BVLGARI Octo Bi-Retro Review
Let us get a close look at the new and striking limited edition wristwatch from Bulgari.
This Italian designer is known for starting trends and thinking outside of the box. Historically speaking, you can see it in every product they release from their haute couture and most recently to their Haute Horlogerie. Let us begin our detailed and insightful analysis of one of their most recent limited-edition timepieces.
Gerald Genta is one of the most celebrated watch designers. Some of the world’s most memorable and iconic watches in our modern time originated in his right brain including the most popular watch designs from some of the best and the brightest in the business.
It is no wonder that BVLGARI made every effort to acquire every available concept when they made the acquisition of Gerald Genta SA in 1999. This allowed Bulgari to align themselves with others who have had tremendous success using his designs under their watch brand. It became an arsenal of ingenuity and avant-garde design.
Today we are reviewing the Bulgari Octo Bi-Retro 43mm. A celebrated and welcomed addition to the already successful Octo collection that featured some groundbreaking watches such as the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, the world’s thinnest tourbillon watch, among several others.
As its name suggests this watch is all about retrograde. Bi-Retro indicating a double use of retrograde hands in its functions. I must admit that it struck me as a watch that at first seemed to employ a counterintuitive way to tell time. We were always programmed from such a young age to think about time with its archetypal clock layout where hands rotate clockwise in complete circles.
This watch rewrites that and has a look and function that is reminiscent of the dashboard of a high-end Italian sports car. We will now give a thorough explanation of the dial and its many hands. The large central hand is partially skeletonized and is the minute hand. It begins its course at what is between the traditional 7 and 8 o’clock position. It sweeps along an arched track that has 7 segments to it with numerals from 00, through 60 separated in increments of 10. That is great to track the minutes but what about the hour?
The jumping hour is displayed in the central window the way you might expect to see a traditional date aperture. This window is located at the 12 o’clock position just above the central BVLGARI logo. So, if the hour is in a window, where is the date?
The day of the month is displayed in a smaller arched track that is located at the bottom hemisphere of the watch and is a retrograde hand just like the minute's hand. They tend to appear like the RPM dial and speedometer dial on a car. Retrograde hands sweep along a track and snap back to their original position once they reached the end. Hence the name Bi-Retro.
Aside from the dial layout and retrograde two hands, one of the things that makes this watch look different from most other watches in the Octo collection is the black ceramic bezel ring. It has 7 recessed holes in it that appear to be used to fix the bezel to the case using polished screws.
The case is crafted with stainless steel and ceramic materials using a combination of a matte and polished finish. It measures 42.5mm x 48.5mm in diameter with a case thickness of 12.35mm. Like all Octo watches the case is geometrically octagonal in shape and has beveled lugs that connect it to the strap.
The right side of the watch’s case has a black onyx cabochon atop of the winding crown and the left side of the case has a recessed pusher. These are used to wind the mainspring in the watch and to set the watch’s time and date.
The lower-case back is flat and has a matte finish. In its center, it has a raised octagon-shaped cap that holds a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal allowing you to view the mechanical movement within. The back of the watch case is fastened to the middle case with 8 pentagonal-shaped screws that have a polished finish.
The words “LIMITED EDITION” along with the edition number of the watch are printed in an arch shape, in black along the lower half of the crystal. Other markings on the case back include “10 ATM” on the right side for the water resistance rating which translates to a rating of 100m/330ft. It has the words “Stainless Steel” and “Ceramic” engraved on the left side. The serial number is engraved at the bottom. Finally, the double-G icon with two facing Gs for Gerald Genta is engraved on the top right of the case back.
The in-house Bulgari Caliber GG 7722 by Gerald Genta is an automatic winding mechanical movement that oscillates at 28,800 vibrations per hour or 4Hz. It is a 26-jewel movement that has an approximate power reserve duration of +/- 45 hours.
The various plates have a warm color and are beautifully finished with perlage, a radial brushed pattern of concentric circles overlapping one another. The name ‘Gerald Genta’ is engraved on the weighted rotor that allows the watch to have a self-winding feature that recharges the power reserve using the kinetic energy from you moving your wrist around whilst wearing this timepiece. The balance as well as some of the pink watch jewels can also be seen through the see-through crystal on the case back.
The model featured here comes on a black rubber strap that has a raised beveled edge on the front side of the strap that features a carbon fiber texture. The reverse side of the strap that touches your wrist has a smoother finish with a subtle but stylish G pattern texture and has lines that are congruent with the octagonal case shape.
This strap is fastened with a push-button deployant buckle. The buckle folds away neatly underneath the strap and has a smooth clasp that remains visible when fastened. The BVLGARI logo is engraved on the clasp. This clasp uses more than one finishing method and incorporates a matte finish for the center and a smooth polished finish for the edges.
This watch arrives in a large wooden black lacquered box and comes with a handy tool to set the watch.
While this is a limited-edition watch, there a few design variations. Each variation has only 50 pieces available worldwide.
- Reference # 102210 is a Bulgari Octo Bi-Retro 43mm model with a YELLOW, steel, and black dial featured as the main image in this article.
- Reference # 102208 is a similar Bulgari Octo Bi-Retro model but with a RED, steel, and black dial
- Reference # 102257 is the Bulgari Octo Bi-Retro Brazil Limited Edition with a BLUE, GREEN, and YELLOW dial.