Very good looking watch, great colour scheme, size and appeal. The lacquered dial is nicely polished and at certain angles, looks enamel. Great choice of movement, the El Primero has both trusty performance and sound heritage.
Some may still be deterred by the fashionable outlook of the brand. Critics also argue that the El Primero movement can be found on Zenith timepieces at lower price points and thus lose its uniqueness.
Bulgari reinterprets its Octo design with the new Octo Velocissimo, released during Baselworld earlier this year. While maintaining the DNA octagonal shape, the new Bulgari Octo Velocissimo employs fusion type design elements with interesting case material combinations, gold and DLC steel.
The Case and Dial
The 41mm Bulgari timepiece is cased in black Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) with a transparent sapphire caseback. Its bezel is made with 18 K pink gold and the pink gold crown is fitted with a black ceramic insert. The dial is black lacquer polished with hand applied pink gold plated hour markers.
Our first impression of the piece when we got a hands-on was utter fascination with the dial. Under appropriate lighting conditions, the polished lacquer dial shines beautifully with an almost enamel-like quality. The quality finish of the dial is also matched by the well designed case. The colour balance from the contrasting metals are subtle yet attractive. While it does not scream luxury, it still sends the signal that its wearer has taste and appreciates discreteness.
We also love how the pushers are designed to integrate into the case design and doubles as a crown guard. The symmetry of the case, its angles and lines, easily helps one conclude that great thought and effort was put into making the case. Our point is further reinforced by the attention to details we see as well on the case back design. The octagon faceted case back is aptly guarded by 8 pentagonal screws. We like how the idea of reduction works here and how the designer creates the visual focus on the movement display, almost like a theatre in the round staging.
The Octo Velocissimo uses the Caliber BVL 328, a high frequency movement similar to the El Primero by Zenith. The integrated chronograph movement is controlled by a column wheel and beats at 36, 600 vph. Simple machine finishing is used to decorate the movement, with circular-graining, Côtes de Genève and chamfering.
Undoubtedly, the famous El Primero is a tested and proven movement, with high technical specs and is known to be ultra reliable. Bulgari’s choice to use the El Primero is one to be applauded. Interestingly, the choice to put a date window at 4:30 on the dial can be interpreted as a subtle reference to vintage Zenith chronograph pieces like the A-386. Nonetheless, such brand collaborations are not surprising, considering that both Zenith and Bulgari are sister brands under the LVMH umbrella.
We find that the Bulgari Octo Velocissimo is a really handsome timepiece. From the case design to the dial to the movement, we have almost no qualms of it at all. In fact you can almost say that we are impressed by Bulgari’s offering this year. Apart from the design, the watch also makes sound practical sense. The case size and design makes the watch a highly versatile timepiece. The 41 mm watch is stealthy and sporty with its black DLC and rubber strap, but at the same time, the polished lacquer dial and gold bezel gives the watch a luxurious dress appeal. While the watch does not come in an alligator strap variant, we are optimistic that with a simple strap change, the watch can immediately swap out from a gym watch to a dinner timepiece.