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.

Comparing and contrasting the two Bulgari Octo Finissimo ceramic models: Polished vs. Sandblasted, which is for you?

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ceramic

If variety is the spice of life, Bulgari are condiment connoisseurs when it comes to the Octo Finissimo collection. Available in titanium, ceramic, carbon, sandblasted gold and now stainless steel, the many faceted cases of the range offer a dizzying array of different finishes. These external variations are hardly superficial either, they make a profound difference to the overall look and feel of each watch.  Of the 2020 releases, the show was stolen by the new satin-finished Octo Finissimo in steel, but an equally interesting new reference is the ceramic version, now with a polished case. This makes the ceramic Octo Finissimo the first time-only interpretation of the watch that has been finished in two different ways in the same material, begging the question: which is better? The silky sheen of the space-age polish, or the industrial chic of the sandblasted matte finish? Taking stock of the dimensions, both the matte and polished expressions of the ceramic Octo Finissimo are housed within a 40mm diameter case that sits only 5.5mm off the wrist. Yes, it's extremely thin — in part, thanks to the award-winning thin movement inside, the Bulgari BVL 138 caliber (the thinnest time-only automatic movement in the world)…. Read More

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VIDEO: Exploring the Bulgari Octo Finissimo 100m Stainless Steel, which is in pole position for best steel sports watch of 2020

With the possibility that yet more brands will not release watches this year, following suit with Patek Philippe, the field for the best new watches has narrowed dramatically. And in the steel sports watch category, there now stands one towering contender for the best of 2020. And that is a watch released before this year lurched off a cliff and into this unimaginable territory we find ourselves lost in – a world without watch fairs. A world without roadshows. A world without new watches?  In what now seems like a brilliant act of forethought, LVMH jumped the field with LVMH Watch Week, held in Dubai in January, and came fully and front-loaded with some brilliant releases. In my opinion, the best Big Bang ever, the Big Bang Integral, the most creative and potentially unisex collection ever released by Zenith (that bloody gorgeous Midnight collection, Lord, what a winner), a single knockout release of the Heuer 160th Carrera Limited Edition, and, of course, three sparkling new executions of the Finissimo – two of them interesting, slash, peculiar, and one a category killer. This one. The 100M Stainless Steel.  And if you had any doubts how proud the team are of this… Read More

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What Sealed The Deal: Ben's Bulgari Diagono Scuba

Ben came into the Time+Tide offices to buy a NATO strap for his TAG Heuer Monaco. But the conversation quickly turned to the unusual Bulgari diver's watch on his wrist. Here, Ben explains the backstory behind the purchase and why — despite it contradicting everything he normally likes in a watch — he absolutely loves it. Originally, this was my dad's watch, but I think he only wore it twice in 10 years. Dad tends to like bigger pieces – he's also got a Panerai Luminor and a TAG Heuer Link Calibre 5. With this watch, he'd always just say it was "too formal". So I keep saying, "Let me buy this watch off you! Let me buy it off you!" My dad would always refuse. He'd say, "Ben, I bought this watch for 10 grand. I'm not going to sell it to you." But I persisted. It's strange because I don't really like flashy watches. I probably wouldn't wear an all-gold watch; in fact, I'd even avoid most two-tone watches. My dream watch is just a white dial Vacheron Constantin Overseas — no chronograph, just nice, plain, simple. But, for me, this watch just had the perfect amount of gold. It's not… Read More

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Comparing and contrasting the two Bulgari Octo Finissimo ceramic models: Polished vs. Sandblasted, which is for you?

