The Bulgari Octo Roma Naturalia x Wang Yan Cheng surges with organised chaosFergus Nash
Bulgari have spent the last decade focusing on the Octo Finissimo as the flagship for their haute-horology endeavours, however there’s a growing movement from the Octo Roma range to offer more variety in the world of high-end art watches. The Bulgari Octo Roma Naturalia x Wang Yan Cheng is one of their boldest Roma designs yet, with an undeniably contemporary appeal and a clear fiery passion. Wang Yan Cheng is a Chinese painter recognised for his use of surging, vibrant colours and techniques that can easily be described as organised chaos. He is the perfect match for the Bulgari Octo Roma Naturalia, considering its origin as an ode to ornamental stones that occur unplanned in natural geology.
It’s almost a disservice to call the display of the Bulgari Octo Roma Naturalia x Wang Yan Cheng a dial, as there are so many parts that interact and support each other to create the overall effect. At the very base, mounted on a plate of black onyx, eight unique works of art by Wang Yan Cheng have been miniaturised for each of the eight limited edition watches to be completely individual. Although the pieces are different, and as such hold their own personal character, the various streaks and splurges of colours are often warm and stimulating.
The artwork is actually placed just behind a more skeletonised dial that bears all of the movement’s major components too, with black onyx struts forming the hour markers, moving parts clustered around the pinion, and skeletonised hands allowing you to vaguely read the time, if you ever desperately need to. It’s not often that a flying tourbillon doesn’t get the total share of attention on a dial, but it is definitely given pride of place at 6 o’clock to really convey a sense of motion above the colours. With all of the stacked layers, the dial has an incredible depth which feels like it could pull you in.
The Bulgari Octo Roma case definitely carries a little more old-world sophistication than the more famous Finissimo shape, however presented here in a full black DLC coating it looks positively brutalist. The octagonal silhouette is still apparent behind a smooth circular bezel, and sandwiched between the titanium case components is a layer of highly-polished black onyx for the mid-case. The murdered-out approach to the case and the skeletonised architecture lends the dial a huge amount of contrast, intensifying the expressiveness of those base colours as Wang Yan Chen intended.
The Bulgari Octo Roma Naturalia x Wang Yan Cheng case itself is 44mm in diameter, with a 53.5mm lug-to-lug length. This broadness couples with a flat profile means that the watch doesn’t wear particularly easily on anything less than an average wrist, although this is one of those watches where blending under a cuff isn’t really the point. Attention may be drawn to it quite easily, and then you get to have the pleasure of explaining its story. The water resistance is 50m, giving you peace of mind around water without wanting to take it swimming.
Through the sapphire caseback of the Bulgari Octo Roma Naturalia x Wang Yan Cheng you can see the in-house Bulgari calibre BVL206, laid into a webbed frame that also houses more shining black onyx. The manual winding not only allows the watch to be thinner, but it also gives you an unimpeded view of the technical marvel that is a Bulgari movement. It has a power reserve of 64 hours and a beat rate of 21,600 vibrations per hour, and although the view from the back is quite attractive, being able to see most of the movement from the dial side is also a big treat for the owner.
The Bulgari Octo Roma Naturalia x Wang Yan Cheng pricing and availability:
The Bulgari Octo Roma Naturalia x Wang Yan Cheng is strictly limited to eight unique pieces, and the price will be available upon request.
|Case Dimensions||44mm x 53.3mm|
|Power Reserve||64 hours|
|Complications||Hours, minutes, flying tourbillon|
|Price||Price on request|