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.
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.
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.
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.
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.