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The new value proposition: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic

by Chester Lau on July 21, 2018

The Bulgari Octo collection was first launched in 2012, a classic re-invented with a new circular octagon design. While sceptics took slowly to the new line, the Octo Finissimo has steadily gained ground and a reputation for building top of the line haute horologe timepieces. In particular, with a innovative focus on the ultra-thin. Today, we will examine the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic, the entry-level extra thin in its collection.

 

Review: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic

The case and dial

 

The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic in rhodium plated stainless steel.

 

The 2018 release for the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic includes 2 new models, one in rhodium plated stainless steel and another in sandblasted pink gold. The watches are identical to the previous automatic model in a titanium case, and measure 40 mm in diameter and 5.15 mm in thickness.

 

The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic in sandblasted pink gold.

 

The Bulgari Automatic has a very precise case, with symmetry in focus, parallel lines and straight edges with a central circular bezel. With superior anti-reflective, the dial which is the same exact color as the case looks almost like an extension of the case itself. A more colloquial expression would describe how the dial ‘pops’ at the wearer.

 

The dial is wide and highly legible and rich with character. The inner octagonal rehaut parallels the external octagon that sits just under the circular bezel.

 

The same color dial and case is a visual design case-study in and of itself. In this instance, it works particularly well with the straight black indices, hands and sub-seconds. While we like the displaced seconds in its play on white space, first time wearers who highly depend on a watch for precise timekeeping might need some getting-used-to estimating the time from 35min to 40min.

 

The 5.15mm thin case, with a ceramic insert crown.

 

While the steel version of the Octo Finissimo Automatic is a bright steel color, the sandblasted pink gold model is counterintuitively subtle, and blends well with some skin colors.

 

The watch’s bracelet is intricate in design, matching the same thinness of the central case. It is a series of pin-connected flat Y shape links. To secure the bracelet, a simple pressure applied butterfly clasp mechanism is used.

The case and bracelet is also used in the Bulgari Octo Finnisimo Skeleton Tourbillon which we reviewed here.

 

To date, it has achieved the accolade for the thinnest tourbillon and thinnest automatic watch at 3.95 mm thick.

 

The movement

 

The BVL 138 Finissimo micro-rotor movement.

 

The thinness of the watch and the well-built case make the watch very attractive at its price point of S$18,350 for steel. But the movement on the watch is truly the cherry topping. The automatic movement measures just 2.23 mm in thickness but stores up 60 hours of power reserve. The thinness dictates the need for several innovations in movement design. For starters, for the entire Finissimo line, Bulgari can claim the thinnest (anti-shock) Kif/Incabloc systems ever developed.

Other innovations include the use of a micro-rotor in platinum, a heavier material to mitigate the use of a smaller sized rotor while maintaining the force required to power and wind the watch. 

 

 

For the predecessors of the Octo Finissimo Ultra-Thin, they had already conceived of a spring barrel without the cover but now the ultra-thin automatic necessitated other revamps of the ultra-thin architecture they were familiar with. For that, they had to look for components of even thinner proportions – working in concert with confidential suppliers, Bulgari realised the thinnest index-assembly ever developed and for veterans of the industry, it was also a first for them to work on such thin components.

The balance wheel, typically 2.54mm on an ETA 2892 movement was cut down to 1.84mm on the Finissimo, a technical feat without sacrificing amplitude.

The production of the movement blanks were extremely delicate since the bridges are extremely thin (0.68mm) including the decoration and finishing like Côtes de Genève.


Concluding thoughts

 

The 40 mm Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic on the wrist.

 

The watch is intriguing in aesthetic design and comes packed with an impressive movement. The in-house movement is not just technically achieved, it also packs with it quality hand-finishing. Versatile in style, the watch can go on the wrist in both casual and formal settings, and is tough enough to function as a beater timepiece. The lightweight ultra-thin design also makes for an excellent daily watch. At the price of S$18,350 for steel and S$61,100 for pink gold, the steel option is an excellent value proposition relative to other watches in the price category.

That said, the pink gold price is less of a value buy, but more a statement purchase, for the novelty of a sandblasted gold case that is truly quite unique to Bulgari.

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