Il Bel Paese
Although Bulgari has been making serious watches for over 40 years, it is still competing with manufacturers that have been producing for centuries, so the way it stands out from the crowd is to make watches that are different rather than making the same watch over again to be safe.
There is no denying that a Bulgari watch is edgier than the norm, so to buy and wear an Octo you have to make a choice to be different – as the company says, “Italian in design, Swiss in know-how”. “We don’t follow the pack because our customers look for something different,” says Terreni. “Octo is a sculpture, it’s strong and powerful, but elegant. It is extremely complex, but it is very Italian. You constantly find something new in the details – the indexes, the facets, the polishing of the case. These details make up its richness.”
When it comes to what makes the Octo Finissimo so special, Buonamassa says that it is because the design is so unexpected. “It is so Italian to play with the hardest alloy and the thinnest movement. When you see the concrete architecture of Pier Luigi Nervi in Rome, you marvel at his feats of engineering, and this is also our idea – to work with unique shapes that are difficult to produce. We hate compromise – the root of the Octo shape is in the 45-degree sharp angles and the very flat surfaces. It is an Italian trait to make opportunity out of necessity, and this is the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic.
“The design has a very strong link to the economical and social situation of today. In this environment people sometimes want to hide their wealth, hence there is a trend for stealth watches. But we are Italian, so beauty is all consuming for us. In German design, for example, form follows function, but for Italians beauty follows function. We love to play with constraints, so combining titanium with the shape of the Octo Finissimo was a perfect challenge. Octo works best in multi-layers with a 3D execution so if the Finissimo was not created well it would cancel the double layers of the bezel and lugs. But this is what we love – the weight of technology and the lightness of Italian execution. This is the point.”
The appeal of the Italian factor is something not lost in other markets, according to Vincent Reynes, Managing Director at Bulgari UK. “The whole Italian feel makes watch-buying sexy,” he says. “From the moment people walk into our Peter Marino-designed London store they fall in love with Bulgari. The brand talks to everyone and creates an emotional connection with elements and touches of the 1960s. Coolness is in our DNA – we represent the Dolce Vita crowd, the Roman way of living and enjoying life. Our style is bold and creative, we are unconventional in taste and a Bulgari watch takes personality and daring to wear.”