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ceramic

If variety is the spice of life, Bulgari are condiment connoisseurs when it comes to the Octo Finissimo collection. Available in titanium, ceramic, carbon, sandblasted gold and now stainless steel, the many faceted cases of the range offer a dizzying array of different finishes. These external variations are hardly superficial either, they make a profound difference to the overall look and feel of each watch.  Of the 2020 releases, the show was stolen by the new satin-finished Octo Finissimo in steel, but an equally interesting new reference is the ceramic version, now with a polished case. This makes the ceramic Octo Finissimo the first time-only interpretation of the watch that has been finished in two different ways in the same material, begging the question: which is better? The silky sheen of the space-age polish, or the industrial chic of the sandblasted matte finish? Taking stock of the dimensions, both the matte and polished expressions of the ceramic Octo Finissimo are housed within a 40mm diameter case that sits only 5.5mm off the wrist. Yes, it's extremely thin — in part, thanks to the award-winning thin movement inside, the Bulgari BVL 138 caliber (the thinnest time-only automatic movement in the world)…. Read More

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Coronavirus chaos as Bulgari pulls out of Baselword 2020, and Australian boutique openings cancelled

The Bulgari booth is among the most grand at the Baselworld fair. Opposite TAG Heuer at the entry to Hall 1, it is a glittering sentry to what was only a few years ago the highlight of the yearly calendar for the world watch industry. Peak glamour. Peak PR. Peak hype. As of this morning, it – like so many other brands – will no longer be there in 2020. The move will continue to literally change the face of the fair, which in 2019 had an open space where the enormous, central Omega booth used to be. Organisers will have another major void to fill in a short space of time. In a statement this morning, Bulgari has cited concerns around the spread of Coronavirus as the reason for the late move. The CEO of Bulgari, Jean-Christophe Babin, has not, however, ruled out participation in 2021. "We are obviously disappointed not to participate in 2020, but as told already in past, we remain open for 2021 onwards to continue with Baselworld and we will take our decision by June 2019 once Baselworld 2021 concept, dates and costs will be clarified. We also wish to continue to collaborate as much… Read More

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Why the serpent is so important to Bulgari

serpent bulgari

Editor's note: The serpent is a central part of Bulgari's iconography, and has been for the last eight decades since it first entwined women's wrists in the 1940s. While the design has refined over years, shedding old aesthetics in favour of a newer expression of the same feminine elegance, its power as a symbol of Italian sophistication has never wavered. As a part of the "Watch & Act!" World Watch Auction that is currently offering an 18k yellow gold Serpenti Tubogas kindly donated by Bulgari, we wanted to take a look back at the history of the ophidian-inspired collection, which is an undisputed icon in the history of the Roman luxury house. For most of us today, snakes evoke a mixture of fascination and fear – but since ancient times they have been a mythological symbol for countless cultures and civilisations. Although, in the Christian tradition, a serpent represented the devil in the Garden of Eden, snakes mostly had positive associations. For Native Americans, Mayans and Aztecs, Persians, Chinese, Hindus, Africans and Australian First Nation tribes, they represented, variously, power, wisdom, eternity, fertility, sexual desire, protection, and a direct link to ancestral spirits. Unsurprisingly, then, since humans first adorned their… Read More

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VIDEO: "Our planet is the most precious gem we have." Bulgari CEO adds his voice – and a $50K watch – to our bushfire appeal auction

Bulgari CEO

There was not a moment's hesitation. Jean-Christophe Babin, the CEO of Bulgari, and I were standing on a pool deck at a villa in Dubai. Within sight, an emerald green ocean. Swaying palm trees. Skies of blue. A world away from the scene I had left, when I'd jumped on an Emirates flight 24 hours before. Choking smoke in Melbourne. People wearing gas masks as they boarded the plane. Fires in Victoria you could see from 30,000 feet as we flew towards the Middle East. The air quality in Melbourne on the day I left for LVMH Watch Week was the worst of anywhere in the world, including parts of India that are considered hazardous. "Of course we would like to help. It is done. Speak to Antoine (Antoine Pin, the Managing Director of the Bulgari Watches Division), he will arrange the details." The watch that was ultimately offered was the absolutely stunning Bulgari Serpenti in yellow gold picture above. At just over $50,000AUD it is the most valuable watch in the 'Watch & Act!' auction based on its RRP. With the cameras about to roll on an interview, I asked a second question. Would Mr Babin have a message… Read More

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