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Yesterday marked exactly seven months since news broke of the latest update to the BVLGARI Octo Finissimo Automatic. It was both an aesthetic and technical upgrade, with the watch’s case and bracelet receiving a fresh set of finishes and the water resistance increasing to 100 meters. For the uninitiated, the news might have seemed insignificant. The Octo Finissimo Automatic was already available in steel, after all – how much impact could a new finish have?
Quite a bit, as it turns out. The combination of satin-finished and polished details and the improved underwater robustness made an immediate impression among those following January’s inaugural LVMH Watch Week in Dubai, where the watch was unveiled. The implication of the release was clear: BVLGARI had transformed its flagship timepiece, which always seemed at the cusp of crossover dress/sport appeal, into a full-fledged stainless steel sport watch. Although the Octo Finissimo had previously featured an understated look, in line with the history of dress-watch design, the new Satin-Polished Steel variant was a bold new visual direction for the collection. It has an attractive immediacy rare in watch design, brought to life through its many contrasting elements.
We’ve eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Octo Finissimo Automatic in Satin-Polished Steel in the HODINKEE Shop, and today, we’re excited to finally share it with you. It’s now available in your choice of a black dial with a grained finish or a blue dial with a sunburst finish. The two models also mark a brand new entry-point into the Octo Finissimo family – at just under $12,000 each, they’re the most accessibly priced Octo Finissimo watches yet.
The Significance Of Steel
There’s no question that the Octo Finissimo Automatic has, since its 2017 introduction, had an indelible impact on popular watchmaking. But no one expected the brand to challenge the hierarchy of luxury stainless steel sport watches in such a direct manner. This is a genre of watchmaking that hasn’t greatly rewarded innovation in recent years; while many brands have attempted to iterate on the steel formula, few have found any broad success.
That’s why, with the new Satin-Polished Steel models, it feels like the entire ethos of the Octo Finissimo collection has expanded. The simple, sandblasted look of the previous designs served as an ideal canvas to let the Octo Finissimo’s complex case geometry and movement construction shine, but BVLGARI is now adding extra visual flair in a strapping steel package. This is a watch collection built to defy expectations, and the Octo Finissimo Automatic in Satin-Polished Steel carries that forward by going all-in on contrast.
BVLGARI accomplished this by executing every single angle of the watch – every simple facet and step-like detail – with the same set of alternating finishes. The polished elements capture the eye, while the brushed details retain your attention. Each aspect of the watch is fine-tuned and executed with the greatest attention to detail. The bezel is made from a single piece of stainless steel, yet it has two separate finishes, with the top bevel featuring an attractive outward brushing and its octagonal base entirely polished. The bezel leads to the rest of the case, where the Octo Finissimo’s architectural profile is more apparent than ever before, thanks to the continuous pattern of satin surfaces and polished angles. It creates the appearance of seamless integration, all the way from the top of the bezel to the concealed triple folding clasp. The gently tapered links on the bracelet continue the effect, switching between inner polished links surrounded by brushed ones, as the watch articulates around the wrist. Satin surfaces meet polished ones – over and over again.
Built For Everyday Use
The Octo Finissimo Automatic in Satin-Polished Steel is more than an aesthetic update, it’s also the first watch of the collection to boast a water-resistance rating above 30 meters. The new watches are tested to meet 100 meters of water pressure and keep on ticking, something achieved by the addition of a screw-down crown for the very first time. The crown features slight ridges for ease of grip and a black ceramic insert at its base. The case of the new Octo Finissimo Automatic is the same diameter as its predecessors at 40mm, but there is an ever-so-slight increase in thickness. Yes, one of the current champions of ultra-thin watchmaking has gotten bigger, but it’s only by a little over a single millimeter, from 5.15mm in the original Octo Finissimo Automatic to just 6.4mm in the Satin-Polished Steel variant. The increase is about the same as the thickness of a credit card. It’s a fact of life that in order to gain something, you have to lose something, and in this particular exchange, we think BVLGARI – and, in the end, watch lovers everywhere – walk away as the winner.
