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Design, tradition, and in-house movements – the Bulgari Novelties from Watches and Wonders 2023


There are many roads to become a respected watch ‘maison’, and when I say respected, I meant to become a fully integrated manufacturer, sure there are plenty components that you might need to outsource but the core elements (at least to me) must be dominated between the 4 walls of the brand. Many luxury power houses have really tried to compete with more established brands, but few have made a real effort, we have seen big names, with lots of tradition making a 44mm shiny watch with an unreliable mass produced battery powered movement inside, it sad, very sad but I am glad that Bulgari did not go this way, with the right acquisitions and know how, their in-house movements look like nothing else out there. I would like to say that Bulgari is a brand that is close to my heart, but I will be lying, apart from my Italian nationality and love for well-crafted objects, I don’t think we never had much in common, that is until 2014 came along, the time when the first Octo Finissimo was unveiled, then just like everyone else in the world of watches,

I started to pay attention. There is something different about Bulgari, everyone seems proud of their work, always welcoming, in one of my travels I decided to step into the boutique and see their novelties, the person at the counter took everything out despite of me saying : ‘’ I am not going to buy anything today, I am just a watch enthusiast..’’ but he was so eager and content to show me the Octo collection that it was contagious, I could not resist, I was hooked right there and I am still on the hunt for that beautiful micro-rotor ultra-thin object to adorn my wrist, will I go titanium? Or steel? Whatever the decision is, Bulgari has stayed in my mind and when I was invited to see their latest novelties form Watches and Wonder, I could only nod and bring my camera along. As a full disclosure, this will be the first article of a series, in here we will see the updates of the Roma and Aluminium collection which I was close on breaking the piggy bank, and then we will go to explore some Octo Finnisimi (o)? oh well they are all incredible so let us begin.



The Bulgari Aluminium

I enjoyed these watches more than I thought I would, the ergonomics are spot on, with a 40mm case for the time and date versions and the same for the chronographs, the watches fit my 6.25-inch wrist incredibly well. The time and date only watch has been given 2 variations: the Capri Edition and the Match Point edition, the first one is distinguished by a lovely degrade dial, which goes from light blue to a darker shade, the blue bezel dominates the top view and integrates with the bezel colour as it should, from the name you can already suspect that this is a summer watch, and I am sure that it will be an instant hit. The Match point edition is a play with the colours, it has been given a military mate green dial and cream dial that looks very classy, very, tennis like, it doesn’t feel toyish or serious, is a mix playfulness with an everyday approach, I like it a lot. These 2 versions are powered by the calibre B77, reliable, tested, and ready to do work. The Bulgari Aluminium Capri Edition is limited at 1000 pieces and the Aluminium Match Pont Edition is limited to 800.

Moving to the Bulgari Aluminium chronograph, the watch has not grown one bit, which is part of the magic for me, usually chronographs tend to be large and thick, this is not the case here. The Bulgari Aluminium Chronograph houses the B130 movement, very nice action when you activate the chronograph function and because the watch is made in aluminium (of course!), making it very light and comfortable. Going to back to the bracelet, this design has grown on me quite a bit, the ergonomics are incredible, and the fit is hard to match when it comes to other conventional integrated bracelet sport watches, they did a great job with this one. The Bulgari Chronograph Aluminium comes in 3 versions: the Capri Limited Edition (limited to 1000 pieces), a regular production black dial and a panda configuration, if you are looking for a wearable chronograph with a unique design and provenance, then the Bulgari Aluminium should be on your radar.



The Bulgari Octo Roma

On to the one that I had to run out before I decided to get it. Yes, the Octo Roma has been in the Bulgari collection even before the Octo Finissimo, in fact, the Finissimo is an evolution of this design, but something happened along the way, the Roma collection was shadowed by its new slim brother and even some people dared to called it a budget version. Well, the Octo Roma deserves more respect that than, is an evolution of the Gérald Genta Bi-Retro watch, talking about prestige when it comes to design right? Well, I have to say that the first version did look a bit similar to the mighty Octo Finissimo but I think with this new iteration they really make the new Octo Roma stand on its own.

Starting with the Octo Roma ‘solo tempo’, the case diameter is 41mm, the lugs and bracelet are very delicate and a bit more rounded that the previous version, to me this design makes the watch look as a more of an elegant/easier to wear piece, also comparing the Octo Roma to its previous generation, the dial has a ‘clou de Paris’ motif instead of a sunburst one, the effect is incredible, especially with the grey dial, it’s my favourite of the bunch.

The dates are positioned at 3 o clock with the name ‘Bulgari’ at 12, that is it, no more no less. Don’t be mistaken by me saying that this is a more elegant piece, because the Bulgari Octo Roma could be your 1 watch collection or GADA (go anywhere do anything) watch, it includes the in-house calibre BVL191 and 100 meters of water resistance. Coming back on the bracelet, it seems that this is the part that they spend a lot of time perfectioning and it shows, the metal feels very fluid and comfortable, it tapers nicely and you can really understand the jewellery ‘know how’ from Bulgari here, another details that I love is that you do not have to choose between a metal band and a rubber strap as both are included in the package, I very much enjoyed the blue rubber strap with an easy quick change system, feels like different watch all together, sportier and never out of place, thinking about it as I write the review, the watch has won me over. The Octo Roma ‘Solo Tempo’ comes in with white, blue and anthracite dials.

Moving to the chronograph version, the size grew to 42mm compared to the 41mm of the solo tempo, but the short lugs design make wonder to my wrist, it doesn’t feel oversized, and I had a hard time distinguishing both cases when you look at them from the back. The chronograph has the in-house calibre BVL 399 with 42 hours of power reserve and date at 4:30. I am not a chronograph person but this new pattern on the dial added with the great wearability, makes me think that it would fit almost any collection, including mine. Both chronographs are not limited but are only available with blue and black dials.
















Technical Specifications

Octo Roma Chronograph - Ref 103829

Diameter (mm): 42

Case Shape: Octagonal

Functions: Chronograph Date

Movement: Automatic

Band Material: Stainless steel, Rubber

Water Resistance: 100 m

Material​: Steel

Color​: Blue, Silver

Aluminum Ref 103815

Diameter (mm): 40 –

Case Shape: Round

Functions: Hour-Minute-Seconds-Date

Movement Typology: Automatic

Band Material: Rubber

Power Reserve: 42 hours

Water Resistance: 100 m

Material​: Aluminium Titanium

Color​: Blue

Aluminum Chronograph Ref 103844

Diameter (mm): 40

Case Shape: Round

Functions: Chronograph Date

Movement Typology: Automatic

Band Material: Rubber

Power Reserve: 42 hours

Water Resistance: 100 m

Material​: Aluminium Titanium

Color​: Blue

Octo Roma Solo tempo Ref 103740

Diameter (mm): 41

Case Shape: Octogonal

Functions: Hour-Minute-Seconds-Date

Movement Typology: Automatic

Band Material: Stainless steel, Rubber

Power Reserve: 42 hours

Water Resistance: 100 m

Buckle: Folding Buckle

Material​: Steel

Color​: Silver







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