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Bulgari - The award-winning Octo

Bulgari The award-winning Octo

A look at the phenomenal success of the Octo collection documented by its numerous awards.

It’s a record that many other brands can only dream of. Over the past eight years Bulgari’s Octo collection has scooped 27 prizes at awards organized around the world by the leading specialist watch media. It started back in 2010 when the Octo Bi-Retro in steel and ceramic won the watch of the year prize awarded by the Swiss watch magazine Montres Passion. But things really kicked off in 2014 with the arrival of the Octo Finissimo, which has scooped all but two of the prizes awarded to the Octo collection as a whole. 

What can we attribute this resounding success to? As the individual awards that this collection has accumulated show, the Octo has a design that has been widely recognized, regardless of the particular material used for the case or the type of movement found inside it. This year alone the Octo Finissimo Automatic has won two design awards – Germany’s Red Dot Award “Best of the Best” and the international IF Design Gold Award – and has been shortlisted for Italy’s ADI Design Index Compasso d’Oro 2020. Its unique blend of the circle and the octagon, with the numerous angles and facets on its relatively complicated case, is clearly a hit, and its ability to apply the matte look consistently, regardless of the case material, clearly makes the watch stand out. The use of metal bracelets with the same sandblasted look for each of these materials is also very rare for an ultra-thin watch.

The award-winning Octo

Octo Finissimo Tourbillon © Bulgari

But the Octo is also characterized by the rapid evolution of the collection over the past few years, which has been coupled with unparalleled levels of innovation. Three years before the Octo Finissimo Automatic arrived, Bulgari had already wowed juries with the ultra-thin Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, which is the world’s thinnest tourbillon movement at just 1.95mm. This marvel of miniature engineering won four prizes on its launch year in 2014. 

Another record fell to the Octo Finissimo in 2016 with the launch of the world’s thinnest minute repeater in the Octo line. This watch also beat the record for the Octo’s prizes in a single year, scooping no fewer than eight awards in categories ranging from complications to innovations and ultra-thin watches. 

Incremental improvements over the past few years have seen the arrival of a skeletonized version of the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon (2017), which won the Tourbillon and Escapement category at last year’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, and a self-winding version of the Octo Finissimo this year that won the above-mentioned design awards and was the thinnest automatic watch in the world. Its movement, the Bulgari BVL 138 calibre, is still arguably the thinnest in the world, since the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P that beat it this year has the movement integrated directly into the case. Aside from pushing the limits of pedantry, the debate on this is largely academic. Just months after Piaget had presented its record-breaking piece at the SIHH this year, Bulgari responded at Baselworld with yet another innovation that broke not one, but two records simultaneously.

The award-winning Octo

Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater © Bulgari

The Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic managed to maintain the record for the thinnest tourbillon watch with a movement that measures 1.95mm in thickness. This is exactly the same as the previous manually-wound version introduced in 2014 but with the added feature of automatic winding thanks to a peripheral oscillating weight. It is also the thinnest automatic watch on the market, beating the 4.3mm Piaget by what in this game of one-upmanship could only ever be a slender margin: 0.35mm! 

Needless to say that this latest innovation has also brought with it two awards so far this year as the Watch of the Year according to Chronos24 and the Public Prize at the SIAR’s Tiempo de Relojes Awards. But the year is not out and there are further prizes on the horizon. 

Awards received by the Bulgari Octo collection

2010
Octo Bi-Retro Steel Ceramic
Watch of the Year, Montres Passion, Switzerland

2014
Octo Finissimo Tourbillon
Valor Relojero, SIAR Tiempo de Relojes Award
Best Complication, Revolution, Singapore
Best Concept Watch, Watch World Awards, India
Innovation Award, GQ Times Awards, Germany 
Octo Finissimo Small Seconds
Best Watch of the Year, Tokei Begin Award, Japan
Watch of the Year, Montres Passion, Switzerland

2015
Octo Velocissimo
European Watch of the Year, 0024 Watchworld Magazine, The Netherlands
Premio del Publico, SIAR Tiempo de Relojes, Mexico

2016
Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater
Tiempo de Relojes Critics’ Choice Award, SIAR Tiempo de Relojes Award, Mexico
Revolutionary Watch 2016 Award, Revolution Magazine
Best Complicated Watch and Best Complicated Watch of Public Choice, Moscow Grand Prix Watches, Russia
Best Ultra-Thin Watch, Robb Report Russia Awards, Russia
Best Complicated Watch, Spiral Magazine Award, Hong Kong
Innovation Prize, GQ Times Awards, Germany
Innovation in Watchmaking Prize, Chronos24, Poland
New Stars Prize, Watchstars, Germany

2017
Octo Finissimo Automatic
Best Men’s Watch, Revolution Magazine
Men’s Watch, GPHG 2017
Spiral Awards, Hong Kong
Watch of the Year, Tiempo de Relojes 2017
Watch of the Year, L’Orologio, Italy
Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Skeleton
Tourbillon and Escapement category winner, GPHG, Switzerland

2018
Octo Finissimo Automatic
Best of the Best, Red Dot Award, Germany
Selection for Compasso d’Oro 2020, ADI Design Index, Italy
Gold Award, IF Design, International
Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic
Watch of the Year, Chronos24, Poland
Public Prize, SIAR Tiempo de Relojes Award, Mexico
Watch of the Year Innovation, L’Orologio, Italy
Best Breakthrough, Spiral Awards, Hong Kong
Best Breakthrough, Esquire, Hong Kong
Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater Carbon
Best Complicated Watch, Spiral Awards, Hong Kong

The brand

Bulgari has its own clear definition of excellence, which involves the perfect balance between design, added-value, quality of its products and its worldwide service. In the case of Bulgari watches, it all started with the Bulgari Bulgari watch that led to the creation of Bulgari Time in Switzerland in 1982.

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