Italian jewellery house Bulgari became a watchmaker accidentally when, 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.

Original sin – the Bulgari Octo L'Originale in black and gold

Regular readers will register precisely zero surprise when I state that the entirety of Time+Tide are raging fans of Bulgari's distinctive Octo — but, if we're being completely real (and when are we not?), then it's the Octo Finissimo that attracts the lion's share of our ardour. But it's not the only arrow in that particular octagonal quiver. There's the chronograph, the Roma (kind of), and this guy here — the Bulgari Octo L'Originale.  While the Octo L'Originale isn't a new model this year, this latest version has been given a look that is, as the kids say, fresh. The 41mm case, with its 110 facets, is dark and deadly thanks to a black DLC coating, except for the crown and the octagonal bezel that sits beneath the blackened, round bezel. The effect is more subtle than we're used to with black and gold watches, and gives the effect of the occasional flash of gold, rather than a full-on flash. The black is the perfect foil for the rose gold. High-contrast, sporty and luxe, all in one package.  The dial is also a winner: minimal text, grained matt finish and rose gold text and applied numerals — with the trademark… Read More

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Thin end of the wedge – the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic

The first watch I saw at Baselworld 2019 was the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic. I saw it at a preview dinner before the fair proper, and honestly, it kind of ruined me for other watches at the fair.  The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic is just so impressive. Not only is it the world's thinnest automatic chronograph (ever, no fancy caveats needed), measuring 6.9mm for the full watch, and 3.3mm for the BVL 318 movement alone. But (and more importantly for me) it looks and feels good on the wrist and is exceptionally user-friendly.  For me there are two big points in favour of this watch. One, the form is flawless, unmarred by obvious, ugly pushers. One of the genius moves of the Octo's angular design is that it allows for the near seamless integration of geometric pushers that extends the existing look, rather than adding some clunky lumps to one side. The other real user-friendly feature is the addition of a GMT feature. Bulgari deserve massive props for this, simply because they didn't need to do it. But they did (because they can), and it's great. The second time is displayed in the little subdial at… Read More

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The stealthy, sexy, surprising Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ceramic 

Bulgari's Octo Finissimo family has been shattering records left, right and centre since its introduction in 2014. But the watch that really captured the hearts and minds of fans and critics alike was the Octo Finissimo Automatic — initially offered in sandblasted titanium, and shortly after in distinctive steel and gold versions. Well, this year it's back, but in a brand new form. Meet the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ceramic.  And when we say Ceramic, we mean ALL ceramic. The case, the bracelet, even the buckle. All of it is gorgeous, matt black ceramic.  In some ways it's an unexpected twist on the Octo Finissimo, but it's also the most logical extension of the line — a line that's rapidly taking pride of place in Bulgari's watch line-up.  Ceramic makes perfect sense on this watch. It's lightweight, ultra-hard, thermoconductive and surprisingly unassuming on the wrist. Which makes the Octo Finissimo Ceramic a dream to wear. It's also a watch that's a stylistic heavy-hitter, with its bold angles somehow made even sharper in monochrome black. All in all it's like Bulgari made one of the coolest and most impressive watches of recent years even cooler.  Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ceramic price Bulgari Octo Finissimo… Read More

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Original sin – the Bulgari Octo L'Originale in black and gold

Regular readers will register precisely zero surprise when I state that the entirety of Time+Tide are raging fans of Bulgari's distinctive Octo — but, if we're being completely real (and when are we not?), then it's the Octo Finissimo that attracts the lion's share of our ardour. But it's not the only arrow in that particular octagonal quiver. There's the chronograph, the Roma (kind of), and this guy here — the Bulgari Octo L'Originale.  While the Octo L'Originale isn't a new model this year, this latest version has been given a look that is, as the kids say, fresh. The 41mm case, with its 110 facets, is dark and deadly thanks to a black DLC coating, except for the crown and the octagonal bezel that sits beneath the blackened, round bezel. The effect is more subtle than we're used to with black and gold watches, and gives the effect of the occasional flash of gold, rather than a full-on flash. The black is the perfect foil for the rose gold. High-contrast, sporty and luxe, all in one package.  The dial is also a winner: minimal text, grained matt finish and rose gold text and applied numerals — with the trademark… Read More

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HANDS-ON: Blacked-out – the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic ceramic

In 2014, with the launch of its first Octo Finissimo (hand-wound) models, Bulgari rewrote the rules of skinny. Until then, an ultra-thin watch was defined by discreet styling, a round case, precious metal – in short, the ultimate dress watch. Then along came Octo Finissimo, with its shape-shifting trick of looking both supermodel-skinny and swaggeringly muscular. Shamelessly modern! A sports-deluxe ultra-thin watch! Made of titanium! Jump to the 2017 version – the world's thinnest automatic watch (until Piaget snatched the record back a year later). This time the entire thing was done in sandblasted titanium – case, dial, bracelet and clasp – the chromatic unity bringing even greater strength to the design. Then, last year, rhodium-plated and sandblasted steel, and sandblasted pink gold – the former with an almost icy-white tone, the latter smashing any prejudice we may have felt towards all-gold watches. Flashy? No sir. And this year, ceramic. Sandblasted. Deep, matt black. The Stealth Bomber Octo Finissimo. Black shrinks any object visually and the deep matt black of the Octo Finissimo's sandblasted surface shrinks it even more. Except that it doesn't. That shape-shifting trick again. The strong angles of its stepped bezel and lugs radiate confidence and swagger…. Read More

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LIST: 3 of the best Bulgari watches from Basel 2019 

Over at Bulgari, the reign of the Octo Finissimo continues to flourish. At Baselworld 2019 the ultra-thin heavyweight collection gained two strong new members. And over on the women's side, there's a new golden serpent to adore.  The hero of Bulgari's set piece is the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT, a very smart addition (in both the style and engineering sense). It's a completely new movement, and full of nice engineering details. It also boasts a lot of user-focused details, like that GMT. It's a really useful combination of complications wrapped up in a wafer-thin package. The yin to the Chronograph's yang is another, darker take on the Octo Finissimo — in fact, an entirely black take. This new ceramic version once again transforms the feel of the watch. Bonus points for opting for a sleek matt finish, and even a fully ceramic folding clasp. Finally, the Serpenti Seduttori, a woman's watch that's intended to be a more everyday alternative to the Serpenti Tubogas. The bracelet on this piece is lovely, and more than lives up to the Serpenti name.  Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Ceramic Bulgari Serpenti Seduttori

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HANDS-ON: Thin just got complicated with the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph 

It's no secret that the Octo Finissimo has been a watch that's kick-started the heart of Bulgari's recent string of critical hits. And now the collection has — in addition to the core time-only model, minute repeaters and tourbillons — a chronograph.  And not just any chronograph, the world's thinnest. This watch took Bulgari almost three years to develop (which, in watch terms, is rather quick), and the movement is a slim 3.3mm, shredding a fair bit of width off the previous thinnest – a 4.65mm manually wound movement from Piaget.  This movement isn't just thin — it's got a peripheral winding rotor and a nicely finished movement. It's also got a second time zone display at three, which is set in sync with the main hands. Altering local time is a cinch, as hitting the pusher at nine advances the hour hand in one-hour increments.  Design-wise, not too much has changed. We're still looking at that classic sandblasted titanium case — only now with a bit more going on with the dial. I really love just how integrated the faceted pushers are to the case. From a distance you'd struggle to know more. It wears just as well as you'd expect on… Read More

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