OCTO, AN EXPRESSION OF ITALIAN CREATIVE GENIUS
Octo’s seductive power lies in its sophistication. Avoiding simplistic approaches and preconceived ideas, this watch is the signature of a remarkable, unusual, and meticulous personality that embraces the complementary sides of its dual nature. In a day and age that is searching for understanding, values and meaning, this watch asserts its studied complexity. It draws on its mixed background to provide a structured measurement and display of passing time, the better to appreciate, save, or notice it.
The Octo’s nature derives from its roots. The offspring of a marriage of Italian creativity and Swiss precision, it borrows the best of both worlds to take the middle road between sensuousness and exactness.
The Octo has become a mainstay in the watch collections of Bvlgari, a house known far and wide for its daring and fine-jewellery expertise. The watch is both a precision timepiece and an architectural creation that pays lively tribute to Italian creative genius.
Italian architecture channels the art of designing spaces and structures to make life pleasant; it achieves this by wedding utility to beauty, rationalism to aestheticism and functionality to pleasure. It laid the foundations for modern urban civilisations. Leonardo da Vinci, that prolific inventor who was so ahead of his time, let the technology of his day guide him. Aided by a scholarly culture in which passion had its rightful place, he invented the most visionary of solutions. His research enabled him to combine efficiency with beauty. Geometry and precision gave birth to perfection. The Octo watch is true to these teachings, without neglecting one of the ingredients of seduction: surprise.
One yet many, accurate yet sensuous, the Octo plays on paradoxes and contrasts to better show off its various facets. It appears as a built edifice, with two sides.
One side is a finely fashioned case with a hundred and ten different facets for a thousand surprises. So the eye wanders over the ridges and flat surfaces, discovering how the material was worked, cut from a solid piece, the sparkling and more satiny surfaces. Metal in all its glory. Whether gold or steel, the material expresses and reveals itself. In the heart of the Swiss Jura, the Saignelégier craftsmen who make the cases and bracelets carry on tradition, repeating the age-old meticulous, precise motions to create the Octo’s casing, a tour de force of both design and manufacture. Its remarkable shape is unlike any other in the world of fine watchmaking, since the watch is octagonal (hence “Octo”) and crowned with a round bezel.
The Octo continues the ancient quest of bringing together forms as an aid in the search for perfection and harmony: a studied process that gives it its unique character.
On another side, in much the same way as an entrance hall orders the arrangement of the rooms and gives an overview of how they are organised, the Octo’s octagonal dial opening draws the eye further into the structure: like the gates of Rome giving entry to the Eternal City built on its seven hills.
Every facet of the Octo watch points the way to the dials’ extremely refined features, created by the same pursuit of simplicity and flawlessness wrought through generations of fine workmanship and sophistication.
The simplicity of the Octo’s arrangement connects it to the essential and basic values of measuring and displaying time. The dial is uncluttered and very easy to consult; only the numbers six and twelve appear on it, as has been customary with Bvlgari watches since the 1940s. All the other hours are indicated by added markers, the facets of which have been subtly worked in support of the case’s angles and sides. To take the time to examine each of these meticulously calculated angles is to experience the pleasure of discovering the kind of sophistication that creates beauty.
Of this encounter is born a taste for challenges, a desire to push the limits a bit further – the same subtle desires involved in creating and developing new watches for the Octo line. Having gradually brought all of the traditional skills under its roof and having gained full mastery of modern technologies and all of its production abilities, Bvlgari now has complete control of all creative and assembly processes. This enables it to make even its most exceptional creations itself, from start to finish.
Bvlgari has learned how to combine a sensational aesthetic inspired by Italian creativity with its fine-jewellery legacy and the wonderful precision of exceptional Swiss mechanics. Like an athlete wearing an haute couture dress, or a race car with an exceptional body, Bvlgari’s Octo watch matches style with performance.
This is attested by numerous developments this year, with the introduction of several innovations in both form and content. The iconic line is expanding significantly with a wider range of sizes, adding a chronograph version, and breaking into the realm of elegant and formal hand-wound ultra-thin complication watches.
For example, the calibres developed by Bvlgari have kept their appeal over a number of years. Once again, they will be a focal point of desire and surprise, especially with the introduction of a spectacular extra-slim tourbillon movement, the thinnest on the market.
A watchmaking tour de force, the tourbillon improves the accuracy of mechanical watches by offsetting perturbations caused by the earth’s gravity in the balance wheel’s isochronism. Delicately made and protected by its cage, the tourbillon defies gravity with its rotations, which are as finely tuned as a high-performance racing engine and as poetic as a beating heart.
Putting a tourbillon into a Bvlgari watch, in and of itself, is not a new development in the company’s history. But with this extremely thin tourbillon movement, Bvlgari’s master watchmakers in the Joux Valley are doing their part to cultivate even more of a taste for paradox and surprises.
Today, for example, the thinnest movement ever invented and design has slipped into the Octo’s heart to enhance the marriage between fine Swiss watchmaking and Italian reativity of the most imaginative and sensuous kind.
In this spirit of pursuing the basic essentials, the Octo line has also added a creation equipped with an ultra-thin hand-wound mechanical movement, an expression of unquestionable formal elegance.
The 2014 additions to the Octo line again come in a number of versions. While the Octo’s case has traditionally been offered in a 41.5-mm-diameter size, it now comes in a new 38-mm version that plays with the kinds of metal combinations and contrasts to which the overall aesthetic of the watch lends itself so well. The new case houses the Solotempo calibre, an automatic movement designed and manufactured in-house.
The Octo line is now making full use of all the means of seduction and sophistication at its disposal to assert itself as a timepiece with character, intended for assertive men who care about a lifestyle that balances the aesthetic and the technical: men who hold definite opinions and avoid bland compromises, sophisticated aesthetes who want to understand and be moved, but refuse to be forced into choosing between thought and emotion.
OCTO FINISSIMO TOURBILLON, THE THINNEST EVER MADE
The quest for thinness has been one of the watchmaker’s goals for a long time. By introducing the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, Bvlgari has reached a new milestone in the development of ultra-thin watches with a major complication: its 1.95-mm-thick movement makes this flying tourbillon simply the slimmest on the market – no others even come close – and the thinnest ever made.
Watchmaking history is full of ultra-thin watches, which reflect formal elegance. This can present complex challenges when the watch contains a complication such as a tourbillon. As a member of the iconic Octo family, Octo Finissimo Tourbillon embodies the expression of Italian genius and the best of Swiss watchmaking expertise, yielding a bundle of inventive solutions.
This house movement is thinner than a Swiss five-franc coin, and right from the start, its design had to incorporate several solutions to reduce the overall thickness. The starting point was the tourbillon cage, a decisive factor in the construction process. It is 1.95 mm thick, a fact that shaped the rest of the structure. Once incorporated into the plate, the cage determined the thickness of the entire movement. The overall architecture also includes two bridges, one for the minute wheel and the other for the gear train of the tourbillon cage, which rotates once a minute.
In seeking to make the thinnest possible movement, various solutions were devised. The first was the use of ball bearings for the moving parts: seven ball bearings are positioned on the basic movement, while the tourbillon cage has a cartridge bearing that allows it to pivot. The final ball bearing lets the escape wheel pivot. Next, the regulator assembly was eliminated, since timing is now adjusted on the balance wheel directly, which also helped make the movement even thinner. The barrel is kept in position and guided by three ball bearings on its periphery. This solution allowed the height of its spring to be doubled, yielding a significant power reserve approaching 55 hours.
When all is said and done, everything about the Finissimo Tourbillon calibre speaks of mechanical innovation. It has 249 components and its finishes are completely in keeping with its exceptional nature, down to the last detail: the plate and bridges are bevelled and decorated with Côtes de Genève, the gears are bevelled and circular satin-brushed, screw heads and slots are bevelled and the ends are polished. The calibre, which displays the hours and minutes on a black dial, is lacquered and polished with great simplicity, and fits within a platinum case 40 mm in diameter, which extends into a black alligator strap with a platinum buckle. Without exaggerating the achievement, the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon represents a big step forward in the ongoing quest for thin watch complications.