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Bulgari Octo Finissimo 100m Stainless Steel Hands-On

Bulgari Octo Finissimo 100m Stainless Steel Hands-On General Hands-On

One hundred meters. On its own, not really a big deal, as it’s more or less the minimum expectation for any modern sports watch. But for Bulgari’s newly upgraded Octo Finissimo in stainless steel, this is uncharted territory — a categorical shift of sorts that places it among a totally new field of competition: the luxury sport crossover in steel. And if you’ve been keeping score, you already know that, though this white-hot category is hardly lacking for options, there are precious few truly high-end options that could compete directly with its three titans: the Royal Oak, the Nautilus, and the Overseas.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo 100m Stainless Steel Hands-On General Hands-On

Now with 100 meters of water resistance, the stainless steel Octo Finissimo comes equipped with a screw-down crown, but thankfully, everything else from a visual standpoint has been entirely preserved — including the case’s wispy 5.15mm thickness. At 40mm, the Finissimo is by no means a “big” watch, but due to the broad diameter and super-wide lugs, it looks quite large. However, the thinness, short lug-to-lug length, and generous bracelet taper collectively enable it to wear far more comfortably than it looks or feels like it should — an optical illusion that’s all part of the delight of wearing the Octo.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo 100m Stainless Steel Hands-On General Hands-On

Now, it’s worth bearing mention that this isn’t the first time we’ve seen an Octo Finissimo in steel – the collection got its first entry-level case material two years ago at Baselworld, but like the rest of the Finissimo watches, it came in the same all-matte finish and only 30 meters of water resistance, continuing to skate by in the “luxury sport category” on perception and aesthetics alone. To be fair, Bulgari’s entry-level Octo already had 100 meters of water resistance and could also be classified as a true sport watch, but none of those watches exhibits the incredible movements, finishing, or record-breaking thinness that characterize the Finissimo (“finest” for those looking to brush up on their Italian) collection. Ultimately, the real reason this otherwise minor detail is such a big deal is that there is a marked dearth of competition for sporty and capable watches with this degree of finishing — and the aforementioned trio that do already fit the bill remain as scarce and, consequently, difficult to obtain as ever.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo 100m Stainless Steel Hands-On General Hands-On

Introduced this week in Dubai at LVMH’s new Watch Week summit concept, the new stainless steel variant completes the Octo Finissimo’s quartet of material offerings, which already included precious metal, ceramic, and the signature titanium around which the collection was built. Each of these offerings, including the new entry-level steel option, is fitted with Bulgari’s BVL 138, which once held the record for the world’s thinnest automatic movement. That honor now goes to Piaget, but it does little to diminish how impressive it is to now have a stainless steel luxury sport watch that’s only a hair over 5mm-thick. If you’ve been following the evolution of the Finissimo line, the BVL 138 remains something of a mechanical triumph whose specs should seem somewhat familiar by now: 21,600 vph, a 60-hour power reserve, and an off-center platinum microrotor. The whole movement also gets a healthy dose of gorgeous hand-applied perlage, complemented by Geneva stripes and polished chamfers, all of which remains a treat to behold under the exhibition caseback.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo 100m Stainless Steel Hands-On General Hands-On

Bulgari Octo Finissimo 100m Stainless Steel Hands-On General Hands-On

Despite being the collection’s entry-level offering, the new stainless steel variant delivers a much more “active” wrist presence than the titanium. Not only is it markedly heavier and more assertive (not a knock against titanium — some wearers just prefer the added weight), it exhibits some really dynamic brushed and polished finishes throughout the case and bracelet that catch the light from pretty much any angle, in ways that rival even the Royal Oak wearing experience. It’s a dramatic departure from the all-matte-everything approach in the Finissimo line established by the original titanium variant, and its full ceramic follow-up from last year. The vertical brushing is particularly cool, though, as in nearly every instance (like the angled case steps just beneath the bezel), it follows the physical “path” of the surface upon which it’s applied, preserving that richly angular, architectural feel throughout.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo 100m Stainless Steel Hands-On General Hands-On

Who knows how long we’ll have to wait, but the potential for Bulgari to bring stainless steel to 2019 GPHG-winning Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT is impossible to ignore. Rendered with the same water resistance as the three-hand variant, you’d be left with what is quite possibly the perfect travel watch, and some extremely compelling competition for the Patek Philippe “Travel Time” offerings. Hopefully, we won’t have long to dream this dream.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo 100m Stainless Steel Hands-On General Hands-On

In the meantime, the Octo Finissimo isn’t just Bulgari’s bestselling men’s watch (and deservedly so), it’s also the brand’s fastest growing collection and one that’s quickly turning into a cornerstone for the brand, which has seemingly struggled for the better part of the last decade to figure out what to do with its ownership of the trademark Gerald Genta name. Well, they’ve managed to do this one without Genta, but the real challenge now will be to learn from their peers and exercise the modicum of restraint that Audemars Piguet never had with the Royal Oak, to keep the Octo collection fresh, innovative, and only slightly exclusive — because let’s be honest: none of us needs another waiting list. The price for the Bulgari Octo Finissimo in stainless steel on bracelet is $12,000 USD. You can learn more at bulgari.com.

