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Bulgari - Test Bench

Bulgari Test Bench

Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Ultranero

Over the past few years, Bulgari’s watchmaking division has built a very solid, and often formidable reputation. The successful marriage of Italian style and elegance with the horological heritage that we know is doubtless one of the most remarkable successes in the watchmaking history of the last decade, and was rewarded by the “Aigiulle d’Or” Grand Prix at the GPHG 2021. While the Octo Finissimo tourbillon has been in the brand’s catalog for several years, its success has made it a benchmark in the Italian jeweler’s collections. We were therefore eager to test this reference for you and to see if the results of this test bench confirmed our excellent first impression as well as the reputation and success of this model. This has now been done with a very interesting version in titanium DLC, Reference 103678.

Test Bench

Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Ultranero © Bulgari

Exterior

Volumes have already been wrriten about the design and inspiration of the collection. We will therefore stick to a more technical and pragmatic observation of the exterior.

The Octo Finissimo case has very quickly become the flagship of the brand, which works very specifically to offer ultra-thin extremely complicated movements. The octagonal shape of the case is reminiscent of a 40mm square. It is a well-known fact that a special-shaped watch looks much larger than a round watch of the same size, because the surface area is greater. By reducing the thickness of the cases (and therefore the movements) to the absolute minimum, Bulgari’s designers have achieved the ideal balance defining both perfect ergonomics and elegance. The lightness of the black DLC-treated titanium featured on our version further accentuates this feeling while providing an absolutely rigid setting for the movement. The black-lacquered dial of our test model harmoniously matches the case whose different layers are cut into a succession of polished and satin-finished surfaces. The crocodile leather strap fits seamlessly into the case and the choice of a pin buckle is to be commended for this ultra-thin watch.

Test Bench

Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Ultranero © Caitlyn Fish

Movement

Reducing the dimensions (in this instance the thickness) of a movement means exposing oneself to problems of reliability and chronometry. Even before making any measurements, a simple observation of the movement allows us to grasp that the engineers in charge of this caliber have done everything possible to provide an effective solution to this problem.

Featuring a diameter of 14.5 lignes (32.6mm), Caliber BVL 268 is only 1.95mm thick. There is no need here for an excessive power reserve that would significantly reduce the volume of the movement. This caliber’s 52 hours of autonomy are thus rather generous for such a thin mechanism. The tourbillon rotates in one minute, which makes it possible to indicate the seconds while saving the energy and volume that a third hand would require. The most remarkable aspect here is undoubtedly the type of construction chosen. The engineers have used a maximum of micro-ball bearings to replace the traditional pivoted bearings of the gear train. Just as on a flying tourbillon, each wheel and pinion is rotated while held by only one end of its arbor, thus achieving a substantial saving in thickness. Nonetheless, theory is one thing and practice entirely another, especially when it comes to watchmaking. Many constructions of this type are known to yield more or less convincing results. So what about the performance of Caliber BVL 268?

Test Bench

Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Ultranero © Caitlyn Fish

Tests

The fundamental criterion of an ultra-thin watch lies in its ergonomic appeal – which in the case of the Octo Tourbillon is perfect, as its 40mm size will fit every wrist and represents a surface in tune with modern trends: not too big nor too small. It ensures absolute comfort when it comes to both wear and handling. Manual winding is smooth and easy despite a small-diameter crown and the mainspring is protected by a slipping spring from any risk of excess winding.

The balance oscillates at 21,600 vph. Its beats are powerful and inspire a sense of precision and reliability. This frequency is the guarantee of the 52-hour power reserve that was consistently exceeded during our measurements.

Nonetheless, the primary (and sometimes forgotten) goal of a watch – especially one fitted with a tourbillon regulator – is its accuracy. For such a slim movement, the precision of BVL Caliber 268 is simply amazing. The table of measurements impresses by the low loss of amplitude in vertical positions as well as over lengthy periods. Meanwhile, the narrow variations in rating measurements (indeed right at the center of the target range) are simply amazing, not only for an ultra-thin watch, but also in terms of absolute precision timekeeping across all categories!

Not since Jean Lassale’s ultra-thin (non-tourbillon) calibers built according to the same principle in the 1970s has anyone done better. The advancement of technology, the precision of modern micro-bearings but above all the work of Bulgari’s engineers and the use of a tourbillon make this Octo certainly one of the most precise and reliable ultra-thin watches to date. It was therefore high time that we analyzed this watch and it is obvious that the Octo tourbillon is a benchmark not only for the brand’s collections but also for the entire watchmaking scene.

The Tourbillon Octo in its DLC-treated titanium version is a perfect blend of style and technicality, ergonomics and chronometry, presenting only one flaw: its weight, which is so low that one sometimes forgets that it is actually on the wrist!

As a World Tempus reader, we are delighted to offer you the latest digital version of this GMT magazine that you can download here. Happy reading!

Gaiety, Strenght and Confidence

© GMT Magazine

 

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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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