An Octo Roma WorldTimer! And no it’s not another record-breaking Finissimo but a Roma this time. Before we get to this new addition, let’s delve a little into the Octo. This octogonal shape with a round bezel is creating quite a stir amongst its peers in recent times. When we mention iconic timepieces with a strong brand recall there are certain watches that come to mind almost immediately, well most of which were designed by the mastermind – Gerald Genta. Contrary to what Bvlgari confirms, the Octo is also more than often attributed to the man himself and if you look that the architecture of the case, the design and geometrics of the watch, you will see what I mean. That being said, this elegantly understated model with its instantly recognisable case has established itself within a few short years as one of the most emblematic and timeless models of 21st century Haute Horlogerie.
Now coming to the Geneva Watch Days 2021 novelty – the Octo Roma WorldTimer. Bvlgari has introduced two new versions for this: a satin-brushed and polished stainless steel version and a black steel livery with sandblasted surfaces. Since it is a Roma, the lines and angles are way softer than those on a finissimo, giving this 41mm watch a rather elegant and sleek look.
With regards to the actual worldtimer function, it enables instant reading of the time in 24 cities, i.e. in 24 time zones. The layout of the dial information features a central display of the hours, minutes and seconds combined with a double rotating disc on the outer edge: one for the 24 reference cities and another with a 24-hour graduated scale.
The functions can be adjusted via the crown, first positioning the city of the chosen time zone at 12 o’clock, then setting the time until the hours and minutes hands indicate the exact time in the selected time zone – while ensuring that the 24-hour indicator corresponds to the afore-mentioned chosen time zone. This new version of the world time function joining the Octo Roma collection is driven by a new integrated movement – the BVL257 Mechanical self-winding, developed and produced by the Manufacture in-house.
However while the WorldTimer is both fundamental and eminently useful in an age when travelling from one end of the planet to the other, how often do you actually use that particular function? The Octo Roma WorldTimer aims to travel the world in the Bulgari spirit. This means for example choosing to represent the Caribbean not by Bermuda but instead St. Barts: a super-cool destination embodying the heart of luxury in the region. Which then brings me to my next question. Why do most watch brands choose not to incorporate the Indian timezone in their worldtimers? Backed by our current economic development in the given circumstances, a growing middle-class population and increasing aspirational consumers, the size of the Indian luxury market is projected to surpass $200 billion in 2030. Not a figure to overlook I’d say! It would be interesting to see more brands accommodating the half and quarter-hour timezone in their worldtimer watches. I mean the function is categorically developed for globetrotters right?
Setting aside all the thinness records that Bvlgari has achieved year after year, manufacturing an in-house worldtimer is yet another testament to the brands dedication and inclination towards fine watchmaking as opposed to be labelled as jewellers who manufacture watches.