Alon Ben Joseph recently offered me the opportunity to wear his brand new Bulgari Octo Finissimo for a few weeks. While he couldn't stop raving about it and ordered it straight from the Bulgari booth at BaselWorld 2017, I was sceptical at best. I thus jumped at the opportunity to experience it for myself and see if it would change my perception. Spoiler alert: it did. Read on to find out why.
Let's pretend for a moment you haven't seen the watch and read any of the reviews by the likes of Hodinkee and Monochrome: an odd-shaped ultra-thin watch in micro-blasted titanium by the Roman house of Bulgari - does this sound promising? I suppose to many it doesn't, especially those of you with a more conservative palette for watches such as myself. Even seeing it in pictures might do little to help - yet the magic of this piece becomes evident the first time you put it on the wrist.
For me, the first time really handling the Octo Finissimo (disregarding those few minutes at BaselWorld) was a strange experience. The first I noticed is it's incredible lightness. For a full-sized watch on bracelet, even in titanium, it truly weights next to nothing. Second is the thickness, or lack thereof. Of course this is it's raison d'être, it's in the name, and it's the main focal point of each and every review and write-up. Still, the sensation when having it in hand and placing on the wrist was nothing else but spectacular. It is incredibly thin. In fact it's so thin (5.15mm) it seems to blend in to the skin, with the links of the bracelet wrapping around the wrist like a fine piece of cloth.
Once I had resized it to fit my wrist, it was so comfortable I hardly noticed it was there. And last but not least there's the movement. With a diameter of 36.60mm it fills up the case perfectly. It's very well finished, and the (platinum) micro-rotor is a nice change of pace. The thickness of 2.23mm makes it the thinnest self-winding movement currently available. It's mind boggling when you think about it. In short: I wasn't prepared to like it as much as I did.
I had previously worn Alon's former Octo, a Velocissimo in stainless steel, and the play of light on the numerous facets of the case and the deep black dial were things I dearly appreciated. With this in mind, with the Finissimo I was somehow expecting the novelty to wear off after a few days, with the fully matte finish and all-grey look among my main concerns. I am happy to report this was not the case. Most of all, I found wearing the Octo Finissimo an almost esoteric pleasure. It's completely stealth, yet at the same time it feels exceedingly precious. You hardly notice it's there, yet this very fact is what makes the wearing experience so powerful. The play of light is still there, yet in a more subdued manner than with the stainless steel or gold Octo watches.
While the Octo Finissimo flies under the radar in daily life, it gathered a surprising big amount of interest from my watch collecting buddies. I wear and post a lot of watches, but never have I received so many texts and DM's asking about the watch and its price. A Speedmaster-collecting friend couldn't wait to drop by my home to check it out, and eventually ended up borrowing it for a couple of days. My girlfriend asked to tried it on. And yes - both of them were quite taken by it.
In the end I feel the Octo Finissimo almost transcends the Bulgari brand and any connotations that people might or might not have with it. In a market dominated by vintage-inspired watches, re-editions and remakes, I highly applaud Bulgari for again launching an unapologetic modern watch. One that might very well be the finest (haha...) Octo yet, with the potential of becoming an icon.
I highly encourage you to drop by at Ace & Dik to experience the Octo Finissimo for yourself!
Special thanks to F & S for modelling for the wristshots :) .