Under its stainless steel and ceramic skin, the Bvlgari Octo Bi-Retro (ref. OBR.Y.1C) is essentially the same gorgeous Gerald Genta Octo Bi-Retro with its exterior slightly tweaked to be more in line with the Italian fashion brand’s current design language.
It looks like the Italian maker of ultra-expensive jewelry items is going to gradually close down the Gerald Genta brand. Although there is no official information in this regard, it is not normally a good sign for a smaller brand when their product suddenly gets a redesign to follow the guidelines of a company that now owns the marque.
There is nothing wrong with it: it is always better to have an exit strategy that involves the transfer of a healthy amount of money and/or securities for the right to use the name and designs, but, frankly, there is nothing more heartbreaking for yours truly than seeing yet another “consolidation of portfolio” when it comes to old watchmaking specialists not capable of surviving on their own.
Powered by the same GG7722 automatic caliber, the Octo Bi-Retro features a “jumping hour” complication that is becoming more and more fashionable as time goes by and a pair of retrograde hands for the minute and date indicators.
Beating at standard 28,800 vibrations per hour, the mechanism stores enough energy to keep going for at least 45 hours when fully wound. This is not a small feat at all since the amount of energy needed to push the minute and date hands from “60” to “00” and “31” to “01” positions respectively while changing the numeral in the hour window is overwhelming.
This, as I have already noted, is a beautiful watch. Bvlgari’s version of the Octo Bi-Retro features a well-balanced color scheme with black and different shades of gray dominating its face almost undisputedly, with only a minor touch of red, which is used to print the “CAL 7722” mark at 6 o’clock.
Some may find this 43-millimeter case a bit too massive, however, the relatively large (at least for a dressy timepiece) size of the Octo Bi-retro is compensated by the low height of the case. Measuring just over 12 millimeters from top to bottom, the case is comfortable even with formal attire. Also, thanks to its shorter lugs the luxury gadget’s overall length is limited to just 48.50 millimeters making it suitable for, perhaps, the majority of male wrists out there.
My single complaint as to its dial layout comes from its hour indicator. To my taste, Bulgari should have finally introduced a uniform double-digit representation of all the numerals that are indicated on the dial. At least, this kind of solution would be more congruent with the retrograde minute hand’s scale.
See also: Nienaber Bünde Retro 2 Retrograde
Bvlgari Octo Bi-Retro in Steel and Ceramic (ref. OBR.Y.1C) specification
Price range: $18,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber GG7722, automatic, in-house, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 28,800 vph
Complications: Jumping hours, retrograde date, retrograde minutes
Power reserve: 45 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Case shape: Octagonal
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire crystal
Size: 43.00 mm
Case height: 12.40 mm
Dial: Black and gray
Hands: Steel, polished (the retrograde minute hand is open-worked)
Strap: Black rubber with triple-bladed steel folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated (antireflective)
Back: Sapphire, antireflective
Water resistance: 100 meters