The Bulgari Octo Finissimo is one of my favorite contemporary watches. I love it in titanium, steel, gold, and with dials in tones that match the bracelet, contrast with it, and work as little art pieces unto themselves. I love the simple time only versions, and the record breaking complicated pieces that Bulgari makes to flex on the rest of the watch industry on an annual basis. The Octo is one of very few modern integrated bracelet sports watches that has an identity all its own, and doesn’t feel like bits and pieces have been borrowed from various Royal Oaks and Nautili (the H. Moser Streamliner is another). And one of the things I love most about the Octo is that it works so well as a blank canvas. When collaborators, like Italian retailer Pisa Orologeria in this particular instance, get a crack creating an LE, we see that the watch is capable of making a dramatic impact in unexpected ways with only small design tweaks. Is that the true mark of a modern classic?
I suppose that’s a question that will be answered in time, but for now, let’s luxuriate in this uniquely attractive version of the Octo. We start with the standard sandblasted titanium Octo Finissimo case, the one that measures 40mm across and is just 5.15mm tall thanks to the micro-rotor movement inside. And we have the same bracelet as well, with those perfectly articulating and narrow links. The dial, though, is in bronze, and has a brushed finish that moves diagonally across it, giving the whole watch a presentation that’s just a bit off-kilter and playful. Is this a tribute to the most famous tourist attraction in the namesake retailer’s home city? I’m going to go ahead and believe that it is.
The indices are the same hollowed out baton shape that appear to be carved into the dail surface that you’d find on a standard Octo, but a small change to the running seconds register adds a ton of character: instead of hashes every five seconds, those intervals are now represented by small circles. It reminds me a little bit of dials that you see on ochs und junior watches, which is honestly a nice thing to be reminded of, in my opinion.
Bronze was chosen for the dial because the color tone matches the original signage that is often associated with Pisa Orologeria. I admit, this is a retailer I’m not familiar with. But that wouldn’t stop me from choosing this particular Octo if I were in the market for one. What would stop me, most likely, is the extremely limited nature of it. Only 15 will be made, and of course it’s sold only in Pisa Orologeria locations (they currently lack an outpost in Concord, NH). Still, it’s fun to look.
Sometimes when I see a watch like this that’s so extremely limited and sold only through a single retailer, I wonder about what kind of future it has. This Octo popped up on my Instagram and seemed to have some traction when it was announced a few weeks ago, but the run was so small and surely went so quickly to Pisa’s best clients that it will almost certainly be forgotten about just as quickly as it came. Will this watch, and others like it that follow a similar release strategy, show up at an auction one day and generate mind boggling numbers? The comparison you might reach for would be the impressive values of vintage watches with double signed dials from the likes of Tiffany, Serpico y Laino, and others. But those watches were produced decades ago, and signed in such a way out of custom. That’s very different from a watch that enters the world conscious of its own highly limited status. Again, there are a lot of watches released this way now. They’re all limited editions, but there is no limit to how many editions we might see.
For all of your Bulgari x Pisa Orologeria needs, check out the retailer’s website right here.