Bulgari Octo Velocissimo Chronograph Review
From the famed watch designer that brought us so many iconic watches, Bulgari presents a high beat chronograph with an equally iconic movement.
There have been numerous Bulgari Octo watches over the years, and why not? It’s not every day that you get to create a watch from legendary watch designer Gerald Genta. What makes this one special? Numerous things, but let’s start with a brief history of the watch we’re looking at and the evolution of this series to better understand why this one caught my attention and earned a warm place in my heart.
First and foremost, this watch is a chronograph that features a stopwatch function, a complication that isn’t found on most other Bulgari Octo watches other than perhaps the extra thin Octo Finissimo Chrono. But do tell. Why is this chronograph different from all others? Glad you asked.
The mechanical movement animating the Bulgari Octo Velocissimo Chronograph 41mm is the BVL 328, which is a hi-beat 5Hz / 36,000 VpH chronograph movement based on possibly one of the most iconic chronographs other than perhaps the one in the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch. Of course, we’re talking about the Zenith El Primero. Which got its catchy name from being the first-ever automatic chronograph. What made this movement so special was the tremendous precision that it had. Notwithstanding the fact that Rolex used to use the El Primero in their Daytona Chronograph. So iconic status all around for this one.
However, all interior superiorities aside, let’s look at the aesthetics of this watch because most people turn to Gerald Genta for his design appeal and when Bulgari acquired his designs, they really hit paydirt. Some of the most noteworthy watches by this designer are the AP Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, the IWC Ingenieur, Omega Constellation, and Bulgari’s BVLGARI BVLGARI.
Naturally, this one shall too, look as great as any other of his iconic designs. From its brushed 18kt rose gold case with polished beveled edges to its use of contrast on the dial and strap to bring out the richness of the gold, this watch looks and feels high-class but with a modern twist. An octagonal-shaped dial sits within a round bezel on an 18kt rose gold 41mm multi-faceted octagonal shaped case, the atypical case shape that ironically many iconic Gerald Genta watch designs have in common.
The winding crown is polished and has two rows of raised dotted grips and is has a smooth polished black ceramic insert. Brushed chronograph pushers on the side of the case have a bevel with a polished finish. Because this is a column-wheel chronograph and not a cam-actuated mechanism these buttons have a very smooth start/stop action and aren't "jumpy" like the alternative type of chronograph mechanism.
Polished 18Kt rose gold hands and index hour markers. A polished rose gold Arabic numeral is used for the 12 o’clock position. White finely printed seconds and split seconds track. The same white print is used for the chronograph sub-dials that are printed directly on the smooth black dial at the 6 o’clock and 3 o’clock position, and the small running seconds sub-register at the 9 o’clock position. A date window sits discreetly between the 4 and 5 o’clock position.
On the flip side of the case, you will see angular bevels together in the shape of an octagon rising upward from the case back to the top of the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal which reveals the remarkably colorful and well-finished caliber. Combinations of blued screws, pink watch jewels, and yellow gold-toned gears are carefully placed on the stainless-steel plates which use a combination of traditional watchmaker’s finishing techniques.
The Octo was originally a Gerald Genta watch which was later rebranded post-BVLGARI’s acquisition of the legendary watchmakers Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth. The Octo collection had a few innovative and record-breaking pieces such as the Oct Finissimo Extra Thin 40mm which had a case thickness of only 5.5mm making it the thinnest automatic watch in the world. In the same year as its release, BVLGARI broke another record by creating the thinnest tourbillon as well.
While the Bulgari Octo Velocissimo is not the thinnest watch, it is just so stylish. A lot of thought was put into the aesthetics and to top it off, it has some incredible mechanics running it “under the hood”. The BVL 328 automatic movement is a 31-jewel caliber and has a power reserve of approximately 50 hours. Based on the El Primero 400 from Zenith, this is a smooth action, high precision column-wheel chronograph movement that should keep you timing things to perfection for many years to come.
This watch attaches to the wrist with a strong black alligator leather strap with a soft-to-the-touch calfskin inner lining and is fastened by an 18kt rose gold deployant (folding) buckle with the BVLGARI brand engraved on the clasp and the interior of the folding buckle. The strap tapers from wider at the end that attaches to the lugs of the case and gets narrower at the point where it meets the clasp. Use the button below to view special discounted pricing on this watch.