Who the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton Eight Days is really for Who the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton Eight Days is really for

Who the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton Eight Days is really for

Borna Bošnjak

Having the chance to experience watches I normally wouldn’t can be dangerous, as it opens a myriad of additional avenues to drain my account balance. Truth be told, I’m normally more fearful of this when it comes to more affordable watches that could be considered impulse purchases, but every once in a while, I get to spend time with a very nice watch that completely blows me away. That’s when it gets really dangerous – and such was the case with the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton Eight Days. I’ve likely spoiled the conclusion to this write-up already, but I do think it’s still worth a read as I try to answer my own question (tooting my own horn just a little here), and least of all for the pretty pictures. Ok – major tootage going on here – I’ll stop while I’m ahead.

A bit of an overview of this lengthily named number first, though. You’re likely already familiar with the Octo Finissimo – Bulgari’s entry into the hotly contested integrated-bracelet sports watch space. I won’t be the first to call it a modern classic, with its multifaceted look reminiscent of a modern Genta design. This isn’t much of a surprise, considering Bulgari were once custodians of the Gérald Genta brand, though the final shape was penned by Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Bulgari’s current Product Creation Executive Director. For its near decade-long lifespan, the Octo Finissimo has been a three-hander, a tourbillon, a perpetual calendar, and an avant-garde piece of art, amongst other things, but this Eight Days models makes the most of what a skeletonised OF could be. But who is an ultra-thin, skeletonised, five-figure watch really for?

For those after a thin ticking cuff

bulgari octo finissimo skeleton eight days titanium case profile

Let’s start with the obvious, though it might seem a silly thing to say. Everyone knows the Octo Finissimo is a thin watch, and how could you forget, with Bulgari reminding us of their talents with numerous thickness world records. Regardless of this, I always forget just how intriguing that is to experience in person, and am always amazed when handling an Octo Finissimo, almost as much as the very first time.

bulgari octo finissimo skeleton eight days titanium wrist

The whole thing measures only 5.95mm in height, spreading out its components and making the most of the 40mm size. Having said that, the thickness (or lack thereof) won’t be a blessing for everyone. Most of the time, a thinner watch will wear better, but it’s the ratio of proportions that makes all the difference. If you’ve ever worn an Octo Finissimo before, you’ll know there is no curvature for the case, save for the tiny downturn of the lugs at the end that may as well not be there. As a result, it wears like a wide, thin cuff, and provided you don’t have an overly circular wrist shape, lovingly embraces your arm in fingerprint-resistant sandblasted titanium.

bulgari octo finissimo skeleton eight days titanium clasp

A big part of how well the Octo Finissimo wears is the ultra-thin, C-link titanium bracelet. Its design seamlessly integrates into the case, but the most impressive part to me was the clasp. Not only is it action perfectly weighted, but it actually settles into recesses on either side of the bracelet that make sure there is no excessive bulk anywhere on this watch. Sure – this is a very expensive watch – but Bulgari could’ve just as easily not done this, and I doubt there would be any big complaints. But they did it – and did it oh-so-well.

No curves, but there are levels to this

bulgari octo finissimo skeleton eight days titanium dial close up 2

With an eight-day power reserve and under 6mm of thickness, just how much depth can you pack into an openworked dial? Loads, it turns out. An openworked lattice of bridges emanating from the central pinion sandwiches the ultra-thin components on either side, with pleasant skeletonisation of the wheels and barrels, too. Text is minimal, limited to the Bulgari logo and a retrofuturistic eight days model denomination. I’m usually quite vocal of my dislike of mixing and matching typefaces, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done well, as Bulgari demonstrate here. Despite the monochromatic finish, there are three main surface finishing types that do offer good distinction and help add even more depth. There is still well-executed stippling, polished screws and circular graining – but more elaborate classical flourishes are omitted to go along with the Octo Finissimo’s contemporary aesthetic – a good call in my opinion.

bulgari octo finissimo skeleton eight days titanium dial close up 3

Zooming out a little, we see Bulgari’s attempt at making a greyscale colour scheme as legible as possible. This kind of palette is nothing new for the brand, though the challenge is much greater when skeletonising. The time-telling elements are all highly polished, including the two central hands, off-centre small seconds, and the large Arabic 12. It’s a good effort, though the Skeleton Eight Days is fighting a losing battle here, especially when coupled with the glare-happy flat sapphire crystals.

Finally, the section with small cut-outs above the small seconds sub-dial is a cleverly integrated power reserve metre, which fills with a white bar as the watch is wound. I much prefer this approach when compared to older skeletonised Octo Finissimo models that employed two differently sized sub-dials.

bulgari octo finissimo skeleton eight days titanium movement

The reverse view offers an unobstructed look at the Calibre BVL 199 SK, a new in-house movement that debuted in the Skeleton Eight Days. For starters, there’s the eight-day power reserve, which is just a remarkable achievement considering the entire movement is only 2.5mm in height. It’s a large movement, too, measuring 36.6mm which both helps fill out the caseback properly, and give more room for the components to spread out thinner. It does beat at a slower, 3Hz beat rate, but that shouldn’t be too distracting considering the small seconds. One thing that stood out to me was the action of the crown. All too often, ultra-thin movements feel fragile when being operated, and I was worried the tiny crown would be flimsy and difficult. It was quite the contrary, with satisfying clicks and zero mushiness.

Closing thoughts

bulgari octo finissimo skeleton eight days titanium dial

My time with the Octo is best summed up with a brief recollection of a moment. When I finished shooting it, I absentmindedly wrapped its bracelet around a watch cushion, rather than the carrying case it came with. Once I set the cushion back into my watchbox, I just thought to myself “damn, this thing looks good in here.” I wasn’t bothered by the lacklustre 30-metre water resistance, nor the less-than-ideal legibility. I was completely enamoured by its presence, execution and wearing experience. And I think that answers my original question. This will be a perfect match for someone who makes a conscious choice to pick it over other angular or porthole-inspired counterparts because (being aware of it being the lamest conclusion possible) it’s just really cool, and not for its hype or accompanying status. In my eyes, that’s one of the purest ways of enjoying a watch.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton Eight Days pricing and availability

The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton Eight Days is available now. Price: A$41,200

Brand Bulgari
Model Octo Finissimo Skeleton Eight Days Titanium
Reference Number 103610
Case Dimensions 40mm (D) x 5.95mm (T)
Case Material Titanium
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Skeletonised, grey
Strap Titanium single-link bracelet, butterfly clasp
Movement BVL 199 SK, in-house, manual winding
Power Reserve 192 hours (8 days)
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds, power reserve
Availability Now
Price A$41,200