Luxury conglomerate LVMH’s first ever watch fair, held recently in Dubai, marks yet another show to add to media/retailer’s calendars, and, perhaps more importantly, another challenge to the one-time presumed hegemony of Baselworld.
Of course, LVMH still intends to attend Baselworld for 2020, which would explain the relatively restrained showing from the manufactures under their umbrella. They had to hold some surprises in reserve. Even so, Bulgari came out shooting with their absolutely stunning new Octo Finissimo in steel, and it’s poised to become the new darling of the integrated bracelet set.
At first blush this new addition to the Octo family may seem like a whiff, given that this design, as lovely as it is, with its overtly architectural angles and mind-bending thinness, has been around the block a few times already. So, why is this one of the highlights of LVMH Watch Week?
In a word, the finishing.
For the first time the Octo Finissimo is rendered with a satin-brushed and polished finish and it takes Fabrizio Buonamassa’s now-iconic design to new heights. While some purists may lament the loss of subtlety that the Finissimo’s traditional micro sand-blasted finishing blessed it with, there’s no denying that this new model captures the light in a way that the current collection never could.
What’s more, thanks to the addition of a screw-down crown and an ever-so-slightly thicker case — 5.25mm, up from 5.15mm — the Octo Finissimo’s water resistance has been raised from a negligible 30m to a much more sporting 100m.
And therein lies the intent. Bulgari is no more blind to the current winds of fortune, which have blessed (cursed?) the likes of the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak with unprecedented demand and the hordes of collectors vying to acquire them. With its new finish, increased water resistance and overtly masculine design the Octo Finissimo is now poised to compete head-to-head with the best of the steel luxury sport watch market.
Helping in this mission is the record-breaking manufacture BLV138 automatic movement, which lives under the black lacquered dial and behind an expansive sapphire display. At a hair over 2.2mm in thickness, this is what makes the Octo finissimo. Decorated with the all the filigree that one would expect from Bulgari, it is as much a joy to behold as the case and bracelet that support it.
The Octo Finissimo in steel may not break new ground with respect to Bulgari’s line up, but mark our words, its debut will rock the luxury steel sport watch market to the core.
Automatic BVL138 Finissimo caliber with platinum micro-rotor; hours, minutes and small seconds indications; 60-hour power reserve
Case and Dial
40mm satin-polished steel case (5.25mm thick), transparent caseback; polished steel screw-down crown set with ceramic inlay; black lacquered dial, faceted diamond rhodium-plated hands; water-resistant to 100m
Integrated satin-polished steel bracelet with folding clasp