Today marks the beginning of LVMH Watch Week, the official launch point of new watches from brands in the LVMH stable, such as Zenith, Hublot, and TAG Heuer. We already brought you news of Zenith’s big release in 2021, the all new Chronomaster Sport, which bears a striking resemblance to another well known chronograph of some renown. In addition to the announcement of some new high jewelry designs from Bulgari and a new assortment of Hublot watches that are not exactly subtle, we also have a new entry in Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo lineup that we think is worth a closer examination. While not in what we would traditionally call the “affordable” category by any stretch of the imagination, there is some strong relative value here when compared with other watches in rarefied air of big time integrated bracelet sports watches. There’s also some serious watchmaking happening here that should be of interest to anyone in the hobby, regardless of the price point we happen to shop at. Let’s take a closer look at the new Octo Finissimo S with Silvered Dial.
There are a couple of reasons that we wanted to highlight this watch. First, the “S” in the new watch’s model name indicates that this Octo is made with their newer, sportier, and more water resistant case. The earliest versions of the Octo Finissimo had a somewhat meager water resistance rating of just 30 meters, but the “S” versions, which debuted last year in satin polished steel variants with black and blue dials, upped the water resistance to 100 meters and added a screw down crown. The case thickness went up, but only marginally. This is still an extremely thin sports watch by any measure, coming in at just 6.4mm in height. While the angular case design and integrated platform always made the Octo feel like a member of the same club that the Royal Oak and Nautilus became charter members of in the 70s, the watch now has a robustness to it that backs up the “sports watch” claim in a way it hadn’t before last year.
The newest Octo has a silvered dial that we’re huge fans of. It has a vertically brushed finish that is color matched to the tone of the steel case, which retains the same satin polished finish that was introduced in last year’s references. This monochromatic look has been something of a signature in the Octo line all along, so the new dial variant with a subtle texture is a welcome addition to the more capable and expanding “S” lineup.
In many ways what makes the Octo Finissimo possible at all is the movement that beats inside. Made in-house by Bulgari, the BVL138 Finissimo caliber measures just 2.23mm thick, and uses a micro-rotor to generate up to 60 hours of power reserve. As stylish and aesthetically daring as the Octo watches can be, it’s important to remember that without an ultrathin movement, the unique profile and wearing experience of the watch would be impossible, and Bulgari’s investment in movement design has led to innovations at the highest of high end haute horlogerie with record breaking applications of serious complications in extremely thin watches.
The retail price for the new Octo Finissimo S with Silvered Dial is $12,000. That’s a big ask, no doubt, but it’s worth reflecting on the current prices of other integrated bracelet sports watches that are currently prized by watch collectors. As we reported in this week’s Watches, Stories, & Gear, Patek Philippe’s Nautilus ref. 5711a has been officially discontinued, which is likely to cause a spike in already inflated prices on this particular $30,000 allocation piece. It’s a similar story with many Royal Oak references – extremely long wait lists await you even if you’ve got the cash to purchase one at retail. And while not directly comparable in terms of horology or style, we’re all well aware of the current insanity of the Rolex sports watch market, where many models start in the same realm as the asking price for the Octo, if you can find one at an authorized dealer. In that context, the Octo Finissimo’s distinctive look and genuinely innovative movement design offer something quite compelling in the low five figure territory, and if you’re patient and willing to shop around, previous iterations of the Octo can be found on the secondhand market for even less.
The new Octo Finissimo S with Silvered Dial will be available in May through Bulgari’s authorized dealer network. Bulgari