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Watch of the Week: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic

Bulgari’s latest record breaker proves that thin is in and it’s hip to be square.

This past spring, Bulgari once again cemented its place in high watchmaking with the launch of the Octo Finissimo Automatic (from $12,800 on the strap and $13,900 on a bracelet.)—the world’s thinnest automatic watch on the market and the brand’s third world record. The Octo line from Bulgari traces its roots all the way back to the legendary Gerald Genta, prior to his company’s acquisition by Bulgari in the early 2000s.

 

The multifaceted case design has continued to evolve over the years, and this present combination of an ultra slim case with matching titanium bracelet have made it the most desirable yet. According to Bulgari, the piece is sold out for the balance of 2017, though it is possible to be placed on a wait list as more pieces hit the market next year.

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Watch

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Watch  Photo: Courtesy George Chinsee

How It Looks

Of the numerous pieces to catch our eye this year, the Octo Finissimo Automatic is one that refuses to fade from memory. Before even discussing the slender case profile or other details, we must mention Bulgari’s choice of using sandblasted titanium against a matte gray dial (a similar dial to the record-breaking minute repeater we covered last year, though without cutouts) that sets off the aesthetic fireworks of this new piece. This flat finish almost hides the many angles and details of its case design, leading the wearer’s eye to examine the piece with intent. The devil truly is in the details here.

When it comes to dimensions, Bulgari’s team worked their magic once again. Its case is 40 mm across, though with its squared shape, it wears just large enough to suit those with more substantial wrists. Its case is a mere 5.15 mm thick, and whether you opt for its bracelet or its alligator leather strap, the piece is shockingly lightweight. Given the choice, we would be quick to say the bracelet would be our first pick, as we found it wears incredibly comfortable on the wrist.

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Watch

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Watch  Photo: Courtesy George Chinsee

That comfort is due in part to Bulgari’s clever execution of the bracelet’s butterfly clasp. Traditionally, this style of clasp adds a bit of width to the backside of the bracelet, but Bulgari found a work-around. If you look closely, you’ll see that a set of grooves have been cut into the first few of the bracelet’s links, recessing the clasp into the bracelet itself. On a steel bracelet of this thickness, said links would not survive; however, in titanium, everything remains as sturdy as can be.

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Watch

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Watch  Photo: Courtesy George Chinsee

How It Works

At only 2.23 mm thick, the wafer-thin BVL 138 Finissimo caliber is a simple time-only movement with a separate subdial for running seconds. Thin as it is, its mainspring barrel holds a power reserve approximated at 60 hours, which, compared to other generic self-winding calibers, is more than reasonable. The maintenance of said power reserve is tendered by a platinum micro-rotor chosen for its heft and density. We often see brands turn to gold for their micro-rotors to improve winding characteristics; however, when every millimeter counts, the use of platinum makes better sense.

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Watch

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Watch  Photo: Courtesy George Chinsee

How to Pair It

Over our weeklong “road test,” the Octo Finissimo Automatic proved even more versatile than initially expected. Whether under a shirt cuff or dressed up with formal black tie, the piece is perfectly at home, as expected. Where it really surprised—especially on bracelet—was how casually it could be paired, whether with lightweight sweater options or even a simple polo-and-shorts combination. While we’d prefer to stay dressed up with the version on leather strap, when fitted on a bracelet, this piece could safely be put to work as your daily-wear watch so long as you’re not heading to the pool (water resistance is only 30 m).

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Watch

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Watch  Photo: Courtesy George Chinsee

Where to Get It

Sadly, you’re going to have to wait. But if you add your name to the wait list at your nearest Bulgari boutique, they’ll be able to sort you out by early Q1 of 2018.

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