Italian watch and fashion brand Bulgari has collaborated with Italian car maker Maserati on special edition watches since 2012. The latest fruits of that collaboration were released at the Frankfurt motor show, and they are a pair of Bulgari Octo Maserati Mono-Retro watches that despite being individually named are essentially different material versions of an Octo with a dial design based on a Maserati car's rev counter. The GranSport is the one in black DLC coated steel, and the GranLusso is 18k pink gold. Aimed at Maserati owners, they are naturally going to be "exclusive" in price and availability.
The Bulgari Octo has more or less become the brand's flagship collection and also the platform for the Maserati editions. Only earlier this year we took a hands-on look at the Bulgari Octo Maserati Chronograph watch here, but the new Bulgari Octo Maserati Mono-Retro watches share more in common with the initial collaboration watch, the Bulgari Octo Maserati (hands-on from 2012) because that watch was all about retrograde indicators. The Bulgari Octo Maserati Mono-Retro watches are simpler, though, with only retrograde minutes to the left of the dial and a digital jumping hour display via a disc and window above the Maserati trident logo.
The Bulgari Octo Maserati Mono-Retro watches are 41mm wide and 100m water-resistant. They are powered by the in-house BVL 262 automatic movement which operates at 4Hz with 42 hours of power reserve and is decorated with Geneva stripes, polished bevels, and snailing. It is visible through what appears to be a tinted sapphire crystal display caseback, and the view is partly obscured by the Maserati logo. While the base movement is the BVL 191 found in a number of other Bulgari watches, the jumping hours and retrograde hand would have required significant modification.
Bulgari has played around a bit with retrograde complications for an avant-garde look and technically more interesting package. They have done a good job of creating a very distinctive design language and offering something unlike almost anything else out there from mainstream brands. The Bulgari Octo Maserati Mono-Retro watches have a bit of Gerald Genta (Octo case, of course) and a bit of Daniel Roth, as the jumping hour and retrograde hand is reminiscent of the Papillon watches (hands-on here with the Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central watch).
While the Bulgari Octo Maserati Mono-Retro watches are not as haute horology as some other watches done with Maserati, expensive and exclusive is to be expected. Both are available only in Bulgari boutiques. The Bulgari Octo Maserati Mono-Retro GranSport (ref. 102717) in black DLC steel has a USD price of $12,800 and will only be available to the first 30 buyers of the Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabrio cars. The Bulgari Octo Maserati Mono-Retro GranLusso in gold (ref. 102906) is $30,700. bulgari.com