Bulgari Octo Roma Worldtimer: Everything Simply Falls Into Place
by Martin Green
In today’s world, where so little has been possible for what seems so long, Bulgari has always been a believer. As one of the driving forces behind Geneva Watch Days, the brand was confident that a physical fair was a COVID-19 reality that was both needed and possible. Proven correct twice now, Geneva Watch Days allowed us to dream again of a world that we can explore freely.
Bulgari then reinforced this dream by launching the Octo Roma Worldtimer.
It came as a little bit of a surprise that Bulgari’s star of the show was not an Octo Finissimo but the more common Octo. Perhaps this is because we have become spoiled and used to being presented a record-breaking ultra-thin watch each time Bulgari participates in a fair.
What is perhaps even more surprising is that the Octo Roma Worldtimer was not the most complex new member of the family released, yet it still was able to outshine (at least in my book) the Octo Roma Papillon Central Tourbillon and Octo Roma Tourbillon Lumière.
Bulgari Octo Roma Worldtimer: you don’t have to be thin to be in
The reason for this might be that the watch is so delightfully down to earth. It might not be the thinnest, most complex, or rarest watch in the collection, but, boy, it is good looking!
It is one of those rare watches where everything simply falls into place. This starts with its proportions: with a diameter of 41 mm, it has a lot of wrist presence without looking too large. Important is that it gives Bulgari enough space for the two rings around the dial, one for the reference cities of the different time zones and the other for the corresponding 24-hour time. While these rings offer a lot of information, the dial remains relatively clean looking.
The case height also plays an important role in the perception of the watch and its wearing comfort. Here, too, Bulgari finds the middle ground: at a height of 11.35 mm, the Octo Roma Worldtimer is neither very thin nor overly bloated. You feel that you are wearing a sports watch, and that is on point for this timepiece.
In terms of design, Bulgari stayed true to its Octo heritage. While it might be the Octo Finissimo grabbing most of the headlines in the last couple of years, the rest of the Octo collection has never lagged far behind and became popular.
Bulgari even shows a sense of humor by forgoing certain traditional places usually offered on a classic worldtimer like this, replacing them with destinations where the brand operates a hotel or is currently working to open one.
Bulgari Octo Roma Worldtimer: movement details
Bulgari created Caliber BVL257 for this watch in its manufacture at Le Sentier. It is a particularly good-looking movement that combines pleasing architecture with a nice finish in which Geneva Stripes take center stage. The full bridge over the balance wheel ensures certain robustness, proof that this is a watch created to accompany its wearer taking roads less traveled.
I also applaud Bulgari for going to the effort of making the Octo Roma Worldtimer water resistant to 100 meters. This means that when the wearer is on the road, they can also easily take the watch for a shower or swim without thinking twice.
The only thing that I would have loved to see is a power reserve a bit longer than the 42 hours offered. Less than two days for a watch introduced in 2021 is a bit on the low side in my opinion, in particular since the ultra-slim Octo Finissimo Automatic has no problem cranking out a 60-hour power reserve.
Bulgari Octo Roma Worldtimer: black or blue?
The great thing about Bulgari and its understanding of design is that the brand only has to introduce two variations on a watch to easily cover 80 percent of the spectrum. While these two models are the same, the use of colors and materials make the two versions seem a world apart. A deep-blue dial, stainless steel case, and matching bracelet make the first version an elegant yet sportive proposition that feels equally at home shopping in Ginza and having dinner in Portofino. It undeniably carries Bulgari’s stylish yet carefree sense of savoir vivre.
Quite different is its darker sibling, whose stainless steel case remains hidden behind a coating of black diamond-like carbon (DLC), which is combined with a black dial and textured rubber strap of the same color. This is a watch with which you explore the Serengeti or take deep into the Amazon.
Its elegance – yes, still there – seems to match perfectly with a rougher, less comfortable, but equally rewarding way of traveling: less Pitti Uomo, more National Geographic.
We see this in particular in the details: the blue-dial Octo Roma Worldtimer offers stainless steel hour markers and no Super-LumiNova on the hands, while its sibling boasts exactly the opposite.
The fact that the brand succeeded in capturing two such different styles of traveling with a single timepiece says a lot about how Bulgari masters the subject. That also explains why such a watch can outshine its more complex siblings.
For more information, please visit www.bulgari.com/en-int/watches/by-collection/octo.
Quick Facts Bulgari Octo Roma Worldtimer
Case: 41 x 11.35 mm, stainless steel with black diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating
Movement: automatic Caliber BVL 257, 6.03 mm height, 33 mm diameter, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency, 42-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; world time
Price: €8,600 (stainless steel case on a stainless steel bracelet); €8,600 (black DLC-coated stainless steel on a rubber strap)