Bulgari Octo Finissimo Watch by Tadao Ando Resembles a Slab of Concrete

Limited-edition Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic by Tadao Ando 4 photos
Photo: Bulgari
Limited-edition Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic by Tadao AndoLimited-edition Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic by Tadao AndoLimited-edition Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic by Tadao Ando
Simple geometry has never been more stunning than in the latest, limited-edition watch from Bulgari, the Octo Finissimo Automatic by Tadao Ando.
Sometimes, less is more – and nowhere is that more apparent than in the creations of this Japanese architect.

Tadao Ando, the esteemed, self-taught architect from Japan largely credited for “redefining” concrete, is lending his artistry to the latest timepiece from Bulgari. It’s not a new watch per se, but a reimagining of the 2017 classic Bulgari Octo Finissimo, which also happens to be the slimmest automatic watch in the world.

Ando is famous for incorporating large slabs of concrete into vast expanses of wood, to create enclosed spaces and unexpected sources of light. His work includes the Church of the Light, the Poly Grand Theater in Shanghai and the expansion of the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts. With exhibits all over the world, Ando has also taught classes at Yale, Columbia and Harvard, and since 2003, has held the title of Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo.

“At times walls manifest a power that borders on the violent,” Ando once said of his obsession, near-idolization of walls of concrete. “They have the power to divide space, transfigure place, and create new domains. Walls are the most basic elements of architecture, but they can also be the most enriching.”

Octo Finissimo Automatic by Tadao Ando, announced at the end of last year and available as of the time of press, draws inspiration from the concrete the architect works with on the regular, and comes very close to resembling it. It’s stunning through sheer simplicity, a minimalist approach that makes it more elegant and striking.

The limited-edition model, currently available in Japan, is a partnership between Ando and Bulgari’s director of watch design Fabrizio Bonamassa Stigliani. Stigliani says his idea of the reimagined piece could have only worked with input from an artist like Ando.

“I went to see the church of light he worked on,” Stigliani says. “The approach was the same as Octo: simple, with light and shadow, precise details. And I used titanium. We had a common language.”

Much like he did in Church of the Light in Osaka, which uses geometry to create a naturally lit cross and simulate the presence of divinity, Ando uses geometry to create a very unusual dial for the Bulgari piece. The spiral motif emanates from the second hand and creates the impression of a wave rippling across the entire dial, but because it’s painted black, it’s a wave frozen in concrete.

Limited\-edition Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic by Tadao Ando
Photo: Bulgari
To further drive home the comparison with a gritty slab of concrete, the dial is stripped of every other detail you’d expect on a watch. There is virtually nothing on it, save the ripples and the hands: no logo, no numerals, no indices. With all this, the piece remains highly legible.

Made of titanium, the Aldo Bulgari watch measures 40 mm in width and 5.15 mm in height, so it retains the slim factor of the original model it was based on.

While the dial is all somber, there’s a (virtual, horological) party in the back. A clear sapphire caseback allows the wearer to admire the inner workings of the self-winding mechanism with platinum micro-rotor, the automatic BVL 138. The Bulgari logo is present more than once, as is the “limited edition” one. Ando’s hand signature is also incorporated into the design, which comes in sharp contrast with the front of the watch.

The Tadao Ando Bulgari watch will be made in just 200 copies, each retailing for the equivalent of $18,300. Each piece comes with a matching titanium bracelet and case, which makes it very lightweight. Add the sleek design and slim factor, and you get a watch that is as stunning as it’s elegant, and a potential collector’s item given its limited release.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Elena Gorgan
Elena Gorgan profile photo

Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories