With the 2011 Octo Quadri-Retro Chronograph (ref. BGO45BSCLDCHQR) Bulgari keeps on consolidating the legacy of Gerald Genta: an independent brand that they have recently, um, absorbed. This particular model, for example, is a face-lifted and rebadged version of the Gerald Genta Arena Chrono Quattro Retro “wristboard” model that was presented two years at Baselworld 2009 if memory serves me well.
Originally inspired by dashboards of classic American muscle cars, the Arena Chrono Quattro Retro featured four retrograde indicators (minutes at 12 o’clock, date at 6, a chronograph 12-hour totalizer at 9 and a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock) as well as a jumping hour indicator at 12 o’clock.
The new version of the chronograph retains the same basic dial layout, but comes in a new, less extravagant, and, well, simply more discreet design.
Compared to the original model, the Bulgari’s take is also more legible: thanks to the high-contrast black-and-silver (different shades of it) color scheme, the Octo Quadri-Retro Chronograph with its multiple retrograde displays is easier to read in normal lighting even despite the numerals being a bit smaller and less, um, graphic than those on the Gerald Genta version.
Of course, nighttime legibility is another matter since there is not a single drop of lume on the dial. However, I get the idea behind the decision not to go that route: with all the numerous indicators in need of Superluminova treatment, the timekeeper’s dial would probably look either like a Christmas tree or a sports car’s instrument cluster, which is not particularly inspiring when it comes to a sporty dress watch of this sort.
As you can see in the pictures, the Octo Quadri-Retro Chronograph is presented in an octagonal stainless steel case equipped with a ceramic bezel.
The matte-black bezel not only offers unrivaled scratch-resistance but also serves as a beautiful form for the art-deco-styled dial.
The setting crown, which is set with an onyx cabochon looks somewhat frivolous and out of style here, but otherwise, the timekeeper looks wonderful.
Whole 45 millimeters in diameter, the Bulgari Octo Quadri-Retro Chronograph would probably be a bit problematic to wear with formal attire. On the other hand, oversized chronographs are still all the rage among wealthy customers so, if you really desire to wear this piece of beauty with a tailor-made suit, your bending of rules would probably be forgiven safe for the most old-school crowd.
Another notable thing about this gorgeous wristwatch is, of course, the movement that powers it. While there is still plenty of expensive timepieces that are animated by simple ETA blank movements with third-party add-on complication modules, this one has a nice caliber GG7800 beating inside its steel body.
Designed by Gerald Genta and manufactured in-house within their former production facilities, this relatively slow-beating mechanism (its balance wheel vibrates at a pace of just 21,600 semi-oscillation per hour) is built on 37 jewels and offers a pretty standard guaranteed power reserve of 47 hours.
If you liked the Metropolis, you will most certainly like the new version of the Arena.
Bulgari by Gerald Genta Octo Quadri-Retro Chronograph (ref. BGO45BSCLDCHQR) specification
Price: $27,700 USD (Retail)
Movement: Automatic, caliber GG7800 by Gerald Genta, column-wheel chronograph, 21,600 vph, in-house, Swiss Made
Functions: Jumping hours, retrograde minutes, seconds, date, and chronograph counters
Power reserve: 45 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 45.00 mm
Dial: Grey and black
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black leather, steel deployment clasp with a push-button release system
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective