Bulgari Octo Roma

Angus Davies gets hands-on with the Bulgari Octo Roma

This detailed review of Bulgari Octo Roma includes live images, specification and pricing.

Recently, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic won the Men’s Prize at the GPHG 2017 (Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève). This self-winding watch measures a mere 5.15mm in height, despite proffering the convenience of an automatic movement. Moreover, the movement incorporates exquisite high-end finishing and features a platinum micro-rotor. Having worn this titanium timepiece, I can attest that it is fabulous and most deserving of the aforementioned prize.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic - Mens Watch Prize Winner GPHG 2017

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic

However, while the Octo Finissimo Automatic has gained much attention, there is another horological gem from this maison which is equally deserving of an admiring glance. The Octo Roma was also unveiled at Baselworld 2017 and builds on the allure of the brand’s amazing Octo model.

While the ‘regular’ Octo features 110 surfaces on its case, the Octo Roma eschews many of these edges, although it still possesses an impressive 58 facets. By reducing the number of facets, the case evinces a different character. Indeed, the watch is imbued with a softer, gentler disposition. Straight edges meet curving lines to glorious effect. The dial circumscribes an octagonal form employing circular shapes and, in so doing, confers a notably pulchritudinous appearance.

While I am mindful that the Bulgari Octo Finissimo is clearly this year’s bride, the Octo Roma shouldn’t remain a bridesmaid forever. I am eager to show the latter watch is equally deserving of any hand in marriage.

The dial

The ‘sunburst’ polished brown dial has a dark, rich character which appears almost mysterious. This is a dial which draws the wearer’s gaze and implores the observer to closely examine its form at close quarters. In some light, the lustrous dark brown dial epidermis almost appears black, heightening the sense of intrigue. Few dials share this eye-catching hue which immediately distinguishes this watch as special.

Bulgari Octo Roma - automatic watch with 58-facet case

The golden hour and minute hands are open-worked, revealing more of the sumptuous, brown dial surface. The hours are indicated with golden, applied batons, save for 6 and 12 o’clock where elongated Arabic numerals crisply indicate the hour.

At 3 o’clock, a rectangular-shaped aperture reveals the date. A slender sweep seconds hand completes the inventory of functions. The minimal number of indications subscribes to the ‘less is more’ design philosophy and, in my opinion, the sparing use of hands, numerals and functions makes for a very clean and uncluttered dialscape.

The case

The Octo Roma measures 41mm in diameter, proving larger than its thinner sibling, the Octo Finissimo Automatic. However, in reality the svelte prize winner looks larger owing to its shape and shallow height. Indeed, it could be argued that the Octo Finissimo Automatic appears to spread itself more liberally across the arm despite the measurements proving to the contrary.

Bulgari Octo Roma - automatic watch with 58-facet case

At first glance the Bulgari Octo Roma appears round, but with close examination the shape is a mixture of straight edges and curves. The resultant mien proves interesting and lacks the overt masculinity of the ‘regular’ Octo. This watch has a gentle face making it appear slightly feminine in character.

The greater height of the Octo Roma does not mar wearer comfort. Indeed, the wrist-feel of this golden timepiece is sublime.

Bulgari offer the Octo Roma in a choice of cases, including steel, bi-metallic and 18-carat pink gold. The latter is my favoured option, proving warm and suiting the profile of the case.

An exhibition case-back graces the rear of the watch providing sight of the automatic movement powering this paragon of elegance.

The movement

Bulgari is an impressive, vertically integrated company crafting its own dials, cases and movements.

Bulgari Octo Roma - automatic watch with 58-facet case

The automatic in-house Caliber BVL 191 Solotempo features bi-directional winding which collaborates with one spring barrel to deliver a power reserve of 42 hours. The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 26 jewels.

The oscillating mass and bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève motif, while other areas of the movement feature ‘chamfering and snailed finishing’. This is a beautifully appointed calibre.

Closing remarks

Ultimately, all roads lead us back to the shape of this watch. It sidesteps circular forms or rectangular shapes, embracing a unique design language. The fusion of octagonal forms, straight edges and round angles makes for a becoming aesthetic.

There is also a mysterious element to the Bulgari Octo Roma, namely the enthralling dial colour. The ‘sunburst’ polished brown dial has a rich, brooding appearance. It captures attention with its intense hue and exudes a mysterious air that proves most intriguing.

There is another notable strength with this watch, namely, the sparsity of detail on the dial. The Octo Roma lacks numerous functions and restricts its repertoire to the essential. In so doing, the dial appears uncluttered, clean and simple to decipher.

The Octo Finissimo Automatic is undoubtedly a delightful watch, deserving of the attention bestowed by the world’s press. However, in my humble opinion, the Bulgari Octo Roma is equally as impressive, with its soft edges and comely appearance. Don’t resign this latter watch to a life of spinsterhood, take its hand in marriage.

Further information

Technical specification

  • Model: Bulgari Octo Roma
  • Case: 18-carat pink gold; diameter 41mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back; water resistant to 5 ATM (50 metres)
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date
  • Movement: Caliber BVL 191 Solotempo; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 26 jewels; power reserve = 42 hours
  • Strap: Brown alligator leather strap
  • Price: £16,100 (RRP as at 2.12.2017)

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