The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo 2021 - Watches and Wonders
The Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar is the seventh chapter and yet another record-breaking timepiece belonging to the Octo Finissimo's portfolio, five of them being ultra-complicated options. The perpetual calendar was eagerly awaited, a proposition that I envisioned while discovering the Chrono GMT, and nonetheless, it's a timepiece that is closing the gap between the chronograph and the top of the line. Also, it reaffirms the brand's vision to make the thinnest self-winding wristwatch whatever the mechanical complication under development.
Again, from a market's perspective, the perpetual calendar complication is a development you won't miss in any luxury sports watch offering. The perpetual calendar places itself amidst the range and aims at making the premium Octos more accessible. Also, the market demand proves this kind of complication is growing among watch connoisseurs' buying options.
The case comes in Grade 5 titanium and measures a hard-to-believe 5.80 mm in thickness, thanks to the outrageously slim 2.75 mm-thick BVL 305 caliber, but that's more. Featuring an ultra-slim and squared design, the case houses an incredibly 0.3 mm thick dial. Not to mention that the 2021 Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar not only prides itself on being the thinnest perpetual calendar in the business, I'm pretty confident it also is the lightest in the benchmark.
The Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar's overall design is something I didn't expect; I was expecting a perpetual-calendar variant of the GMT Chronograph from a design standpoint. Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Bulgari's Creative Director for Watches, opted for a hard-to-predict style with the various registers offering different sizes top to bottom: the big retrograde days of the month's gauge is spot on, with the day of the week and the month counter being smaller in size and placed on the left hand and right-hand side respectively.
Last but not least, you'll find a tiny leap year's register at six o'clock. I see various inspirations involving Bulgari heritage in watchmaking, and automotive design cues, an industry Fabrizio himself is familiar with. At noon, the retrograde gauge has a Gerald Genta touch, and a kind of Arena Bi-Retro Sport feel, but it recalls a dashboard's gauge instrument panel as found on some vintage sports cars, too.
The asymmetrical design (in terms of registers' size, top to bottom) is perhaps a consequence of the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar missing a moon-phase complication you'll find on most classic propositions out there. I reckon the Finissimo is inherently different from the competition; the moon phase complication seems to clash with the signature avant-gardist, ultra-technical, and no-frills pedigree of any Octo Finissimo.
The claim "the aesthetics of mechanics" and the Finissimo logo drawing inspiration from automotive design (Pininfarina, above all) proves the Finissimo's territory is more stand-out performance as enhanced on the Finissimo S product variants. Case in point, I'm curious to find out whether Bulgari is going to extend such a complication to the steel S range anytime soon. Bulgari has also introduced an Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar in platinum with a blue dial if you're looking for something more luxurious. On both models, the BVL 305 ensures a 60-hour power reserve.
The Perpetual Calendar is the highlight, not the only new Finissimo 2021 revealed at Watches and Wonders. After introducing the highly-collectible Tadao Ando Finissimo in titanium (alongside a tourbillon, too), Bulgari doubles down by introducing a new take on the Finissimo designed in collaboration with the Japanese architect whose outcome is a new Octo Finissimo in ceramic, whose dial is introducing the Japanese concept of Mikazuki, hence the crescent moon. If the first edition was all about the spiral of time, the coming one has a different meaning. As a 160-piece edition, let's expect the second edition to become as highly sought-after as the original one.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Bulgari)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®