Geneva Watch Days takes place in the Swiss cultural capital from Monday, August 29, to Thursday, September 1, 2022, so stay tuned to HODINKEE in the days ahead for detailed coverage of all the top releases, from brands such as Bulgari, MB&F, Oris, Urwerk, and many more.
What We Know
Bulgari, a brand known for words like “thinnest” and “world record,” is bringing the word “new” to the table today by way of the Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days. It’s the sort of release that does all the heavy lifting right there in the name. It tees up effectively everything about the piece, enabling this watch writer to leave it at that and move on to other things (maybe I’ll pick up a new language or learn the accordion).
[Update: I just received word from my editors that I still need to write this story with some modicum of detail despite the stellar naming convention.]
In that spirit, let’s get into it. This new watch takes everything we know about the Octo Finissimo line, including past iterations with skeletonized dials, and refines it. The Skeleton 8 Days is cased in 40mm of satin polished rose gold (and is just 5.95mm thick). That case features a matching rose gold crown with a black ceramic insert.
The dial is – as the name indicates – skeletonized (well, open-worked to be more precise) with an interesting gauge-like power reserve indicator that contours to the small seconds dial at the lower left-most portion of the dial.
The movement really differentiates this release from prior iterations. Inside (and visible through the dial or caseback because … skeleton) is a new manufacture movement, the hand-wound Caliber BVL 199 SK with anthracite PVD skeletonized bridges. The movement itself measures a mere 2.50mm in thickness and beats at 21,600 VPH and racking in a mammoth 192 hours of power reserve. The watch comes fitted to a brown alligator leather strap and is priced at $37,300.
What We Think
I personally think it’s nice to see Bulgari operating in a space that isn’t maniacally focused on record-thinness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as excited as anyone to see the developments in thin watchmaking to the point that a watch can rival the height of a translucent potato chip. But there are myriad ways to contribute to innovation in the watch world. One way is the former: Going after records and breaking them, and when someone else (ahem, RM) breaks yours, you go back to the drawing board and ready your response. The other way is to improve things at home, independent of the idea of competition.
That’s what the new Skeleton 8 Days feels like to me. It’s Bulgari realizing the importance of the Octo as a model range and looking to further its technical bona fides in-house and then executing with a new manufacture caliber. In so doing, the brand has created a precious metal centerpiece for its Geneva Watch Days novelties which, by the way, at 5.95mm tall, is no thick watch.
Now, this isn’t the first time Bugari has operated in the macabre space of skeletonization with the Octo Finissimo. And you might think there’s only one way to skeleton, and you’d be wrong (and if you didn’t think that, I am sorry for putting thoughts in your brain). This new watch continues the brand’s use of small seconds subdials and a power reserve indicator – I mean, how can you not have a PR indicator when your reserve is measured in days, not hours?
What I really like is the decision to lean into a decided automotive theme with the design flourishes on the dial. From the Eight Days text that looks like it was printed in an auto factory in Detroit circa 1957, to the power-reserve gauge motif, it feels like a choice. And deliberate choices are good in my book. There’s no hand that moves to indicate the depleting (or full) reserve, but rather a very tidy, and curvy display that manages to blend seamlessly into the overall look of the watch. This watch doesn’t need another hand.
Of course, that indicator is there to keep the user updated on the workings of this new movement: the BVL 199 SK – newly conceived by the watchmakers at Bulgari. This is the sort of thing I cannot wait to eventually see up close, under a loupe. Otherwise, we’re looking at a (modern) classic Octo Finissimo design with an octagonal case and round bezel. I think it was a smart move to release this particular piece in rose gold. It makes it feel special … because it is.
Model: Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days
Reference Number: 103667
Case Material: Rose gold
Dial Color: open-worked
Water Resistance: 30m
Strap/Bracelet: Brown leather strap
Caliber: Caliber BVL 199 SK
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve
Power Reserve: 192 hours
Frequency: 21,600 VPH
Pricing & Availability
Limited Edition: No
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