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Bulgari this week adds a handsome blue dial to its ultra-thin Octo Finissimo Automatic Steel line, essentially doubling the options – from one model to two – available at the collection’s entry level.

The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic model offers a new blue lacquered dial with sunburst finish to the ultra-thin, satin-finished steel watch collection.

Recall that during its debut event this past January in Dubai, Bulgari debuted the first Octo Finissimo Automatic watch with a steel case, and with a black dial, to glowing notices (including ours).

The first Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-Polished Steel arrived in January with a black dial.

The Octo Finissimo collection is Bulgari’s multi-award-winning set of record-setting ultra-thin watches that includes complicated watches as well as this time-only edition. The design has previously only been offered with ceramic,  precious metal or titanium cases and bracelets.  

The new model adds a blue lacquered dial with sunburst finish to the satin-finished steel watch. Like its ceramic, titanium or gold brethren, the steel model is matched with a complex bracelet that echoes the case perfectly. Here that translates to full-length satin-finished steel links interspersed with central-set polished steel links.

Matte and polished finishes abound on both case and bracelet, adding a pleasing multi-dimensional caste to the watch.

Multi-dimensional

Matte and polished finishes abound on both case and bracelet, adding a pleasing multi-dimensional caste to the watch, especially when its wraps around a wrist.

Despite its 6.4mm thickness, just slightly thicker than the precious metal and titanium models, these steel Octo Finissimo Steel Automatic watches boast 100-meter water resistance thanks to a screw-down crown. The collection’s titanium, ceramic and precious metal models are rated to 30 meters.

Despite its 6.4mm thickness, just slightly thicker than previous models, the steel Octo Finissimo Steel Automatic watches boast 100-meter water resistance thanks to a screw-down crown.

The greater water resistance is appropriate for a steel watch, according to Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin, who suggests that with this sportier version of the Octo Finissimo Automatic “you can dive, swim, take a shower…you can wear it from the tennis court to the board room.”     

Platinum rotor

Inside you’ll find the same ultra-thin Bulgari BVL138 Finissimo caliber found in the other Octo Finissimo Automatic models. A record-breaking 2.23mm thin, the caliber is wound by a platinum micro-rotor nicely visible though the clear sapphire caseback, exposing its expertly applied Côtes de Genève motif, chamfered bridges and circular-grained baseplate.

The ultra-thin Bulgari BVL138 Finissimo caliber is a record-breaking 2.23mm thin and is wound by a platinum micro-rotor visible though the clear sapphire caseback.

With carefully calculate heft and machining, the rotor powers the watch’s hours, minutes and small seconds indications for up to sixty hours.  Price: $11,800.

 

Specifications: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-Polished Steel

Movement: Automatic BVL138 Finissimo caliber (2.23mm thick), winding via a platinum micro-rotor, hours, minutes and small seconds indications. Adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, chamfered bridges and circular-grained baseplate, 60-hour power reserve, 21,600 VpH.

Case: 40mm extra-thin satin-polished steel case (6.40mm thick), transparent caseback; polished steel screw-down crown set with ceramic inlay

Dial: Blue lacquered dial with sunburst finishing, faceted diamond rhodium-plated hands; water-resistant up to 100m.

Bracelet: Integrated satin-polished steel bracelet with folding clasp.

Price: $11,800

 

Bulgari this week unveils a series of black-DLC Bvlgari Bvlgari Cities Special Edition 2020 watches dedicated to nine cities, each of which will be identified on the watch’s wide bezel alongside the Bvlgari logo.

This artistic flavoring of the 41mm fashion-casual, three-hand watch is just the newest interpretation of a design Bulgari debuted to much acclaim in 1977, two years after its Bvlgari Roma digital watch became a fashion totem with its name on its case.

The first Bvlgari Roma model, from 1975.
The early two-hand Bvlgari Roma watches (above) led the way to the launch of Bvlgari Bvlgari in 1977.

The new all-black Bvlgari Bvlgari Cities Special Edition will now display its Bvlgari logo on the bezel alongside the name of one of the nine cities (Rome, Tokyo, Dubai, Paris, London, Ibiza, Milan, Mexico City and New York), all of which Bulgari claims close ties, most hosting Bulgari boutiques, hotels or both.

Bvlgari Bvlgari Cities Special Edition, New York

And beyond the imprint of the city name on the watch’s bezel, each of the nine special editions will also be sold with a set of twelve art prints created by one of nine young artists Bulgari invited to create a colorful rendering of their city. See the special Bulgari website for more information about the artists and their creations.

