2017 GPHG Petit Aiguille Category Finalist
Distinctive, sleek and slender, the Octo Roma by Bulgari is a faithful evolution of a design classic, inspired by ancient Roman architecture, yet modern, cool and accessible.
Although Bulgari have been making watches since the 1940s, and more seriously since the 80s, its fashion house associations, whether fairly or unfairly, classed them more as the ultimate designer watch brand, rather than a bone fide watchmaking company, however a lot has changed in terms of that perception in recent years. Employing more than 500 people, its Haute Horlogerie division is most certainly a force to be reckoned with, and where once Bulgari might have competed in the jewellery category only, today it's just as likely to be found mixing it with the heavyweights of watchmaking.
With refined, softened angles on its octagonal shape, and a slim profile on the wrist, the new Octo is a reserved and stylish dress watch, and in a 41mm case of stainless steel with brushed and polished surfaces is a good looking piece indeed, The dials are clear, classy and uncluttered and feature the four basics of hours, minutes, seconds and date with superb legibility.
Inside beats an in house 'manufacture' self winding movement, designed and created by the company's Haute Horlogerie atelier and there's a sapphire caseback which reveals its Côtes de Genève ribbing, and the ball bearing race on which the rotor revolves.
Among the six preselected finalists in the GPHG 2017 Petit Aiguille category I would rate its chances as fair. Almost unlike any other, it's sub-CHF 8'000 criteria mean that it's a category where victory can catapult sales and so it is hotly contested, and I think that Seiko, Tudor and Habring² possibly stand out by a shade over the others.
The Watch Press prediction
No. Although it boasts a manufacture movement, and has a classic form by possibly the greatest designer in contemporary watchmaking, I don't see it being enough to lift the award.
CASE: Stainless steel
BUCKLE: Pin buckle
MOVEMENT: Hand winding mechanical. Power reserve: 42 h, 28'800 vph
FUNCTIONS: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date
SIZE: ø 41 mm
THICKNESS: 9.25 mm
WATERPROOFNESS: 30 m
PRICE EXCL.VAT: Est. c. CHF 5'600