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  • Pedro Lambareiro

    C’mon, Bulgari, adopt the GMT movement to the time-only models. Now I feel short-changed thinking about getting one of these with that old tech in it.

    • I’m right there with ya, crossing my fingers.

  • Lingua Franca

    I think here “finissimo” means “super-thin”.

    • WINKS

      Bang on!

  • WINKS

    A steal in steel!

  • RolleFc

    I love this watch, and series of watches, in oh so many ways. Intellectually.
    I wish it would speak also to my sense of beuty, to feel emotional attraction.
    But I don’t. This one more than the others in the collection, but still no. Unfortunately ?.

  • SuperStrapper

    Everything other than what you see here will add thickness. In order to add (i.e.) date function to this watch and keep the movement the same thickness would mean developing a new caliber, and that’s not going to happen. Finissimo line is likely destined to be time only.

    • Dakota Dennison

      How much thickness does their standard date module add? Also GMT? If they are around 9mm in total thickness that puts them in 5711 and 15202 range and probably allows them some other finishing options on the bracelet other than all matte. I would think that is a battle they want since PP and AP won’t deliver enough to fill the demand. That seems to me the natural evolution.

      • SuperStrapper

        Well this entire watch, case and crystal included is hardly over 5mm thick. They don’t have a standard date module for this movement and the only octo I can think of with a date complication is the solotempo (someone correct me if I’m wrong) and while those movements are fine, they certainly are not in the same class as this.

  • AlbieC

    Agree, too thin!… Thinking 7-9mm (maybe 10mm) thickness for any daily-wear bracelet watch would be aesthetically ideal.

  • haha thanks Strapper – the blue one isn’t me, that’s my buddy Alex. The green is indeed linen, and works pretty nicely here in California where I’m based 😉
    You’re very right about the Octo being the spiritual successor to Genta’s work – I think I’d just meant that they did all this without once ever mentioning his name as a fallback, to which I had to give credit.

  • They’d be crazy not to. I wouldn’t even be surprised if we see more of these line additions later in 2020.

  • Pedro Lambareiro

    Can we stop having this upside-down pictures for the LVHM coverage?Thanks in advance.

  • What he said.

    • Berndt Norten

      Correct

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    Never used to like these. In fact never really liked Bulgari’s whole design language.
    But I’ve really come to see them in a different light. I do like this, but it couldn’t be my only watch. It’s to outré for that.

  • mach2guy

    Oh,yes! But $12,000 for S/S watch-Sorry, no.

  • Yanko

    This is so feminine.

  • Joe

    I’m not 100% sold on the look but it’s certainly interesting and pulls at some strings, especially the thickness, movement and water resistance.
    I’m a fan of micro-rotor automatics in particular.

    I think sports watches should in general have some lume though…
    I don’t feel the overly-square shape would work for me.

  • al-nitak

    Despite not being my cup of tea, I have a feeling that this contrivance is going to be the Sub of the Twenties, the manly watch par excellence

  • Polerouter

    Nice watch. And although ABTW’s obsession with depth rating is laughable, this is impressive to be able to make such a thin watch with such a rating. Do we know if it is a special variety of steel, or if it received a special heat treatment, or if it is just the result of a healthy construction with tight tolerances?

    • Case material doesn’t have anything to do with water resistance, and it’s unlikely the build quality would be any different between the previous stainless steel version mentioned in the article and this one – I’d hazard a guess that the screwdown crown is what makes the biggest difference here.

      • Polerouter

        Case material has obviously a lot to do with water resistance, but, granted, more so in the case of high depth dive watches where the yield criterion has to be taken into account than in low depth thin watches. In such a flat watch, though, yield probably first occurs in the sapphires. This watch is slightly thicker than the others, though, probably because of the need of thicker saphhires, I would guess (or maybe the need of more play underneath the sapphires due to their slight bending at max depth). But as you put it, the main limiting factor was probably the crown.

  • Jason 52

    Sports watch with no lume…= no go

  • TheChuphta

    In a vacuum, I like it… I can’t shake the feeling that it’s the kind of watch that a guy who drives an automatic transmission sports car would wear.

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