Bvlgari Bvlgari Cities – New York with art from artist Natacha Paschal.

The blackened steel-case Bvlgari Bvlgari Cities Special Edition is powered by the in-house automatic BVL 191 caliber. The watch comes with two straps that can be used interchangeably: one brown calf leather strap and one black rubber strap. Price: $4,350.

Specifications: Bulgari BVLGARI BVLGARI CITIES SPECIAL EDITION 2020

Movement: Mechanical manufacture movement with automatic winding, Calibre BVL 191, indications of the hours, minutes and seconds. 42-hour power reserve

Case: 41mm steel treated with black Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) with transparent case back. Bezel engraved with the respective city name. 18-karat rose gold crown.

Dial: Black-lacquered grained with rose gold indexes. Date window at 3 o’clock.

Straps: Brown calf leather strap with ardillon buckle. Watch is delivered in a black-grained leather pouch containing a second strap in black rubber.

Price:  $4,350.

New Bvlgari Bvlgari Cities Special Edition, Rome model

 

Among the many watches for women we’ve seen released in the early weeks of 2020, here are a seven that would make a perfect Valentine’s Day gift. 

Zenith
Defy Midnight
As we’ve shown you in multiple posts since the event, the LVMH Watch Week in Dubai was a big one for women’s watch debuts, with both Zenith and Bulgari in particular focusing on feminine styles. Impressed as we are with Zenith’s reworked Elite Classic and Elite Moonphase models, those models will appeal to men and women. However, Zenith’s entirely new Defy Midnight is designed from scratch to be the Le Locle-based watchmaker’s collection for women. Its 36mm size and star-centric diamond dial convey Zenith’s ‘time to reach your star’ tag line with glittering aplomb while the trio of additional straps seals the deal. Prices start at $8,600 (without diamond bezel).  


   

Bulgari
Serpenti Seduttori (103361) Steel and Diamonds
While the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon highlights Bulgari’s 2020 offerings for ladies, the ongoing Serpenti Seduttori collection includes five new models, many of which mix diamonds and rose gold with steel. This 33mm steel and diamond watch features an opaline silver-toned dial and a very Valentine cabochon pink rubelite crown. These hexagonal bracelets lay particularly well on any wrist. Price: $6,850


 

 

 


Frederique Constant
Classics Art Déco Round
This Geneva-based watchmaker always offers an enviable collection of nicely priced watches for women, and its newest Classics Art Deco models nicely underscore that focus. Three of the five new 30mm models combine a guilloché sunray center with a mother-of-pearl outer dial within a first-ever (for this collection) round case. This steel-cased version pops with its guilloché center and blue mother-of-pearl dial, with a perfectly polished steel case and bracelet reflecting the light. Price: $850 euros, or about $930. 

 


Alpina
Alpinar Comtesse Sport Quartz 
Frederique Constant’s sister brand adds three new models to its Alpiner Comtesse Sport Quartz, a set of 36.5mm quartz-powered models we first saw in 2015. In black, blue and white, each watch offers matching bezel and a steel bracelet, with the black-dialed model set with a blackened steel case and bracelet.  As with previous models, the markings on the dials are studded with eight diamonds and include large luminescent hands and the date at 6 o’clock. Pricing starts at 695 euros, or about $760.

 

 

 


Blancpain
Valentine’s Day Marilyn Monroe 
Blancpain is debuting an evening watch based on a Blancpain watch once owned by Marilyn Monroe. The small rectangular white gold watch features an Art Deco style case set with 84 diamonds, sometimes in superposed rows, including two marquise-cut gems. The mother-of-pearl dial, inlaid with two hearts, is adorned with two brilliant-cut diamonds and two butterflies made of diamond and ruby hearts. Inside is an all-new rectangular caliber 510, a major new addition to the Blancpain collection. Issued in a 14-piece limited edition, the Blancpain Valentine’s Day 2020 watch is available with a calf leather strap secured by a pin buckle set with a brilliant-cut diamond.  Price: $37,400.

 

 


Breguet
Classique 9065

As we first showed you earlier this year, the newest Breguet Classique 9065 takes on a new, darker look with a stunning Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial. Also new is the rich red heart on the seconds hand, possibly employed by Breguet to remind the wearer of the passing time.  The new 33.5mm rose gold watch stands apart from earlier examples not only due to the new dial and rotating heart, but also for its red ruby crown, a garnet-colored date window (framed in rose gold) and an iridescent red satin strap. For enhanced glamour, Breguet also sets eighty-eight brilliant-cut diamonds along the bezel and on the lugs. Inside you will find Breguet’s automatic 591A caliber. Breguet is offering the watch as part of a series of twenty-eight numbered timepieces to be sold at certain Breguet boutiques.
Price: $28,600.


