New models Monday, August 20th 2012
Conveying a number of timeless values that have found their way through centuries and civilisations, the new creation by Bulgari transcends traditional standards governing men’s watches.
Bulgari Octo in steel © Bulgari
It is a strong, charismatic personality radiating a distinctive character. Neither round nor square, but an harmonious and balanced symbiosis of the two basic shapes giving rise to the octagon – symbolising the geometry of perfection. Its eight-sided structure framed by a round bezel proclaims a bold yet subtle break with the aesthetic conventions of pure classicism. The powerful identity of Octo establishes new codes of references in the future world of men’s luxury watches.
This highly contemporary timepiece enshrines a number of values. The octagon, an ancient graphic figure universally recognised as endowed with a wealth of symbols and meaning, is inseparably bound up with the history of civilisations and cultures. Stretching across continents from East to West, this composition of two basic figures conveys countless emblematic values and multiple meanings. Concepts such as balance, harmony, power and eternity are frequently associated with the eight-sided shape. In Medieval Europe, alchemists considered the combination of the square and the circle as the very expression of perfection, as well as of the relationship between Earth and Heaven: the square representing Humankind and the circle embodying Divinity established the link between the two representations.
The octagonal shape omnipresence
The octagonal shape has also left numerous architectural traces from Europe to Asia. Italy in particular has a number of buildings of this kind. In addition to Ancient constructions dotted around Rome, the Eternal City, one of the most representative is undoubtedly the Castel del Monte in the region of Puglia. This 13th century construction, a magnificent work of architecture imbued with multiple symbols, embodies a sum of refined knowledge in the fields of mathematics and astronomy. It is considered by some as a place synonymous with the temple of learning.
Thousands of miles from there, the octagon was the source of the very foundations of Chinese history, civilisation and beliefs. A central figure of Yi Jing, or Book of Changes, of which the content was elaborated from the start of the first millennium B.C. onwards, the octagonal shape was intended to describe the states of the world and their successive evolutions. Each of the eight sides is designed so as to symbolise what occurs in heaven and on earth, and represents the incessant transformation of the signs in both. The Yi Jing stems from elaborate cosmogonic research that has strongly shaped Chinese thought patterns through to the present day. Based on the opposition/complementary nature of the Ying and Yang principles (sun and moon, male and female, active and passive, etc.) and by systematically subdividing this duality, Yi Jing postulates a series of 64 combinations of basic symbols and all the possible transformations among them.
At a later period, but still in the Middle Empire, the square and the circle conveyed a symbolic relationship expressed according to architectural principles. The Temple of Heaven in Beijing, built in the 15th century, is for example globally arranged in order to symbolise the relationship between heaven and earth, between Divinity and Humankind, the essence of Chinese cosmogony. It occupies a site reflecting the square shape and featuring southern angles, while those to the north are rounded in accordance with the antique Chinese belief which held that the sky was round and the earth square.
Between the infinity of mathematicians and the totality of the universe
The numerical translation of the graphic shape is also filled with symbolic meanings. The number 8, Octo in its Latin translation, has always conveyed a broad spectrum of powerful universal values in all eras, and in all civilisations. It corresponds to the infinity of mathematicians, immutable eternity, as well as symbolising the totality of the universe in China (Yi Jing), and more broadly prosperity and the embodiment of power in Asian cultures.
The architecture of Octo is a concentrated blend of this emblematic content. More than a watch, the object transcends its pure function to acquire a broad dimension brimming with aesthetic and emotional significance. Its apparent formal simplicity carries a substantial complexity by conveying a wealth of values: equilibrium, perfection, immortality and eternity on the one hand, expertise and horological mastery on the other.
This new pure and powerful creation from Bulgari perfectly mirrors the Brand’s masculine watchmaking values, imbued with charisma, personality and extremely graphic stylistic sophistication. This contemporary aesthetic ensemble is combined with an understated and classic reading of time offering the traditional usual functions. The shape of the Octo breaks with the conventional codes of this type of watch and radically renews them by asserting its distinctly horological nature through perfectly refined proportions creating an harmonious balance.
Exceptional case and engine
The structure of this exceptional case with its clear-cut, taut lines, expresses strength of character and undeniable power. Its subtle treatment calls for a complex production process for its constitutive parts: the case middle, bezel and screw-down back. The three elements undergo numerous successive operations in order to achieve the final result prior to assembly. The in-house manufactured case of the new Octo comprises a total of 110 facets. All are meticulously hand-finished with alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces, in harmony with the overall degree of execution characterising this new model of which the interior is also guided by a single criterion: excellence.
An emblematic creation naturally deserved an equally exceptional “engine”. Octo is powered by Calibre BVL 193, driving indications of hours, minutes, seconds and date window at 3 o’clock. This mechanical movement automatically wound by a unidirectional oscillating weight mounted on ball bearings – a guarantee of optimised winding – is equipped with two barrels. It guarantees enhanced long-term isochronism, synonymous with regularity of rate and thus precision. The 11.5-lignes Calibre BVL 193 beats at a cadence of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz) and provides a 50-hour power reserve. The finishing of the movement parts is of extremely high quality, including polished pivots and satin-brushed driving wheels. An elegant in-house crafted black lacquered and polished dial accentuates the overall purity of this new model with its traditional analogue display entirely in tune with the wealth of aesthetic features characterising the Octo line.
This watch immediately takes centre stage and conveys an obvious and singular message: it transcends customary standards in order to proclaim its rank among watch models that are already part of the future. ■
Technical data sheet
Description: BVL 193, mechanical calibre automatically wound by a unidirectional oscillating weight
Dimensions: 25.60mm X 3.70mm
Display: Hours, minutes and seconds, semi-instant date window at 3 o’clock
Jewelling: 28 jewels
Power reserve: Double barrel ensuring a 50-hour power reserve
Frequency: 4 Hz – 28,800 vph
Finishing: Bridges snailed and adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, chamfered and polished bridge edges, circular-grained mainplate, satin-brushed wheels, polished pivots
Jewel surrounds: Tone-on-tone diamond polished
Dial: Black lacquered, pink gold or rhodium facetted hour-markers
Case: In-house manufactured case, screw-lock crown and screw-down case, water-resistant to 100m
Strap: Black alligator leather with steel or pink gold double-blade folding clasp