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The Bulgari Octo: Master Watchmakers

An interview with the team behind the watch's classic, yet forward-thinking design

by Largetail in Design on 14 February 2014

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Impressed by the stunning, geometric design of the Bulgari Octo, we've taken time to explore its inspirations and shed light on a watch that steps beyond the traditional. To bolster our knowledge of the timeless architectural structure applied to the timepiece, we spoke with some of Bulgari's watch experts for further insight. With their depth of knowledge and their deeper understanding of the watch's influence and technical workings, the artistry and functionality becomes even more spectacular—and we gain an understanding of the place the Octo inhabits among the brand's other selections.

How do you see the design of the Octo fitting into the larger collection and offerings of the brand?

The man who wears a Bulgari watch exudes a strong personality, class and charisma; he appreciates architectural design as much as he does contemporary aesthetic. The Octo epitomizes the Bulgari man. The unique case style stands out on its own, but its architectural influences echo the other bold Bulgari styles.

The watch has a substantial weight and size. What does this convey?

The solid, highly structured case construction and powerful steel bracelet convey character, power and that the Octo is of the utmost quality. The bold intersection of the circle and square shapes give rise to the octagon, a symbol of perfect geometry that has been linked to the concepts of perfection, balance and harmony since ancient times.

The Octo also bears refined finishing and many detailed accents. How do they fit into the overall message?

With all Bulgari watches, the importance of finishing is a top priority; we feel that this conveys the attention and quality that is put into all of our timepieces. Octo’s 110 separate facets are all meticulously worked by hand, with alternating polished and brushed finishes.

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On the technical front, there is a new in-house automatic movement. What motivated this?

BVL 193 is a mechanical movement with automatic winding via an unidirectional oscillating weight mounted on ball bearings (a guarantee of optimal winding) and is equipped with two barrels ensuring a 50-hour power reserve. The caliber was created thanks to Bulgari’s vertical integration efforts that began in the 1990s. Control of all aspects of the design, construction and assembling of Bulgari watches enables us to be more creative and ambitious with our watches.

It can be argued that either this watch is forward-thinking or nostalgic. Where on the spectrum do you think it falls?

A crucial part of Bulgari’s DNA looks to the past for inspiration, while creating a new product that is à propos to modern times. Our very first watch, the Bulgari Bulgari was released in 1975, and was described the same way: Simultaneously futuristic and classic. Octo breaks free of traditional conventions, and exists outside typical Haute Horlogerie, seamlessly forging the new. Yet its distinctive shape has ancient roots that recall powerful architectural constructions in ancient times.

What do you think consumers need to know about wearing this watch?

The Octo is for a bold and confident man who doesn’t adhere to trends, who is not afraid to create his one style. Octo is made for strong characters.

What do you foresee as the future of the Octo line? Can we expect collaborations like last year's Maserati watch?

There will be other interesting and very strong extensions/novelties, including a new Chronograph, as well as more complications. The Octo will continue to be our ambassador and top-selling men’s watch.

From its Automatic "Manufacture" movement to the design flourishes that lend a polished, profound energy to the piece, the Octo delivers multiple innovations not seen elsewhere in the watch world. There's gravity to the watch, a substantial element of class and character. While the line will continue to develop and expand, it presently stands as an unmistakable and welcome addition to the world of haute horlogerie.

The Bulgari Octo line, in stainless steel or pink gold, is available at Bulgari stores nationwide and online at Bulgari. Prices range from $8,600 to $60,000.

Images courtesy of Bulgari

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