight. The crown is platinum with a delightful motif adorning its surface, encouraging incredulous hands to manipulate its form. At the heart of the crown, a ceramic inlay resides proffering abundant eye-appeal.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo - in-depth review by ESCAPEMENT

The exhibition caseback reveals the wonderment of the movement, the Finissimo calibre.

The movement

The self-winding, ultra-thin movement demonstrates the watchmaking prowess of Bulgari.

I recently spent a couple of days visiting the company’s various manufacturing facilities and to be honest I was amazed. Nothing quite prepared me for Bulgari’s immense in-house ability and the breathtaking array of skills at its disposal. The company makes its own dials, cases, movements and bracelets. The degree of vertical integration is staggering. Be under no misapprehension, Bulgari is a serious contender in the watchmaking business.

Bulgari – an impressive Manufacture

Bulgari Octo Finissimo - in-depth review by ESCAPEMENT

The birth of a movement, creating a main plate

Bulgari Octo Finissimo - in-depth review by ESCAPEMENT

Making wheels

Bulgari Octo Finissimo - in-depth review by ESCAPEMENT

Applying Côtes de Genève motif

Bulgari Octo Finissimo - in-depth review by ESCAPEMENT

Adjusting the hands at final assembly stage

Bulgari Octo Finissimo - in-depth review by ESCAPEMENT

Guido Terreni, Managing Director of Bulgari Watches

The company’s competence is evident as soon as you admire the svelte calibre within the Finissimo. The bridges are beautifully decorated with Côtes de Genève motif. Each stripe is magnificently defined and perfectly aligns with those on neighbouring bridges.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo - in-depth review by ESCAPEMENT

Interestingly, the movement has a power-reserve indicator depicted, showing the state of wind. I applaud Bulgari for adding this functionality without corrupting the simplicity of the dial.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo - in-depth review by ESCAPEMENT

Another aspect I particularly like about this movement is the location of the escapement at the bottom of the movement with its gorgeous balance bridge spanning the balance wheel. It is fabulous.

There is much to admire with this movement. Perlage adorns the mainplate and can be seen adjacent the balance wheel. The spacing between the bridges reveals some of the gear train. These may sound like small details, but this is the minutiae which confers lasting enjoyment.

Closing remarks

Bulgari has a rich catalogue of models, many of which I have previously reviewed. I would suggest that the brand’s chiming watches are some of the best I have ever heard but, it is this model which is my favourite Bulgari timepiece to date.

In creating the Octo Finissimo, Bulgari has produced a very wearable watch, imbued with great craftsmanship and a copious quotient of style. The lithe profile of the watch grants a comfortable fit and the dial is an exemplar of clarity and sophistication.

In creating this thin movement, Bulgari has not eschewed traditional craftsmanship. Indeed, the Finissimo calibre showcases the maison’s adept skill at crafting movements, with matchless finissage readily disclosed via the exhibition caseback.

Bulgari is vertically integrated and, having toured its various manufacturing facilities, I now understand how the company is able to bring this model into being. The profound talents of the brand’s workforce are very impressive.

The beauty of Bulgari is that it blends Swiss watchmaking know-how with Italian style. The Bulgari Octo Finissimo is the very embodiment of this paradigm and I adore it. This watch is a personal horological highlight of 2014.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Bulgari Octo Finissimo
  • Case: Platinum; diameter 40.0 mm; height 5.00 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indicator on reverse.
  • Movement: Finissimo calibre, hand-wound movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 26 jewels; power reserve 70 hours.
  • Bracelet:Black alligator leather strap with platinum pin buckle

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