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.

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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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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The three things that convinced me to take Bulgari seriously as a watchmaker

It’s not an easy, or necessarily wise, thing to admit, but the first ‘proper’ cologne I ever purchased (with money from my job working at the deli in Coles) was Bulgari. And the first expensive sunglasses I owned? Also Bulgari. It was natural, then, that when I entered the world of haute horology a decade or so ago, my first associations with the brand were not akin to some of the houses who have literally centuries of backstory – and a single product focus – to offer in comparison. I paint this picture, and I tell this personal story, because it shows two things: 1) How far the brand has come since the ’90s. 2) And how utterly transformed my appreciation for Bulgari is some 20-odd years since my first contact. But this newly developed appreciation (read: hot desire in the Finissimo’s case!) is because I’m pretty damn lucky. I get to hold the watches. To meet the people who designed them and feel the passion they have for their work. Attend the ceremonies where they are unveiled and then decorated with awards. So when given the chance to make a video about anything at all on a recent trip… Read More

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INTRODUCING: Bulgari bring back a legend with the Gérald Genta 50th Anniversary Watch

Few names loom larger in the collective consciousness of horological history than Gérald Genta. He’s one of the few individual designers whose name — because of the strength of his work — stands as tall as the great houses for whom he worked. But later in his career, Genta launched his own eponymous brand which demonstrated a penchant for retrograde displays and Disney characters. Eventually, the Genta brand was acquired by Bulgari, who have continued to evolve some of the great designer’s works under their own name, and to great effect. Which was why this watch, presented recently in Geneva, was such a surprise. This special edition platinum piece has been made to honour the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Gérald Genta brand, and it does so in a remarkably faithful way. The DNA of this watch, with the double retrograde movement and stylised, rounded case, is very Genta. Sure, it’s been toned down a little with a simple blue sunburst dial, the characteristic typeface (just check out that GG logo and text at the bottom of the dial — outstanding!) and a case that features Genta’s trademark crown. When I spoke to Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani – Bulgari’s… Read More

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IN-DEPTH: The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton Titanium Blue

The story in a second: So thin you can see through it. If you were to summarise Bulgari’s approach to design and modern-day watchmaking, the Octo would be the result. In less than a decade, the Italian manufacturer has turned a single striking case design into an entire collection, evolving with each new model, and breaking records left, right and centre. One of this year’s newest additions is the Octo Finissimo Skeleton Titanium Blue, and although it’s not exactly a record-breaker, it does not disappoint. The case What more can I say about the case of the Octo Finissimo that we haven’t already said? It’s thin (boy, is it thin!), but slenderness is not the only thing; it’s about the entire package. This Skeleton’s lines are sharp, gliding across its barely there profile like skates on ice. Only that ice is sandblasted titanium, and there’s no mixing of finishes to dazzle and distract; instead it’s all left to the case’s multiple facets and angles to impress – and impress they do. Here, the 40mm Octo case is also slightly thicker than the record-breaking Octo Finissimo Automatic – 5.37mm compared to 5.15mm … to put that in perspective, however, that’s less… Read More

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