In the lead-up to Watches & Wonders 2023, Bulgari has released their updated Octo Roma line with a trio of time-and-date models and, in a first for the Roma collection, a pair of chronographs. Standing out from the crowd has always been easy for the Octo Roma collection because Bulgari has been able to take inspiration from historical Roman architecture and in the Roma’s case, modernise it for a casual and versatile look.
Initially introduced in 2017, the Octo family (including the Finissimo) takes their octagonal shape from the coffering found on the vaults of the Basilica of Maxentius in the Roman Forum dated around 310 AD. The Roma series isn’t as aggressive as the Finissimo, with only 58 facets compared to 110, providing a more casual look.
The time-only Octo Roma Automatic has one obvious point of difference – the Clous de Paris motif on the dial. Immediately this new hobnail pattern adds an industrial character to the watch, once more toning down the high-fashion inspired nature of the Finissimo. A water resistance rating of 100m provided by a new crown protector adds further evidence that this is a far more casual sports watch than previous offerings in the Octo family.
The dimensions have not changed with a 41mm stainless steel case and a thickness of 9.15mm, and neither have the alternating stain-brushed and polished surfaces. The main difference comes down to the new interchangeable bracelet/strap system on the reverse side of the case. A simple pusher releases the bracelet which can be replaced with the rubber strap provided by Bulgari, or one of your own.
The movement is still the same in-house automatic calibre BVL 191 Solotempo with a frequency of 28,800vph, 26 jewels, and a 48-hour power reserve.
If these time-only Octo Roma’s weren’t casual or sporty enough for you, then the new chronograph is for you. It is only slightly bigger than the time-only variants measuring in at 42mm in diameter and 12.4mm in thickness but considering the chronograph features that’s still remarkably slender. The pushers are very well integrated into the case nestling themselves between the lugs and crown to look almost seamless, adding to the octagonal motif.
This is powered by a new movement, the BVL399, providing a 42-hour power reserve, which as of yet is the only thing Bulgari have shared about the new movement.
Considering the Octo Roma is the entry point to Bulgari’s collection, the tweaks and updates have upped the price from $7,200 USD to ~$8,500 USD (€7,900), but it still stands as a quality watch under $10,000 USD. These are worth considering thanks to their unique design, but if what brought you to Bulgari was the Finissimo, you may miss the aggressive presence here. If that doesn’t bother you though, then the Octo Roma is worth a good look.
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