Bulgari’s latest ultra-luxury watches are music to our ears

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This report was produced in partnership with Bulgari.

Many of the world’s most famous luxury fashion houses make watches, but most of their offerings aren’t very impressive. They are fashion accessories; status symbols – not serious timepieces.

Bulgari is a notable exception. No other luxury house has invested as much in watchmaking as the Roman brand, which quickly earned a reputation as one of the leaders in high quality watchmaking bar none. In particular, Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo line has seen many world firsts in watchmaking, such as the world’s thinnest mechanical chronograph and the world’s thinnest minute repeater.

Speaking of minute repeaters, Bulgari kicked off 2022 with a bang during LVMH Watch Week, unveiling a boatload of impressive Haute Horlogerie creations – including two incredibly innovative and exceptionally luxurious minute repeaters that reaffirm Bulgari’s status as a innovative and disruptive.

The Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon (ref. 103627).

First, we have the new Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon (ref. 103627), which eliminates many of the conventions associated with minute repeaters. For those in need of a refresh, a repeater is a complication that strikes the time at the touch of a button. A minute repeater specifically chimes the time down to the minute, using separate tones for hours, quarter hours and minutes.

Minute repeaters are one of the most traditional and complex horological complications – so watches that include them tend to be ultra-conservative in their design. This is not the case with the Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon. The case and the dial (which is actually the top plate of the internal manual winding caliber BVL428) are designed to maximize the propagation of sound: in particular, the middle and the back both feature unique cavities designed to further diffuse sound.

Bulgari are normally masters of subterfuge – just think of the elegantly concealed dials of the Serpenti Misteriosi family of watches – so to see the opposite approach taken with this watch is rather surprising and refreshing.

On top of that, the Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon has a 72-hour power reserve, a huge tourbillon at 6 o’clock, and is crafted in platinum (with those caseband and caseback elements in titanium). A limited edition of 30 pieces, it’s an incredibly impressive and sumptuous timepiece that reminds us that Bulgari mean business when it comes to fine watchmaking.

The Bulgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie (ref. 103553).

If a limited edition skeletonized platinum minute repeater tourbillon wasn’t luxurious enough for you, Bulgari has also unveiled a second minute repeater: the one-of-a-kind Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie (ref. 103553). Bulgari started life as a jeweler, and this watch demonstrates that while they’ve invested heavily in their watchmaking ability, they haven’t forgotten how to make something shine.

Set with 446 baguette-cut Zambian emeralds and diamonds totaling over 30 carats, crafted in 18k white gold and mounted on an alligator leather strap, the Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie is the epitome of luxury. Despite the large number of jewels, it is rather tastefully executed: the Octo Roma’s angular and bold case is the perfect canvas for such an array of gemstones.

It’s not just a pretty face either. The self-winding, tourbillon-regulated BVL703 caliber is actually even more complex than the caliber that powers the Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon – indeed, it is Bulgari’s most complex movement to date. Its Grande Sonnerie mechanism strikes the hours, quarters and minutes, and the watch has a harmonious Westminster chime that can be muted or activated on demand by the side buttons.

Bulgari is one of the few watchmakers capable of producing such a complex movement; it is a real triumph. Combine that with the extravagant array of jewels that encrust the Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie and you have what can only be described as the pinnacle of modern horology.

Learn more about Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon and the Bulgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie at Bulgari’s online store here.

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