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: Gorgeous and grey – the Bulgari Octo Roma

If you’re reading this and thinking ‘grey’ and ‘Bulgari’, I’m welling to bet your mind wanders to this slender beauty. And while that’s entirely understandable, earlier this year we had a look at another, equally alluring take on the Octo — the Octo Roma with an anthracite sunburst dial. The Octo Roma is a fairly recent evolution of the Octo, a dressier, somewhat toned down version, where the octagonal shape that gives the model its name has been softened around the edges — notably with the circular brushed steel bezel — which means the 41mm Octo Roma does a good impression of a classical round watch while maintaining some of the appeal of a more boldly shaped watch. Really, though, the draw of this Octo Roma isn’t the shape. Sure, it’s a part of it, but for me it’s all about the grey-on-grey-on-grey colour scheme and the soft, almost velvety textures at play. The dial is richly textured, and the gunmetal colour provides plenty of visibility for the mirror-like hour markers and hands. The case, with its mix of brushed and polished finishes, sits harmoniously between the two. The black alligator strap and the handsomely finished in-house Solotempo BVL 191… Read More

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HANDS-ON: The record-shattering Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic

The tit-for-tat battle between Piaget and Bulgari for title of “Master of the Ultrathin” rages on, and it would seem Bulgari has struck another blow at Baselworld in 2018 with the new Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic. The new piece dethrones Piaget’s latest self-winder, the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P that launched ahead of SIHH 2018 as the new thinnest automatic watch, and at the same time swipes the title from Audemars Piguet of world’s thinnest tourbillon, which the brand has been holding onto since 1986. Bulgari was able to swipe the title for thinnest tourbillon movement in 2015; however, it took them an additional few years to build a piece suitable to take on the mighty slender AP. Achieving both of these records in a single piece is impressive to say the least, so we had to take a closer look. Vital statistics   A 3.95mm thick case, housing a 1.95mm thick caliber, the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic is a real work of art (not to mention engineering). Its wafer-thin mainspring still delivers an above industry-standard 52 hours of power reserve and, all told, the brand still managed to make its movement design visually appealing, which isn’t an easy task when… Read More

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HANDS-ON: The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Sandblasted – same Octo, completely new look

Bulgari blew us away last year with their Octo Finissimo Automatic – that mind-boggling thinness; the incredible lightness of being at one with its titanium case and bracelet, feeling it drape around the wrist. For Baselworld 2018, it’s back – this time in full gold. And if you think “solid gold bracelet watch” means 1980s-style bling, think again. Vital statistics In all respects, except the case and bracelet material, the new model is the same watch as before – equipped with that super-skinny (briefly record-breaking) manufacture self-winding calibre BVL 138. At only 2.23mm thick with a single barrel, it packs in a power reserve of 60 hours. The 5.15mm thick, pink gold case has a matching crown with a ceramic inlay and it’s water-resistant to 30m. The dial has a gold finish that exactly matches the case material, with printed black numerals and faceted black hands. On the wrist Having briefly worn the first, titanium version last year and marvelled at its almost unworldly lightness on the wrist, the relatively hefty weight of the gold feels almost strange for such a super-slim watch. But after that momentary surprise, it feels very good indeed. The bracelet has the same fluid-as-a-ribbon feel… Read More

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HANDS-ON: Gorgeous and grey – the Bulgari Octo Roma

If you’re reading this and thinking ‘grey’ and ‘Bulgari’, I’m welling to bet your mind wanders to this slender beauty. And while that’s entirely understandable, earlier this year we had a look at another, equally alluring take on the Octo — the Octo Roma with an anthracite sunburst dial. The Octo Roma is a fairly recent evolution of the Octo, a dressier, somewhat toned down version, where the octagonal shape that gives the model its name has been softened around the edges — notably with the circular brushed steel bezel — which means the 41mm Octo Roma does a good impression of a classical round watch while maintaining some of the appeal of a more boldly shaped watch. Really, though, the draw of this Octo Roma isn’t the shape. Sure, it’s a part of it, but for me it’s all about the grey-on-grey-on-grey colour scheme and the soft, almost velvety textures at play. The dial is richly textured, and the gunmetal colour provides plenty of visibility for the mirror-like hour markers and hands. The case, with its mix of brushed and polished finishes, sits harmoniously between the two. The black alligator strap and the handsomely finished in-house Solotempo BVL 191… Read More

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VIDEO: 5 winning Bulgaris from Baselworld 2018

While I know Bulgari released a full suite of new models at Baselworld 2018 — including a nice new Lucea and variants on the Octo Roma — really, it was all about their geometric critical hit, the Octo. And while we didn’t exactly see the Octo come in new shapes and sizes (it’s still very square), we did see it come in a genuinely interesting new mix of case finishes and complications. Take, for example, the new carbon minute repeater, giving the chiming champion a completely new feel. And then there’s their latest record-breaker, the Octo Tourbillon Automatic, a technical tour de force that looks good to boot. But, for me, the real star is the two new case variations on the Octo Finissimo Automatic, in rhodium-coated steel and pink gold. I’m especially taken by the pink gold, which has never looked so low-key. In the comments on one of our videos, someone asked the question (and I’m paraphrasing here): “How is it that a jewellery house is making such excellent watches?” My answer is that they’re making cohesive, distinctive, zeitgeist-y and genuinely good timepieces precisely because they’re a jewellery house. They’re not so bound by the covenants and conventions of the… Read More

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MY WEEKEND WITH: The Bulgari Octo Ultranero

When it comes to watches, I’m very big on buying watches that suit your lifestyle, for the simple reason that if they suit your life, then you’ll get maximum wear out of the piece — and therefore maximum enjoyment. So, when I was flicking through Bulgari’s catalogue and spotted the Ultranero, I knew I had to give it a test drive. With a name like ‘Ultranero’, how could I not? And so, a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a weekend with the Bulgari Octo Ultranero. Not-so-coincidentally my blacked-out weekend happened to come shortly after I’d spent the week with another far more golden Octo. My first impression was … yeah, this thing is cool, I could definitely get used to this. And, sure enough, the Ultranero really grew on me! Usually, I find myself naturally drawn to dive watches, so it was quite refreshing to give them a weekend off, and wear something completely different. I actually think this added to the appeal; it was like living out a horological fantasy. Once I put it on, it felt … ultra comfortable. The rubber strap is super soft, and with a 100m water resistance, I see this as… Read More

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MY WEEK WITH: The Bulgari Octo Roma

A few weeks ago, I spent the Melbourne Cup long weekend with some extra company, specifically two references from the Bulgari Octo collection. Now, let me just say right off the bat, when it comes to the Bulgari timepieces, the Octo Finissimo collection has had pretty much all my attention since the Automatic dropped earlier this year at Baselworld. So when the opportunity arose to test drive a couple of ‘other’ Octos, I was keen to explore what else was on offer. I decided on two (very) different pieces, with both work and play in mind, which stood out to my particular tastes. For ‘work’, I opted for the Octo Roma in 18 karat rose gold. I love gold, so it wasn’t exactly a hard choice. For my ‘play’ option, I grabbed an Octo Ultranero, which you can read about later this week. My first impression was … a big ‘wow’ when I took the brown dial into the sunlight. ‘Brown’ doesn’t do justice to this charismatic, dynamic, ever-changing dial. Depending on lighting, the lacquered surface would change from a very dark brown to more of a chestnutty colour. And, in the brightest of sunlight, even a rich burgundy. It really… Read More

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