The power of Italian style is the strapline of Bvlgari’s Octo range of watches for men. And anyone who has slipped an Octo on to their wrist will agree that these watches emit an aura of power that any self-respecting Roman Emperor would have been proud to wield.
Bvlgari’s Octo watch arrived on the scene with a bang in 2012 thanks to its unusual silhouette of a circle within a square. The octagonal shape was inspired by the vaulting of the ceiling in the Basilica of Maxentius in the Roman Forum, but that is only half of the story. The genius of this design is how the rigorous symmetry of Roman aesthetics has been transformed into a contemporary icon. Lightening the load of its historical legacy, the eight corners of the case have been shorn off and every line reduced to a minimum. As Fabrizio Buonamassa, Artistic Director at Bvlgari, sketched and modelled away, a taut and refined form with 110 facets emerged. Every angle, corner and plane of its architecture has been meticulously honed to near-sculptural perfection.
But the story of the Octo is not just one of handsome profiles and elegant angles. This watch has great bone structure and the brains to match. The Octo has broken world records for the thinnest manual-winding tourbillon, minute repeater, automatic movement and automatic tourbillon. This year alone, two of the Octo models were finalists in the GPHG, the Oscars of the watchmaking world, as well as picking up 35 different awards around the world for both design and horological mastery.
Thanks to Bvlgari’s very own manufacturing centre in Switzerland, it is able to combine its Italian design bravado with horological excellence. And when the Octo becomes finissimo – or ultra-thin – it manages to maintain a commanding presence, despite its reduced substance. Having collected numerous prestigious horological prizes and design accolades galore, this year Bvlgari turns its attention to materials. Like the Romans who chose pure and enduring marble for their monuments, Bvlgari has sought out distinguished materials for its watches, including lightweight titanium.