G-Shock
Transparent Rose Gold

An finally, take your pick from this all-new trio of G-SHOCK 1990s-inspired women’s watches, just in time for Valentine’s day. This clear-cased series includes a range of timepieces from G-SHOCK’s popular GMAS110, GMAS120 and GMDS6900 models that also add clear resin bands and rose-gold-colored metallic accents. Two models feature circular cases with large side buttons, while the third boasts the classic three-eye G-Shock digital LCD display.

The GMAS110SR-7A and GMAS120SR-7A sell for $140 each, while the GMDS6900SR-7 is priced at $110.


 

During LVMH Watch Week, Bulgari made it clear that women are a priority audience for the brand, even as many of its recent award-winning Finissimo watches are targeted to male collectors. This explains in part why Bulgari debuted a new set of Serpenti watches during the debut event. 

But Bulgari also took the opportunity to enhance its offerings to women with a renewed attention to technical breakthroughs that in some ways match the cutting-edge thinness of Finissimo. 

Indeed, Bulgari’s highlight debut earlier this month, the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon, features the world’s smallest tourbillon, a technical coup that does double duty for the jeweler and watchmaker. In addition to emphasizing its collections for women, the new watch symbolizes Bulgari’s plans to expand the use of mechanical movements within a broader range of its feminine collections.

 As Bulgari Managing Director, Watch Business Unit Antoine Pin explains below, “Since we are a fully integrated manufacturer, why shouldn’t we make high-end complications for ladies?”

We discussed this and other topics with Pin during the Watch Week debut event.

(The new Bulgari Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon features the world’s smallest tourbillon.)
   

iW: Why is it important to place mechanical movements inside watches for women?

Antoine Pin: We have two important reasons.  First, Serpenti was born with mechanical movements. And today there are very few mechanical movements in small sizes.

Secondly, we have built up incredible experience in micromechanics in our quest to reduce the size of movements while maintaining their performance. With this experience comes the appetite to go further. To see what we can do.

 

Why focus for now on complicated movements? 

It is somewhat easier to work on a small size tourbillon in limited numbers then to work on large mechanical movements. It is more technically complicated, but because of the production process, the questions you are tackling are different. 

Being a fully integrated high horology company, we have a better understanding sometimes of these smaller volume, highly complicated movements. Underlining this is the fact that we have a majority of clients who are women.  And since we are a fully integrated manufacturer, why shouldn’t we make high-end complications for ladies?

(The new Bulgari Divas’ Dream features a peacock feather dial and a mechanical movement.)

Some would say that there are no clients for this, but we get requests for this. We especially saw this with the Divas’ Dream. So what we are trying here very much fits in with our philosophy.

 

(Bulgari’s Divas’ Dream Lapis Lazuli)

Will you extend this work into additional, simpler movements?

We should clearly. It makes sense. Yes, a few movements of the small size do exist, from Rolex and Jaeger-LeCoultre, but these are very limited.

Will you continue with movements like the thin repeater inside the Divas Dream Finissima Minute Repeater?  

We will arrive with new innovations every year. It is also a matter of matching new markets.  But again, there is no market until there are products to offer. This is something we are monitoring. We do have demand for simpler complications, mechanical pieces with one or two functions. It is less of a collector’s spirit and more of a regular users spirit.

The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic in Black Sandblast and Polished Ceramic.

How did you decide to launch the new steel Octo Finissimo Automatic? 

It was obvious.  We have this amazing success with the titanium Finissimo collection and we had pushed to the ultimate stage in the innovation. 

The Finissimo has such high recognition from all of our partners, so there was no question of the idea to expand the product to meet the today’s standards with steel on steel, gold on straps, which are basics in ninety-five percent of watch company collections. It is also a way for us to expand our reach with watch connoisseurs. 

 So we have launched this well-known category of products while maintaining our standards for the Finissimo collection. This is also another way to introduce Bulgari as a watchmaker.  This gives our staff more possibilities to present Bulgari as the watchmaker against other watchmakers in the same classic categories.

 

Can you offer us any hints as to the April Bulgari debuts?

We have additional debuts in April and in September. We are now showing you pieces that are available very soon, not many months down the line. Clients can get confused when they hear about new products but don’t see them in stores.  

We will be debuting more jewelry pieces, plus new pieces in the other collections as well. 

