Bulgari’s love affair with marble comes to life in a one-of-a-kind timepiece crafted exclusively for the 2023 Only Watch auction
Bulgari’s record-breaking Octo Finissimo Tourbillon has been transformed into a superb edition entirely made of marble for the 2023 edition of the Only Watch auction. This particular material holds special significance for Bulgari and its inclusion in this watch heightens a horological feat into an artistic masterpiece.
Five years in the making, this one-off limited-edition piece is a true marvel of watchmaking, as well as a major testament to Bulgari’s craftsmanship.
SET IN STONE
Bulgari embraces the use of marble as a medium, reflecting on the rock’s rich history. Marble has played a vital role in world history, from its use in iconic works like the Venus de Milo to its pivotal role in architectural marvels like the Taj Mahal. Italy, in particular, is resplendent in marble masterpieces such as the cathedrals of Pisa, Siena and Florence, as well as Michelangelo’s David.
Bulgari’s affinity with marble dates back to 1934 when renowned architect Florestano Di Fausto incorporated the material during the renovation of Bulgari’s boutique in Rome’s Via de Condotti. In 2014, architect Peter Marino also used marble to refurbish the boutique to commemorate Bulgari’s 130th anniversary. And when Bulgari ventured into jewelry design in 2012, the company boldly incorporated the ancient stone into the B.zero1 jewelry collection.
Now, the Italian luxury brand has taken on an even greater challenge: crafting a fine timepiece clad in a thin layer of marble. The breathtaking green marble chosen for this spectacular timepiece is called Verde Alpi and originates from the Aosta Valley, an Alpine region bordering Switzerland to the north and Italy to the south and east. Its vibrant green hue evokes the abundance, growth and energy found in nature, while the intersecting white veins recall the serpentine patterns found in the alpine forest of the valley. Bulgari has preserved the natural properties of the raw material, including its continuous irregular patterns, creating a captivating visual effect on the watch.
“A dominant color in nature, green exudes a sense of abundance, growth and energy”
Bulgari chose the Octo Finissimo with its minimalist and contemporary design for this important task. The Octo Finissimo collection itself has already achieved eight world records for “thinness,” starting with the hand-wound Octo Finissimo Tourbillon in 2014. This very model served as the inspiration for Bulgari’s contribution to the 2023 Only Watch charity auction, which raises funds for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
The 40 mm case of the Octo Finnissimo Tourbilon Only Watch showcases 110 intricately crafted facets, meticulously enveloped in a delicate layer of marble. The dial features an ultra-thin marble wafer measuring only 0.6 mm in thickness and offers a glimpse of the tourbillon at 6 o’clock. The most intricate part is the bracelet, which required 190 hours to complete in conjunction with the case. Notably, a marble slice is set on every link of the bracelet, covering both the top and sides with a three-dimensional element, leaving only the inner surface in black DLC titanium.
The caseback features the Only Watch logo on a sapphire crystal and provides a clear view of the BVL 268 calibre—an ultra-thin (1.95 mm) hand-wound manufacture movement with a flying tourbillon. The completion of this exceptional piece required a total of 800 hours, encompassing development and production. And to complement this extraordinary timepiece, Bulgari has created a custom-made box enhanced by a fine layer of marble.
With the Octo Finnisimo Tourbillon Only Watch, Bulgari not only etched its presence in stone, but like the great architectural feats of ancient Rome, this exquisite design will linger for eternity.
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