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: 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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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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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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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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HANDS-ON: A butterfly flaps its wings … Bulgari Daniel Roth Papillon Heure Sautante

To talk about this watch, we need to talk about Daniel Roth. Daniel Roth is an immensely talented watchmaker, making his name at Audemars Piguet and honing his skills at Breguet until he left in 1987. After that exceptional grounding, Daniel Roth decided to found his own, eponymous brand, which launched in 1989. With a focus on high-end, complicated offerings, heavy on tourbillons, repeaters and chimes and, of course, that unique squared-off oval shape. And while the Daniel Roth brand — like so many small watchmakers — didn’t make it in the long run, the name lives on. The brand — along with those distinctive cases — was acquired by Bulgari in 2000. Which brings us to this particular Bulgari Daniel Roth. With a large 45mm rose gold case, in the aforementioned elliptical shape, this watch has undeniable presence on the wrist. It’s chunky and masculine, but also unusual and possessing distinctive charms. Charms that extend beyond the refined lines of the case. While most watches make do with conventional hands, this Papillon is not most watches. It’s a jump hour with wandering minutes display — the tip of either of those central lozenge-shaped indicators points to the current minute. It’s… Read More

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INSIGHT: Is the Octo Finissimo really a ‘game changer’? Bulgari MD Guido Terreni gives us three reasons

If you take the term ‘game changer’ at its most literal, it is a development, a breakthrough that changes the game. No matter how you interpret the term, it’s a big call. And the watch world in particular is a big game to have any meaningful impact on, given the vastness of its history and the giants in its immediate and distant past. At a recent event in Shanghai, Bulgari unveiled their most complicated watch ever, the Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar, which combines grand strike and perpetual complications – no mean feat, and an achievement appreciated by an Asian collector who bought it within a month of its first release in Rome in July at a price that we cannot disclose (but was more than $1 million AUD). But this new pinnacle for Bulgari is not the subject of today’s interview. It is a forthright challenge to the Bulgari Managing Director Guido Terreni about the ongoing — some might argue increasing — association of the term ‘game changer’ with the Octo Finissimo collection. I asked him for three reasons it’s justified. 1. Because it makes ultra-thin watches contemporary “To me, Finissimo is a game changer because it takes the tradition of ultra-thin… Read More

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