Having notched up records for the thinnest watch in several categories – including tourbillon, chronograph as well as minute repeater – Bulgari is continuing with the perpetual calendar. The Italian jeweller now claims another record for thinness – its seventh – with the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar.
Taking the mantle from the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, the new Octo perpetual calendar is just 5.8 mm in its entirety – with a movement only 2.75 mm high. It’ll be offered in the traditional livery of the Octo Finissimo of sandblasted titanium, but unusually also in platinum with an alligator strap.
There’s no doubt that Bulgari is perhaps the best at ultra-thin watches – its titles for the thinnest watch in seven categories are testament to that.
Yet the brand doesn’t simply rely on its record-setting thinness as a gimmick. Most of its ultra-thin watches are interesting beyond the slimness.
The Octo design in its own right is striking. And the perpetual calendar has been executed in a symmetrical, sensible manner. Though the dial is somewhat crowded, it remains legible thanks to the large sub-dials and minimalist aesthetic. It’s a well-designed watch and perhaps the most stylish perpetual calendar on the market.
Between the two, I’m leaning towards the titanium version; I very much prefer the Octo Finissimo on a bracelet. The angular, slim bracelet complements the faceted design of the case well. I also like the subtlety of the sandblasted finish, which endows the watch with a sleek, sporty feel. And it also costs substantially less than the platinum model, while arguably offering a stronger, more original look.
Priced at US$59,000 in titanium, the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar represents value for money. Not as good value as some of the other Octo Finissimo models – especially the chronograph that costs a bit under US$18,000 – but a relative bargain against its rivals. In comparison, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin costs almost triple, albeit in titanium with a platinum bezel.
The Octo perpetual calendar is an astounding 5.8 mm high – half a millimetre thinner than the previous record-holder from Audemars Piguet.
The titanium variant is paired with a matching sandblasted titanium dial, while the platinum model is paired with a radially-brushed dial in bright, metallic blue.
The dial finishes continue on the respective cases. The titanium model has a clean sandblasting throughout, while the platinum version has a more conventional brushed finished in the vein of many luxury-sports watches in precious metals.
Instead of the usual date window, the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar features a retrograde date, which Bulgari says was a necessity in order to preserve its slim profile.
Given the flatness of the dial, a retrograde date preserves its unbroken expanse, better fitting the aesthetic of the watch better than a traditional date window.
The case features three recessed buttons on its sides – one for setting the retrograde date, another for the month, and the last for the day. As a perpetual calendar, it requires no adjustment until the year 2100.
The thinness of the watch is thanks to the BVL 305. Though a newly developed calibre, it shares its foundations with the BVL 138 found in the time-only Octo Finissimo – both movements look almost identical through the exhibition back.
The complexity of the BVL 305 lies under the dial, where the perpetual calendar mechanism has been integrated as much as possible into the movement, instead of being a discrete module as is the norm for most perpetual calendars.
As is tradition for the movements in the various Octo Finissimo models, the BVL 305 utilises a micro-rotor to avoid the thickness of a full rotor. And despite being ultra slim and highly complicated, it still manages a handy 60 hours of power reserve.
Key facts and price
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar
Ref. 103200 (titanium)
Ref. 103463 (platinum)
Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 5.8 mm
Material: Titanium or platinum
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: BVL 305
Functions: Hours, minutes, and perpetual calendar with retrograde date, day, month, and retrograde leap year
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 60 hours
Strap: Titanium bracelet with folding clasp or alligator strap with platinum pin buckle
Availability: From Bulgari online shop, boutiques, and retailers
Price: US$59,000 (titanium), US$89,000 (platinum)
For more, visit bulgari.com.
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