Bvlgari Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar – Piece Unique
Bulgari achieved what no other manufacture has, five out of six of their newest timepieces have entered final selection of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. In Shanghai, they showcased their most complicated Octo yet – Bvlgari Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar.
Few watchmaking brands attempt Grande Sonnerie complications for good reason. Highly complicated, deeply technical and with a severe shortage of watchmakers capable of creating and servicing such complications, only the most self-assured manufacture would endeavour the creation of a Grande Sonnerie. But in 2011, Bulgari joined the ranks of the highest of watchmakers with a Daniel Roth Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar. Since then, the maison has fully integrated the manufacture and released a slew of award winning creations, accruing accolades and for 2018, Bulgari achieved what no other manufacture has, five out of six of their newest timepieces have entered final selection of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, alerting competitors to Bulgari’s flourishing watchmaking prowess. In Shanghai, they showcased their most complicated Octo yet – Bvlgari Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar.
Piece Unique Bvlgari Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar
Including Tourbillon, Minute Repeater, Petite and Grande Sonnerie, Perpetual Calendar, astrological moonphases and GMT complications, the new Bvlgari Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar is the single most complicated watch for the integrated manufacture – this is a serious piece of horology – considering that Grande Sonnerie chimes the hours and quarters, with 8760 hours in a year, a continuously operation Grande Sonnerie will actuate over 400,000 gongs and chimes – that’s a lot of wear and tear from an engineering perspective and it’s a technical challenge which Bulgari has not only mastered but improved upon.
If repeaters and chiming watches were domain of the elite niche which Bulgari joined so early in its watchmaking infancy, with the Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar, the brand proves they are no mere interloper, they belong. Following up on the fantastic work of the Octo Grande Sonnerie, the 923 component Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar calibre is a natural heir to the line of Grande Sonnerie models including the Grande Sonnerie Magsonic, L’Ammiraglio del Tempo and Sonnerie Carillon Tourbillon launched by the dedicated Bulgari atelier in the Le Sentier manufacture over the years – it is as if Bulgari has taken up mantle of perpetuating 400 years of Italian Opera in horological form.
Housed within the Octo case, Bulgari has taken lessons gleaned from their earlier Grande Sonnerie and incorporated an innovatively structure midcase for the piece unique Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar. Striped lateral grooves combine with a circular inner ring within the midcase, as if wrapping the Sonnerie calibre in a warm embrace, allowing for maximum amplification and the propagation of the sound. Essential improvements considering that “musicality” is the raison d’etre of the Westminster Carillon chimes, gongs, Grande Sonnerie, Petite Sonnerie and Minute Repeater complications the new Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar embodies.
World of Watches has learnt that the watch was sold to a collector in Asia and as such, it is good fortunate that Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Bulgari has had the foresight and gone to the effort of allowing the blessed owner of the latest Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar to activate the striking mechanism by pushers instead of sliding a bolt, this ensures at least 30 metres water resistance, a necessity in Asia’s humid climes.
Aesthetically, the Perpetual Calendar aspect of Bulgari’s most expensive Octo is among some of the cleanest we’ve ever seen. Even with the transparent dial showing off the well finished components of the BVL 5307 calibre, the calendar indications are well positioned and kept in specific “quadrants” of the dial, allowing for a relatively clean look. From left to right, 9, 6, 3 we find calendar displays for weekdays, date and day. Leap year indication is neatly tucked just under the 6 o’clock date pointer while power reserve indicators for both timing and chiming sit unobtrusively at 2 and 4 o’clock accentuating the Bulgari Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar’s angular case aesthetics.
Like the greatest Italian operas of the 20th century were written by men like Giacomo Puccini, Gian Francesco Malipiero and Sylvano Bussotti; in the realm of contemporary makers of Grande Sonnerie complications, Bulgari can count itself among the greatest of our modern era.