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Introducing: Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon

Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon

Most of the time it’s Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo that’s the main haute horology talking point from the brand, the insane, ultra-slim record-breakers they bring out yearly. For 2021 however, it’s the Roma that’s making its voice heard – a voice which, thanks to the titular complication of the new Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon, is charmingly melodic.

A traditional carillon is, in essence, the lovechild of a piano and a belltower, an instrument that plays notes by chiming bronze bells. Obviously, there’s no array of mini Big Bens in this watch; instead, rather than the usual single gong used in chiming watches, the carillon complication uses a series of them.

Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon

The key difference between traditional chiming watches and this is a difference in key; rather than the order the chimes come in, you can tell whether it’s minutes or hours audibly. In this case, a series of three hammers chimes a C note for hours, the mid note for minutes and the mid-re-C notes for quarters. And yes, it’s as complex a mechanism as it sounds.

Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon

The shiny new, manually wound BVL428 is made up of 432 components. The average manual-wind watch has about 130. That includes hand-made gongs hardened at a temperature of 900 degrees and two separate barrels – one for the chimes, one for the watch proper with an impressive 75-hour power reserve.

Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon

The lovely sound of the chimes is helped along by both case and dial construction. Both dial and case middle have been openworked with a grille pattern to help enhance the sound performance and stop it getting blocked, complete with a fully open tourbillon at 6 o’clock.

Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon

The case itself is substantial, 44mm of black DLC coated titanium, with a white gold crown and chiming push button. It’s bigger and chunkier than the Finissimo, but still has that Octo angularity. It makes for a pretty intimidating timepiece, and that’s before you get down to the exclusivity. It’s limited to 15 pieces, POA. Of course.

Price & Specs:

Model: Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon
Case/Dial: 44mm diameter, black DLC coated titanium case with matte finish
Movement: In-house Bulgari skeletonized BVL428 calibre, hand-wound, 26 jewels
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power Reserve: 75h
Functions: Hours, minutes, power reserve, minute-repeater, chiming repeater (Carillon), tourbillon
Strap: Black rubberized alligator strap with black DLC coated titanium 3-blade folding buckle
Price/Availability: POA, limited to 15 pieces

More details at Bulgari.

About the author

Sam Kessler

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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