Originally released in 2014, the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo burst onto the watchmaking scene as Bvlgari's latest entrant into the world of angular integrated bracelet timepieces inspired by Gerald Genta's signature design language. Since then, the Octo Finissimo has been Bvlagri's most often-used vehicle for horological innovation. In such a short span of time, it has housed the world's thinnest minute repeater, the world's thinnest automatic tourbillon amongst plenty of other "world's thinnest" records.
Famed for its angular and multi-faceted design, Octo Finissimo is a mesmerising watch, but one variant stands above the rest as the most visually unique and aesthetically progressive, the Tadao Ando Limited Edition. Designed in collaboration with famed Japanese architect Tadao Ando and first released in 2019, the variant I have here is the second generation of the initial titanium limited edition, now entirely in sand blasted ceramic. With only 160 pieces produced, it was quickly sold out and remains today as one of the most collectible sport watches in the market.
Featuring several nods to its designer, with Tadao Ando's signature on its exhibition caseback being the most obvious, the ref. 103534's dial displays a spiral concentric pattern engraved within its blue-lacquered dial radiating from its off-centre and unmarked running seconds hand. With an applied gold crescent moon (a "Mikazuki" in Japanese) placed at the 5 o'clock position, this timepiece symbolises the transitory nature of time and the moon's importance to humanity as a clock and calendar before the invention of clocks, watches and other timekeeping devices.
Crafted from black sandblasted ceramic, the ref. 103534 is a sleek-looking watch that bears no stylistic resemblance to any other Octo Finissimo that came before it aside from the shape of its 40mm case and integrated bracelet. With its nearly monotone colour scheme reminiscent of the night's sky, the ref. 103534 is an artistic creation before it is a timepiece, as highlighted by its lack of hour markers, logos, inscriptions or other clutter that might distract from its visual beauty.
While the Tadao Ando did indeed fixate on the design of his watch, Bvlargi were sure to give it their best movement possible to guarantee its watchmaking credentials. As such, the Tadao Ando Octo Finissimo features Bvlgari's in-house automatic cal. BVL 138. Incredibly thin and enabling the watch case to measure in at a very impressive 5.5mm thick, the cal. BVL 138 packs an equally impressive 60 hours of power reserve and can be found on display behind the sapphire crystal exhibition caseback at the back of the watch.
While Bvlgari have only recently been recognised as a legitimate watch brand largely due to their critically acclaimed Octo Finissimo line, I am sure that these watches will be a future classic with rare editions like the Tadao Ando you see here today front and centre of it all.