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Italian jewellery house Bulgari became a watchmaker accidentally. In 1975 they made 100 unique watches as gifts for important customers. The popularity of this limited release meant that the iconic Bulgari Bulgari followed soon after. Today their watches include the popular Octo and the Lucea lines. Explore Bulgari’s timepieces at Time+Tide.

VIDEO: 3 of the best new watches from Bulgari, including that one you’re secretly into…

We knew it, as soon as we tried it on. You guys knew it too, judging by the comments, which have usually gone something like, “I’d never been that interested in Bulgari before, but….” And naturally Bulgari knew it, which is why their booth at Baselworld dedicated its grandest display space to tell the story: the Octo Finissimo Automatic in titanium is the most refined mens piece ever for the brand in the ‘accessible’ category. By ‘accessible’ – around $18k – we’re not talking entry level, but it certainly is a newly affordable price point for a barely there piece that holds the record for the thinnest automatic watch on the market. In addition there’s a fully murdered out Octo, with all black errrrrrrthang. And the softly cased new Octo Roma, which heartens with its warm tones and gentler curves.

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HANDS-ON: Barely there brilliance – the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic

Some of the most important, exciting watches are those made by watchmakers who push the barriers of what’s possible. The deepest, the most complicated, or in the case of this Bulgari, the thinnest. Bulgari has a proven record when it comes to high-end, ultra thin horology. They hold the record for the thinnest tourbillon and the thinnest minute repeater. Now they can add the thinnest automatic movement to the list. The movement in the new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic is a mere 2.23mm thick, 0.7mm thinner than Piaget’s legendary 12P. On top of that the whole watch comes in at a mere 5.15mm thick. This extremely slight movement, paired with the lightweight titanium case means that the Octo really is a feather on the wrist. The real trick to making a thin movement is to make one that is robust enough to stand up to regular daily wear, and on that front the Octo certainly delivers. Beating at 3hz, and with a platinum micro-rotor that’s able to generate an impressive 60 hours of power reserve, the Finissimo is no delicate dress-only piece. On top of that the Caliber BVL 138 has been designed to very tight tolerances, with many elements… Read More

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VIDEO: The Bulgari boss brought $750k of watches into our office and for a day we had two bodyguards

‘Like a boss’ is a phrase we’re attempting to permanently retire at Time+Tide. It’s done. But there’s no other way to describe the way the CEO of Bulgari visited our offices. He did it breezily – the leadup was one or two emails, a request to book a place for lunch – but completely like the boss of an Italian luxury powerhouse that he is. In addition to his own presence, augmented always by perfect, perfect suiting, he brought some wonderfully complicated and impressive watches to showcase Bulgari’s latest gains in high horology. And, with the mechanical treasures came muscle, in the form of two 6-foot-something units. Oh, what a day. Starring the Daniel Roth L’Ammiraglio Del Tempo Minute Repeater, the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon and the Daniel Roth Carillon Tourbillon.

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VIDEO: 3 of the best new watches from Bulgari, including that one you’re secretly into…

We knew it, as soon as we tried it on. You guys knew it too, judging by the comments, which have usually gone something like, “I’d never been that interested in Bulgari before, but….” And naturally Bulgari knew it, which is why their booth at Baselworld dedicated its grandest display space to tell the story: the Octo Finissimo Automatic in titanium is the most refined mens piece ever for the brand in the ‘accessible’ category. By ‘accessible’ – around $18k – we’re not talking entry level, but it certainly is a newly affordable price point for a barely there piece that holds the record for the thinnest automatic watch on the market. In addition there’s a fully murdered out Octo, with all black errrrrrrthang. And the softly cased new Octo Roma, which heartens with its warm tones and gentler curves.

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HANDS-ON: Bulgari adds a touch of danger to the Octo Ultranero

Bulgari has unveiled some of its latest collection in advance of Baselworld, and we were lucky enough to get our hands on a few key pieces. One model that particularly took our fancy was this crimson and black take on the Octo Ultranero. The changes on this latest version of the Octo are purely cosmetic – it’s still a 41mm black DLC-treated steel case rated to 100m, powered by Bulgari’s in-house BVL 193, mounted on sporty black rubber strap – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a different story to tell. The dial is black lacquer, polished to a gloss black finish. On top of this, Bulgari has added blood-red indices and hands to the mix. The result is impressively moody, adding a touch of drama to the typically stealthy Octonero. Red is a pretty bold colour choice, typically associated with passion and danger – especially against the slick black backdrop of the Ultranero, but this watch also amps up the sports factor. The rubber strap and primary colour highlight means it doesn’t look out of place in more causal settings – as you can see it wears well with denim – though while I appreciate the contrast of the case and the matt… Read More

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EDITOR’S PICK: Stripped back sexiness – the Bulgari Octo Ultranero Skeleton

Editor’s Note: It’s the time of year when we start thinking about gifts we might find under the Christmas tree in three (three?!) Sundays’ time, and while there’s definitely more than one watch on our wishlist, this slender, technical take on the Octo is right up there. Can you blame us, given how shapely, sheer and utterly luxurious it is? Anyway, we’re just crossing our fingers everyone’s noticed how nice we’ve been this year. Our love of the Octo is well documented – and real. You wouldn’t expect such an unconventional, octagonal case shape to be so stylistically flexible, but it is. And this year Bulgari showed off the Octo’s darker side with the Ultranero collection. Most blacked-out watches tend towards the tactical end of the spectrum, so the Octo Ultranero Finissimo Skeleton is a genius move, and a refreshing change of pace. Its broad pink gold bezel, architecturally skeletonised BVL 128SK movement and black DLC-treatments create a delicate balance of form and space, and show the Octo in an entirely new light.

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VIDEO: Bulgari CEO chooses watches for our PM, Rebel Wilson, Joel Edgerton in an unmissable Celebrity Watch Match

It started in Tokyo. We were over there with Bulgari to celebrate the launch of their first ever watch, the Bulgari Roma, released just over 40 years ago. We landed, in a spare moment, at the bar. Our cameraman Marcus, or perhaps me, I honestly can’t remember, suggested we have a restorative whisky. It had been a long day. Before we knew it, Bulgari’s chief watch designer, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani had joined us, and we were once again talking watches. We started comparing Bulgari watches to whisky, and thus, one of our favourite ever videos was created. It seemed only logical that when Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin arrived at our office, we find a way to continue the tradition, but being rather early in the day, we held the harder stuff and instead played more of an in-boutique retail training type game: What watches would Jean-Christophe choose for different – and to him, wholly unknown – people that we presented to him an on iPad? His answers were, without giving too much away, brilliant. So considered. So spot-on. You’ll have to see the thought processes in action, because it’s very impressive. Enjoy our first, and certainly not our last, Celebrity Watch Match.

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