INTRODUCING: The Bulgari Octo Roma Central Tourbillon PapillonThor Svaboe
The Bulgari Octo was famously designed by the legendary Gerald Genta. I see the Octo Roma as maintaining the essence of Genta’s spiritual work without its square-edged temple case sides, as the octagonal shape is, of course, the heart of the Octo. The range is a smaller wearing, rounder feeling Octo, but the Bulgari Octo Roma Central Tourbillon Papillon offers a very different proposition boasting a central tourbillon in a rich blend of black and pink gold.
It does however very much embody the adopted spirit of Genta at his quirkiest, and the first thing that crosses my mind is how incredibly challenging it must be to adapt the gear train and escapement around the twirling ballerina form of that central tourbillion.
Not many manufacturers dare even attempt this feat of engineering, unless you are a daring independent like Beat Haldimann or Hysek. A brand like MB&F would be almost expected to, but when Omega launched theirs I was close to actually applauding.
But like anything else emanating from the creative mastermind of Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, this has the tailored touch of Bulgari in its 41mm case. The BVL 332 movement powering this marvel, is 34mm x 8.76mm with 30 jewels, giving us a 60 hour power reserve at a calm 21,600vph. Impressive stats for the vast complexity within the Papillon Tourbillon. The display has got the Papillon hands some of you might recognize from an earlier Daniel Roth concept, and is one of the most charmingly simple yet utterly complex ways of showing the minutes.
I do believe that this surely is to create valid competition for the central magic, as there are two diamond-shaped minute hands, not one. Minutes are shown between 3 and 9 by one of the “hands”, while the identical opposing one is rotated 180 degrees so as to not obscure the view of the jumping hours at 12. As one half dial cycle of 60 minutes is completed, the two minute diamond-shaped hands in gold both rotate so that the next one is now pointing at 00 minutes. All this within a matte black outer dial with delicate gold print, encircling the futuristic centre, with the look of some kind of alien fusion reactor, framing the everlasting charm of the tourbillon within its cage.
The case itself is vertically brushed on its sides, while the horizontal planes are mirror polished, giving the audience what they want, which is every sliver of light marking out the bold architectural details of the Octo case – just as fascinating in its somehow rounder Roma guise. The back is pure futurist stealth, a black sun having a semi-circle punched out for the golden power reserve and titillating you with small glimpses of the wonder within. And it works. Available for $129,000 USD, the Bulgari Octo Roma Central Tourbillon Papillon delivers yet another golden twist of the Octo splendour.