The Bulgari Octo Finissmo houses the world’s thinnest automatic movement. At least it did when it came out in early 2017. Piaget hustled to steal the title back in the same year. Resulting in the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P. Still, that did little to dampen the excitement around Bulgari’s tremendous achievement. Throw in a modern, minimalist aesthetic unlike anything on the market. Plus, some high-quality finishing. And you’ve got yourself a pretty nice piece of wrist candy. But is the Bulgari Octo Finissimo a good watch?
A (Very) Brief History Of The Bulgari Octo Finissimo
To most, Bulgari is best-known as an Italian jewellery brand. Although it may surprise you to learn that the company actually has its origins in Greece. But that’s not pertinent to our story. The point is, Bulgari doesn’t have the same provenance as its Swiss counterparts. At least not as far as being a watchmaker. The company is after all 135 years old. But it doesn’t have the same heritage as say Patek Philippe. Or even Rolex for that matter.
But in this ever-consolidating world we live in, heritage, along with expertise, can be bought. Which is why Bulgari acquired reputable manufacturers Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth. This gave them an immediate “in” into the world of haute horologerie. And in recent years they have been making full use of this to stunning effect. In fact, the Octo Finissimo is the third instalment in a trilogy of ultra-thin watches.
That’s right. Bulgari also holds (or held, who can keep up?) other records for thin watches. These include the world’s thinnest minute repeater. And the world’s thinnest tourbillon (currently in production.) So, in a way the Octo Finissimo Automatic is the logical progression. That’s not to say it’s not still an impressive achievement in its own right though. After all, the self-winding in-house movement is just 2.23mm thick.
It’s also the model that’s most accessible to the wider market. And the most wearable. Complicated watches are great. But they’re not practical on a daily basis generally speaking. Plus, they’re a lot more expensive.
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic
So far, we’ve spent a lot time talking about how thin the Octo Finissimo Automatic is. A barely-there 5.15mm cased up. What caught my attention though is its minimalist good looks. It’s almost got an industrial vibe going on. This is definitely not your grandfather’s wristwatch. This is a piece that makes a statement on the wrist. A feat made all the more impressive by the fact that there’s barely any watch to make a statement with.
The case features the classic circle in a square design unique to the Octo collection. It’s 40mm in diameter and crafted from sand-blasted titanium. It may look a little rough at first glance but don’t let that fool you. The finishing on the multi-faceted case is of a very high standard.
The dial meanwhile continues the sober celebration of this concept of less is more. It features oversized Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 and the Octo’s baton-style hour markers. Small seconds appear on the sub-dial between 7 and 8 o’clock. The hand connects direct to the seconds wheel to keep the movement as flat as possible.
Despite the muted tones, the dial remains quite easy to read. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s highly legible. But you not likely to have any issues reading the time in regular light conditions. You’ll also catch yourself staring at the dial. Like a lot. I don’t what it is about the Octo Finissimo Automatic. But I want to look at it all the time.
Of course, the movement inside wouldn’t be as impressive if you couldn’t see it all. Bulgari’s designers and engineers understood that it seems. Which is why, when you turn the watch over you’re greeted with a sapphire caseback. This allows you a bird’s eye view of the ultra-thin calibre BVL138. It measures a mere 2.23mm thick. Complete with integrated micro-rotor made from 950 Platinum.
Why Platinum you ask? The simple answer is to give the micro rotor enough mass to generate energy. As you can, it’s very small and very thin. So something like gold would not have been heavy enough in this limited quantity.
The movement beats at 21’600 vibrations/hour, and offers 60 hours of power reserve. Pretty impressive for a mechanism that is thinner than two pennies stacked on top of each other. And not much bigger in diameter.
As with the case, finishing of the movement is top-shelf. Decorations include Geneva stripes, perlage and anglage. Little touches that make a big difference when you see the watch in person.
The Octo Finissimo Automatic comes on an ultra-flat alligator leather strap. Or a matching sand-blasted titanium bracelet. Both of which integrate into the case. I’ve worn both and have to say I prefer the bracelet. The leather strap is very nice too and doesn’t detract from the watch at all. But the bracelet adds to that sand-blasted, industrial feel.
Price And Availability
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic retails for USD 13,900 on the titanium bracelet. And USD 12,800 on the leather strap.
They’re available through most authorized retailers. And direct from Bulgari too, of course. You have a better chance of securing some sort of discount if you buy from the former though.
Is It A Good Watch?
This comes down to the metrics you use to determine whether a watch is ‘good’ or not. From a technical perspective, the Octo Finissimo is an outstanding achievement. And one that is still quite accessible to regular watch lovers. I also happen to think it looks great. Plus, it’s very comfortable on the wrist.
If you value prestige and heritage though, this watch isn’t going to cut it for you. Likewise, if resale value is a key consideration, you’re better off looking elsewhere. That doesn’t mean this is not a good watch mind you. It most definitely is. It just means it’s not the right watch for you.
Technical Specifications: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic
- Case: 40mm x 5.15mm thick – titanium, sand-blasted – sapphire crystal on the front and on the back with antireflective coating – water resistant to 30m.
- Movement: Calibre BLV138, in-house – automatic winding (platinum micro-rotor) – 36mm x 2.23mm – 60h power reserve – 21’600 vibrations/h – 31 jewels – hours, minutes, small seconds.
- Bracelet: Titanium bracelet with double folding clasp or black alligator strap and tang buckle.
- Price: USD 13,900 on the bracelet / USD 12,800 on the strap.