What is interesting about the pieces we are showing right now is that they highlight our capacity to innovate both from a design perspective and from a mechanical perspective. We are not a jeweler making watches; we are true Swiss-born watchmakers making watches for more than 100 years, including more than forty years in Switzerland.  

The leadership we have on micromechanics like the small tourbillon is a way to say look at us for what we are.  We are a watchmaker with a different origin, with a different perspective on watchmaking that gives us new designs. We have a talent for creating designs that are different. 

At LVMH Watch Week in Dubai, the Italo-Swiss watchmaker and jeweler added a tourbillon to Serpenti and debuted the first steel Octo Finissimo Automatic. 

Serpents and gold co-star in Bulgari’s desert debuts this past January during Watch Week in Dubai where the brand joined its LVMH brethren to showcase new watches for 2020. 

The jewelry and watchmaking company, which capitalizes on its deep Italian design and Swiss watchmaking prowess, adds several effervescent new models to its snake-head shaped Serpenti collection while also adding new gold, steel and ceramic finishes to its record-holding ultra-thin Octo Finissimo collections.

Serpenti & Dreams
Emphasizing a host of new and updated watches in its Serpenti Seduttori and Divas’ Dream collections, Bulgari sets the bar high by hatching a newly complicated Serpenti, the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon, with which Bulgari welcomes mechanical movements back to its collection of small watches for women. 

Within the snake-head-shaped Serpenti Seduttori Bulgari places its new tourbillon caliber (BVL150) in the watch’s most prominent position just below the center to leave no doubt about the highly complicated nature of the watch’s movement. 

Bulgari designed the movement specifically to fit and be clearly visible within the small Serpenti case. Bulgari watchmakers assured full transparency by developing a clear sapphire bridge to better display the tourbillon. Likewise, the tourbillon is highly visible from the back thanks to a sapphire crystal caseback. Bulgari also hand-decorated the entire caliber and then rhodium-plated it for extra brilliance, while utilizing a special diamond setting technique to ensure a thin case while also maximizing the watch’s high-carat glitter.  

The Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon is being offered with either a rose gold or a white gold case on a leather strap, or in white gold with a full diamond bracelet. Prices start at $78,000.

More for Women
While the tourbillon model highlights Bulgari’s 2020 offerings for ladies, look for at least five new Serpenti Seduttori watches in 2020, including at least one with diamonds and another that combines steel with rose gold and with white gold.

Also for women, Bulgari’s Divas’ Dream collection expands this year with a Divas’ Dream Minute Repeater Malachite, featuring a beautifully striped malachite green dial, surrounded by a diamond-set bezel. You may recall that this GPHG-award winning design is currently the thinnest minute repeater made for a women’s watch.     

Bulgari also adds two new gold Divas’ Dream watches without the repeater. One features a rich blue lapis lazuli dial while another is finished with a colorful peacock feather dial. 

Octo Repeater in Gold
Another highlight among Bulgari’s Dubai 2020 debuts is the new Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater in rose gold, powered by the ultra-thin (3.12mm) manual-wind minute repeater movement, the BVL 362 caliber. 

This all-new version ($170,000) of the much-heralded record-breaking titanium-cased Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater from 2016 now glows on the wrist with an impressive sandblasted rose gold case.

 As seen on earlier models, this rose gold edition retains the dial’s cutout hour and small seconds markers that serve to amplify the repeater’s chime. The pusher that activates the striking mechanism (at 9 o’clock) is wisely fitted with an “all or nothing” safety device. When fully wound, the movement delivers a 42-hour power reserve.

New Finishes
Throughout the Octo Finissimo collection, Bulgari in 2020 again focuses on the Italian design aspect of its Swiss engineered three-hand Octo Finissimo Automatic models. 

Looks for three new models in this collection. First, two emphasize their new satin-polished non-monochromatic timepieces. These are the Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-Polished Steel (priced at $12,000, it is the first steel watch in the collection) and the Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-Polished Rose Gold ($22,700). Both watches show off the thin BVL 138 Finissimo caliber (2.23mm) and feature a polished black lacquer dial. 

While the highly lauded Octo Finissimo Automatic in steel (which brings the entry level into the collection down to $12,000) features a nicely integrated steel bracelet, the rose gold version comes on an alligator strap. 

The third new Octo Finissimo, the Octo Finissimo Automatic in Black Sandblast-Polished Ceramic, features a new sandblast-polished ceramic case and bracelet and sandblasted ceramic dial. This monochromatic look alternates its matte and polished surfaces, an effect that allows the light to play off the case and bracelet angles