Few watches can claim to be a modern icon. A strong, unique design and technical achievement are just a few of the many factors that contribute to a watch attaining iconic status. The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo is undoubtedly a modern classic and an icon of the watch industry. An effortless intersection of jewelry and horology, the Octo Finissimo set world records while forging a unique and distinct identity within the watch industry. It is rare in the modern age to find a brand that brings something truly unique and groundbreaking to the watch space. Paying homage to the original Octo Finissimo, the 10th Anniversary Octo Finissimo “sketch dial” limited edition in titanium offers all the quintessential elements of the Octo Finissimo design, with its own idiosyncrasies and attributes.
Originally introduced by Bvlgari in 2014, the Octo Finissimo was inspired by the ruins at the Basilica of Maxentius in Rome. The case geometry is based on the coffered, arched elements of the ruins. The Octo Finissimo line was later expanded to include chronographs, manually wound and automatic versions, tourbillons, GMTs, skeleton dials, and more. Octo Finissimo models have been made in all manner of materials as well, including steel, titanium, ceramic, and rose gold. The chronograph GMT and Octo Finissimo automatic models were record holders for the thinnest wrist watches of their respective categories upon their release. 2022 marked the 10 year anniversary of the design of the Octo Finissimo. In tribute to this milestone, Bvlgari has released the unique limited edition version of the Octo Finissimo featuring a sketch dial that we are discussing today. This release is limited to a mere 200 pieces.
The Octo Finissimo began with the rough sketch of visionary Fabrizio Buonamassa. With Bvlgari’s complete in-house, vertically integrated production process, they were able to execute the design without compromising any of the elements. The original priority of Buonamassa was to create a watch that from the dial side appeared strong and bold, but was actually thin and delicate. The unique dial layout and geometric case that he drafted have become universally recognizable features of Bvlgari design language.
This year, Bvlgari decided to play tribute to the original sketches of Buonamassa by replacing the typical dial on the Octo Finissimo with the hand drawn sketch aesthetic that was the fundamental framework for the line’s original design. The original design hallmarks are otherwise all still there; the geometric bezel, squared off case, angular lugs, and seamless integration of the bracelet into the case are all the exact same as with the traditional Octo Finissimo. Durable and lightweight, the case and bracelet are made from sandblasted titanium — a material perfectly matched to the rest of the watch, with all elements evoking a modern, forward-thinking design architecture.
The dial features a matte gray sandblasted finish that contrasts subtly with the gray/black sketch hour markers and subsidiary seconds sub dial. Not everyone will necessarily be fond of the legibility that comes with a monochromatic look like this, but the contrasting finishes keep things relatively functional. The bracelet features a butterfly clasp for seamless, uninterrupted links, and Bvlgari actually cut a small notch into the links to help tuck the clasp away. Given the slender profile of its case, having a bulky clasp simply wouldn’t fly here. Ultimately, it’s the striking design of the Octo Finissimo that has led to its popularity. Coupled with ultra-thin, record breaking movements, the Octo Finissimo satisfies the desire for both a strong design language and a mechanically sophisticated timepiece.
The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo is the rare combination of an avant-garde design, and an exceptional movement. A thin watch movement is an impressive feat on its own, but Bvlgari’s caliber BVL138 is also well finished and impressively advanced at a mere 2.23mm thick. The caliber BVL138 features a microrotor winding system. Commonly used on ultra thin references, the microrotor effectively decreases the footprint of the winding rotor and keyless works. This allows the rest of the movement to be compressed into a smaller space while retaining serviceability and robustness.
The microrotor is made of platinum in order to increase the mass of the smaller rotor. The movement boasts a power reserve of about 60 hours. Obtaining a higher power reserve on an ultra thin movement is a challenge, as the mainspring needs to be longer and narrower than a conventional movement would allow. The fact that the Octo Finissimo is able to obtain a longer power reserve with an ultra thin movement than most watch companies can guarantee on a watch with no thickness limitations speaks to the incredible horological acumen of Bvlgari.
The BVL138 caliber beats at a frequency of 21,000 Vph (3hz) and has 37 jewels. The movement is visible through a sapphire case back and closely resembles the layout of a classic pocket watch, with only the escapement and micro rotor visible and the rest of the movement obscured by a semi three quarter plate featuring minor beveling, and Côtes de Genève finishing on its plates. The movement finishing is simple and executed by machine, albeit fitting to the more technical nature of the watch.
Versus the Competition
Although they have existed since the ‘70s, integrated bracelet sports watches have been having a bit of a moment in the watch industry lately. While the Octo Finissimo Sketch dial incredibly represents Bvlgari’s take on this watch style, there are two other significant players that should be mentioned. Gerald Genta created the plans for the two most famous integrated bracelet designs of the previous century. His designs became the foundation of the AP Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus families. Each one of these watches has an entirely different personality and presentation and the three watches all wear differently. The Octo Finissimo sketch dial is the thinnest watch by a significant margin, and it also presents as being more contemporary than its classic counterparts. The Royal Oak shares the stark, geometric case with the Octo Finissimo, while the Patek brings the incredible level of movement finishing that is standard on a Patek Philippe timepiece.
If you appreciate the sketch dial and limited production of the Octo Finissimo but are looking for a different complication, Bvlgari also made another 10th anniversary edition with the Octo Finissimo Sketch Dial Chronograph Limited Edition. The three subsidiary dials of the chronograph function bring excellent symmetry to the dial. Additionally the mainspring is wound via a peripheral rotor providing an unobscured view of the impressive movement. Each watch has its own identity and unique aesthetic and an understanding of the history and heritage of each reference will help differentiate between timepieces.
The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Limited Edition Sketch dial is an incredible combination of unique elements. Modern and sleek, with geometric lines and striking polished edges, the Octo Finissimo Sketch dial seamlessly integrates high end watch making within high end jewelry design. These attributes make the Octo Finissimo a compelling choice for the collector that appreciates jewelry and design but does not want to compromise the mechanical intrigue of high end watches. For fans of the Octo Finissimo, the sketch dial limited edition will serve as the ultimate homage to the watch’s brilliant designer, honoring the heritage of the Octo Finissimo while contributing to the design of the piece. The extra layer of history and origin embedded in this reference will appeal to the watch enthusiast who is captivated by a timepiece that is just a bit more sophisticated than a standard production model. The sketch dial and limited edition of this Octo Finissimo all contribute to a unique aura of refinement and exclusivity that can only be matched by other limited edition watches.
This Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Sketch Dial Limited Edition provides a unique opportunity to own an incredible watch. Only 200 of these watches will be made, causing further interest and desirability. Few watches better honor not only high end watchmaking, but also the design process in general. The sketch dial variant serves as the marriage of a unique watch with a unique reference. For fans of the Octo Finissimo, this limited edition release will be a grail and with so few made, it is not often that an opportunity will arise to actually acquire one. From the very first sketch from Buonamassa, it was evident that the Octo Finissimo would attain iconic status. Now, the very sketch that established this legacy has been granted its own time in the limelight with the striking Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Sketch Dial Limited Edition of 200 pieces.