Bulgari’s pivot to the Roma at Geneva Watch Days reveals they’re not just the Finissimo Show Bulgari’s pivot to the Roma at Geneva Watch Days reveals they’re not just the Finissimo Show

Bulgari’s pivot to the Roma at Geneva Watch Days reveals they’re not just the Finissimo Show

Luke Benedictus

Question: has any watch brand evolved as much as Bulgari in the last decade? In 2011, the company’s watchmaking design division was transplanted from Rome to Neuchâtel in Switzerland in a sign of the brand’s horological intent. It’s proved to be wildly fruitful, too, as Italian style has merged with Swiss precision in a succession of releases that have established Bulgari firmly in the upper echelons of watchmaking. In 2014, the launch of the Octo Finissimo – which also happened to be the world’s thinnest tourbillon – showed the brand’s capabilities and, since then, the Octo Finissomo line has gone to break records every single year since, for everything from the thinnest automatic movement to thinnest mechanical chronograph. In short, Bulgari is a brand that is going from strength to strength and their latest releases from Geneva Watch Days suggest they’re only getting more ambitious. Tellingly, they’re also branching out from what has become safe hypebeast territory, which is of course the extraordinary Finissimo. Now, we shift focus to the Roma, and the view is no less impressive…

Bulgari Octo Roma WorldTimer

COVID has made the idea of hopping on a plane to jet off to some far-flung destination feel more exciting than ever. And this only increases the desirability of a GMT watch. Bulgari are clearly aware that we’re all desperate to start clocking up air-miles again with the release of the Bulgari Octo Roma WorldTimer. It’s a watch that feels a bit like the Octo Finissimo with a particularly well-stamped passport and many plumped up pages of globetrotting behind (and ahead) of it.

The watch comes in two variations. The stainless-steel model with blue dial is fitted on a slinky integrated bracelet, while the moodier alternative is black dialled with a DLC-coated steel case and textured rubber strap. Both are 41mm in diameter and offer 100 metres of water resistance, meaning they’ll genuinely pass muster as a travel watch that you can take on holiday.

Whatever destination you choose Bulgari have got you covered, too. The world time function is twiddled via the crown and can be set to wherever your next jet-setting sojourn takes you – from the Maldives to Hawaii and Athens to Rio. This in-house world timer feels like a logical addition to the Bulgari collection and a tempting offering for any international playgirl, or boy. Price 8600 Euros

The Bulgari Octo Roma Central Tourbillon Papillon

Central tourbillons are tricky customers. One big problem they pose is where do you anchor the hands? After all, the usual area of the dial is no longer a time-telling option, now that it’s got far more important things to do with its extravagant displays of horological oneupmanship.

Bulgari have come up with an ingenious solution. While a 24-hour jumping display appears in the window located at 12 o’clock, a scale runs along the lower half of the dial, where two retractable, diamond-shaped hands positioned on a supporting disc take turns indicating the minutes. When the first hand reaches the 55th minute on the display segment, the other hand will gradually make a quarter turn to take a position parallel to the first on the 00-minute indication. The first hand will then move to the retracted position for the next 55 minutes.

Bulgari describes this patented technology as the “papillon” device and reports that it consumes less energy than a traditional minutes display. All this cleverness is powered by a 60-hour power reserve movement and housed in a tidy 41mm case made of rose gold. Price 130,000 Euros