Take an Italian Jeweler, Swiss manufacturing, a light peppering of Gerald Genta design influence, and a touch of Japanese inspiration, and what do you get? The answer is the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tadao Ando Limited Edition 103245. It is a timepiece that intrigues all those who gaze upon it, but watch out (pun intended) as you might get hypnotized by this distinctive yet surprisingly minimalistic dial.
Though some believe that Gerald Genta designed the Octo for Bvlgari, that’s very much not the case. While Gerald Genta’s work inspires the overall design, Bvlgari bought Gerald Genta’s brand in 2000 and incorporated Genta’s influence into their own creations. The octagon was part of Gerald Genta’s designs for many years, dating back to his design of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Bvlgari took this groundwork and formed the Octo collection in the early 2000s. The Octo line was further developed in 2014 with its first Octo Finissimo Hand Wound model. Then in 2016, the brand released its second edition in this collection, the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater, a technical marvel as the world’s thinnest minute repeater. Now we come to the Octo Finissimo Automatic, which debuted in 2017. This watch release was when the collection truly came into its own, and it even won a GPHP Award for best men’s watch of 2017. This Tadao Ando Limited edition version was released as an exclusive Japanese market release in 2019, produced in a series of only 200 pieces. Since then, the collection has further developed to other complications, including global availability.
There are so many facets, angles, and curves that cohesively collide in this watch. The true beauty of this watch’s design is its ability to be super slim but not feel or look delicate. The sandblasted titanium finish lies in stark contrast to the typical high polish of most ultra-thin dress watches, and it gives the watch a more rugged look. This watch also wears almost like a second skin, thanks to the use of short bracelet links, as well as how the folding buckle tucks into recesses in the bracelet, making it feel extremely comfortable.
The collaboration with Tadao Ando and this timepiece is a perfect fit. Tadao’s architecture heavily involves concrete, and the color and finishing of this piece are very much in line with his design. Tadao (who is known for his minimalism) thought that this watch was overall perfect, so he didn’t want to do very much to change the feel of this timepiece. The concentric circle pattern was inspired by the idea of a black hole, and one can feel sucked into the mesmerizing dial. There are no numerals of any type, and even the hands are skeletonized to show off the design of the dial.
The movement showcases Bvlgari’s dedication to authentic high-end watchmaking. The record-breaking automatic movement is just 2.23mm in thickness, and took the mantle away from the 2121 caliber used in another of Gerald Genta’s designs—the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. The movement’s impressiveness doesn’t stop there; the fact that this piece has a 60hour power reserve is mind-blowing. The automatic winding is achieved with a platinum micro-rotor, which was one of a few elements required to achieve its slender profile. The all in-house manufactured movement has crisp decorations as well. The large bridges of the movement have Côtes de Gèneve striping, perlage on the main plate, and you’ll notice a thin beleveling on all edges. There are 36 jewels hidden throughout this caliber that beats away at 21,600 vph. This movement is truly made to match the incredible design of the timepiece itself.
Versus The Competition
Because of its heritage, one could easily compare this piece to the likes of Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak or Patek’s Nautilus. Still, those prices start to get staggeringly above the Bvlgari on the secondary market. Something more comparable would be the Vacheron Constantin Quai de Lile Automatic ref 4500S/000A-B196. These pieces share a similar look, with the case lines blending straight lines with circles and curvatures. The overall case is more of a squared cushion shape, but the design has steps and levels much like the Octo Finissimo. This Vacheron is in steel, but the Quai de Lile was also made in titanium and gold, again, same as the Octo Finissimo. The movement of the Quai de Lile is of the highest finishing as well, bearing the Geneva Seal, which is only given to movements of the highest standards. Though its movement didn’t break records, it’s a fair argument that its finishing is better than that of the Octo.
The collector base of the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo is extensive. Though it has been an overall short running line, it has quickly garnered respect from most collectors out there. It may not have the same history, and maybe the brand doesn’t yet carry the same watchmaking pedigree as say Audemars Piguet; however, neither did the Royal Oak when it first launched. The collector who buys this piece sees the value of its design over its history. This one is limited and attached with a famous architect could serve as an art piece in itself. There are a lot of collectors these days that really gravitate towards collaborative art projects, and this piece fits the bill perfectly.
This piece will be a collector’s dream for years to come. The value is not far off its retail, but it might still be early as this is a model that could readily appreciate quickly. It has the design, rarity, and uniqueness that collectors seek out. The Octo Finissimo Automatic has been a huge hit for Bvlgari, and this one with its collaboration with Tadao Ando makes it even more special.