While Bulgari is undoubtedly best known among watch enthusiasts these days for its record-setting ultra-thin timepieces, most notably within the Octo Finissimo collection which we covered earlier this week, the Italian brand is also well regarded for both its high-horology and high-jewelry creations. Today, we showcase a new model within the former category, the “Masterpiece of Sound” within the Octo collection, the Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon.
The new haute horologerie creation was “designed to raise the level of sensorial expression through sound,” accomplishing this goal by bringing together a three-hammer chime with a tourbillon regulator — Bulgari’s ultra-modern take on a traditional but uncommon complication. The limited-edition minute repeater joins the brand’s previous versions of that mechanism, released within its Octo Finissimo line and in the Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie watch.
The Carillon Tourbillon has a 44-mm case in DLC-coated, matte finished titanium, a metal chosen for its relatively clear diffusion of sound for the minute repeater compared to steel or precious metals. The look of the case is familiar within the Octo line, complete with the circle-on-octagon bezel that best signifies it. The case otherwise is quite modern-looking, with open-work riveting on its sides, sharply angled lugs that provide highlights on the otherwise matte case, a sharply finished left side, a white-gold minute repeater button, and a stylized, white-gold-and-ceramic set crown at the 3 o’clock position.
Speaking to the case riveting, Bulgari tells us the design was “specially conceived to enhance sound performances,” with the openworked nature of it allowing the sound produced from the chimes to exit the inner chamber and “broadcast as much as possible.” Topping the case is the aforementioned circle-on-octagon bezel, the top circle of the Octo Roma featuring a more rounded and curved look in comparison to the flatter, thinner style of the related Octo Finissimo.
The skeletonized dial underneath the sapphire crystal sports a metal-and-matte black style recalling stereo boxes, and designed to reduce the amount of metal that might interfere with the clean chiming of the minute repeater. The foremost features on the dial are, of course, its minute repeater hammers toward the 10 o’clock position, which are fixed on the casebody to more effectively transmit sound. Like the riveting on the sides of the watch’s case, there is also a slightly hollowing between the inner and outer case to allow for an even more effective transmission of sound from the three-hammer carillon to the listener’s ear.
As for other details on the dial, we can glimpse areas of the movement underneath the riveting of its skeletonized face — two of the most prominent features being the open-heart tourbillon regulator at 6 o’clock and a spring that appears to hold the power reserve for the chimes at 5:30. At the center of the dial are two skeletonized, dauphine-style, matte metal hands for the hour and minute, sweeping over the printed Bulgari logo at 3 o’clock.
Flipping the Carillon Tourbillon over, we find a complex and beautifully finished caseback showcasing the movement. Along the outer edge of the caseback proper, Bulgari has used hollowing similar to that used in other areas of the watch, and once again implemented to help in the sound quality and transmission of the striking hammers. Underneath the sapphire window is Bulgari in-house Caliber BVL428. The manually-wound mechanism features \a frequency of 21,600 vph, skeletonization throughout with DLC-coated bridges, and a 75-hour power reserve displayed via an indicator. The movement, of course, also incorporates a tourbillon and a three-hammer carillon with Westminster chime for its minute repeater.
Overall, the Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon represents an uncommon take on a minute repeater, bringing together unorthodox materials, colors, finishing, and movement construction in order to yield a contemporary avant-garde creation. Whether it will appeal to the extremely small audience of minute repeater tourbillon buyers more so than more traditional examples remains to be seen, though it nonetheless stands as a an impressive horological touchstone, one that is firmly on-brand with the contemporary Bulgari watch department: forward-thinking, innovative, and unusual.
The Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon will be limited to 15 total pieces, each priced at $259,000 and available later this year through Bulgari and its authorized boutiques.
To learn more and inquire for purchase, you can you visit Bulgari’s website, here.