Photos by Ariel Adams

Although the Bulgari Octo Finissimo is now regarded as the brand’s single most famous wristwatch, it has only existed since 2014, which makes it a fairly young design within the greater context of the watch industry. Over the past 10 years, Bulgari has produced numerous different versions of the Octo Finissimo, and some iterations of the model have been truly unique and unconventional. However, since the Octo Finissimo doesn’t have a multi-decade history like other famous luxury watches, certain somewhat obvious configurations that feel like they should already exist are now just starting to join the brand’s catalog.

Among Bulgari’s novelties unveiled this year at LVMH Watch Week 2024 were two new versions of the time-only Octo Finissimo Automatic (which itself has only been around since 2017), and these latest additions to the collection consist of a stainless steel model with a metallic salmon dial (ref. 103856), plus a yellow gold version that is fitted with a blue dial (ref. 103812). Realistically speaking, both of these colorways are fairly common throughout the greater watch industry, and they can be found in a variety of different expressions within numerous different brands’ catalogs. However, neither one of these fan-favorite configurations has previously existed within the distinctly modern Bulgari Octo Finissimo lineup, and despite being rather conventional and obvious options, these two new models actually represent some of the more vibrant and colorful versions of the Octo Finissimo that are currently available.

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In terms of their overall design and construction, both of these new Bulgari Octo Finissimo watches follow in the footsteps of their time-only siblings, which means that their angular cases measure 40mm in diameter by a rather svelte 6.4mm thick, with flat sapphire crystals fitted to either side of the watch, and 100 meters of water resistance to offer ample protection against daily moisture contact. Similarly, both of these new Bulgari Octo Finissimo watches are powered by the same BVL 138 automatic movement, which runs at a frequency of 21,600vph (3 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 60 hours, and it winds itself with a micro-rotor that is crafted from 950 platinum. Additionally, both models are paired with the Octo Finissimo’s signature bracelet in either stainless steel or 18k yellow gold to match their cases, and they are completed by elegant butterfly-style folding clasps that offer an extra thin design to complement the similarly flat profile of both the case and bracelet of the watch.

The new stainless steel Bulgari Octo Finissimo ref. 103856 is fitted with a dial that the brand describes as “Sun-Brushed Metallic Salmon” on its official website, although this watch looks quite a bit like last year’s Octo Finissimo Tuscan Copper, which was created as a 50-piece limited edition specifically for the North American Market. While the words “Tuscan Copper” don’t appear anywhere on the product page for this latest stainless steel Bulgari Octo Finissimo, the two colors do look incredibly similar, and since I haven’t seen both watches side-by-side together in identical lighting, I’m not sure what the actual difference is (if any) between these two colors. On one hand, “Metallic Salmon” and “Tuscan Copper” are two very different things when not specifically discussing colors, so there may be some meaningful difference between these two dials, although I could also easily see Bulgari deciding to create a standard-catalog version of this concept following the success of the original limited-edition model.

Outside of watch enthusiast circles, salmon dials are arguably a bit of an acquired taste. On the other hand, a yellow gold watch with a blue dial is a classic time-honored aesthetic, and it almost seems strange that this configuration didn’t already exist within the current Bulgari Octo Finissimo lineup. However, blue dials were previously only available for the stainless steel Octo Finissimo watches, and the only other yellow gold Octo Finissimo is a 50-piece limited edition that was exclusively for the United States and paired with a brown sunray dial. The blue lacquered surface of the dial fitted to the new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic ref. 103812 features sunray finishing with yellow gold hands and hour markers to match its case, and while the overall impact of a full 18k yellow gold watch on a matching gold bracelet is undeniably flat-out luxurious, the fact that it has a bright metallic blue dial gives this version of the Octo Finissimo a slightly more relaxed appearance compared to its limited-edition brown dial sibling.

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The complex angular lines of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo are always impressive when experienced in the metal, and this is especially true when the entirety of its external components are crafted from solid 18k yellow gold with finely brushed and polished surfaces. Gold itself has an incredibly long history with watchmaking, although I typically tend to associate the Octo Finissimo with more modern case materials such as titanium or ceramic, and a full yellow gold Octo Finissimo offers an element of old-world luxury in what is otherwise a definitively modern collection. While a yellow-gold watch with a blue dial may be a fairly conventional concept, the vast majority of Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo lineup is largely dominated by various different hues of gray and black, and this ultimately makes the new blue and gold Octo Finissimo one of the most visually distinct configurations within the current-production series.

When it comes to pricing and availability, the stainless steel Bulgari Octo Finissimo ref. 103856 with its “Sun-Brushed Metallic Salmon” dial is accompanied by an official retail price of $13,500 USD, and this represents a somewhat arbitrary premium of a couple hundred dollars compared to the other stainless steel Octo Finissimo Automatic models. Additionally, unlike the visually similar “Tuscan Copper” model that was created as a 50-piece limited edition, the new “Sun-Brushed Metallic Salmon” version will be joining the catalog as a standard-production offering. Meanwhile, the recently announced 18k yellow gold Octo Finissimo ref. 103812 with a blue dial costs the exact same as its limited-edition brown dial sibling, and both watches have an official retail price of $45,500 USD. All things considered, these two new configurations may not be all that unconventional or original (especially compared to other versions of the Octo Finissimo), although they consistently rank among some of the most popular within the industry, and I imagine that they will also be quite successful for Bulgari. For more information on the Bulgari Octo Finissimo collection, please visit the brand’s website.

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