On the wrist, the Satin-Polished Steel version of the Octo Finissimo has the weight you’d expect of steel. The case profile lends itself to a natural range of high and low appeal across the entire design. You have the maximalist tendencies the Roman-born brand is known for in its other product categories, now balanced by the low-key and geometric form factor that has remained inherent in the Octo Finissimo Automatic since its 2017 debut. It’s a statement piece worth dressing up for, but whether that means by the pool or in the office is your choice.
Black Or Blue? It’s Up To You
When the Octo Finissimo Automatic first saw the light of day at the beginning of the year, it was only available with a lacquered black dial with a grained finish. In the months since, a lacquered blue version was announced with an attractive sunburst decoration. These are the first Octo Finissimo models to truly deviate from the collection’s former monochromatic color palette, and we think they’re all the better for it. Nothing really emphasizes the dynamism of a classic sport watch like an eye-catching dial execution, and both the black and blue variants fit the bill.
The gradient finish of the black dial juxtaposes quite nicely with the rest of the steel case and the silver-tone hands and hour markers, while the blue-dial version is a touch subtler in how it complements the multi-finish case design. Blue-dialed steel sport watches are certainly having a moment, and the Octo Finissimo Automatic in Satin-Polished Steel is a great alternative – or complement – to any collection. The black-dialed version, however, adds yet another level of contrast to the appearance, something that feels very authentic to the design as a whole. The dials share the same layout as all previous Octo Finissimo Automatic models. That means stylized Arabic numerals at six and 12 o’clock, with polished and rhodium-plated markers for the rest of the hours. An open small seconds display is located near seven o’clock, and all three hands are polished and faceted.
The BVL 138 movement at the heart of the new Octo Finissimo Automatic in Satin-Polished Steel is the same ultra-thin caliber found in all former and current iterations of the watch. A record-breaker upon its 2017 debut, the BVL 138 has a remarkable 2.2mm height and 36.6mm diameter. Though the watch is steel on the outside, the micro-rotor that powers the Octo Finissimo Automatic is made from a solid block of platinum, winds bi-directionally, and allows for an impressive 60 hours of running autonomy. It runs in 36 jewels, at 21,600 vph, with a total of 242 components across the entire movement architecture.
One consequence of the pursuit of ultimate thinness in watchmaking is naturally an increase in fragility. And when cross-shopping the Octo Finissimo Automatic in Satin-Polished Steel with other, thicker sport watches, this might be a concern. The BVL 138 alleviates that worry through the presence of a full balance bridge, which increases the stability of the balance and enhances the watch’s overall impact resistance. Other elements that help in this regard include Kif shock absorption and a larger-than-usual escape wheel bridge. None of these elements are intrinsically new to the Octo Finissimo Automatic, but it’s worth highlighting the steps BVLGARI took when initially developing the ultra-thin BVL 138. This is a high-performance movement executed at the highest level.
Not only is the BVL 138 impressive from a technical perspective, but it’s also decorated in a way that perfectly matches the intricate finishing of the Satin-Polished Steel case. You’ll catch a glimpse of perlage underneath the swinging rotor, while the bridges are rendered with brilliant swathes of côtes de Genève. The mainplate is decorated with attractive circular graining, and the bridges and jewel sinks all sport clean chamfered edges. The entirety of the movement is visible through a sapphire crystal caseback.
Discover The BVLGARI Octo Finissimo Automatic In Satin-Polished Steel
The concept of the luxury stainless steel sport watch hasn’t changed much over the decades, but we think BVLGARI has reinvigorated the category with the Octo Finissimo Automatic in Satin-Polished Steel. It’s an ultra-thin shot across the bow at watch industry heavyweights that have dominated the steel sport watch conversation for years. With much of the watch industry looking in the rearview mirror for inspiration, BVLGARI is charting a new way forward by evolving its contemporary classic in a distinct manner. The two variants of the Octo Finissimo Automatic in Satin-Polished Steel are both priced at $11,900 and are now available, right here.
We’d also like to remind you that every BVLGARI watch in the HODINKEE Shop is backed by the HODINKEE Guarantee, comes with expedited, complimentary worldwide shipping, and an extra year warranty. That means three total years of coverage, two from BVLGARI and an additional year on the HODINKEE Shop.