Bvlgari Adds to the Octo Roma & Re-Introduces the Gerald Genta Mickey MouseBy Sumit Nag
Bvlgari has switched gears for Geneva Watch Days 2021, to put focus on the Oco Roma, another key member of the brand’s Octo family of timepieces with three brand new executions. There is also one other addition outside of the Octo Roma pieces that we’ll mention towards the end that’s sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. For now, onward with the Octo Roma.
The Octo Roma is as much a creation of the twenty-first century as its sibling, the Octo Finissimo. The timepiece is however a much more rounded expression of the Octo’s elegance when compared to the sharp lines of the Finissimo. We can even point this out on a practical note, in that the Finissimo’s sharper, angular outlook can be attributed directly to the 110-odd facets that form its case. The Roma on the other hand expresses a rounder and softer outlook with drastically fewer facets, 58 to be precise. Regardless, what can be said for certain is that the Roma very much retains the signature Octo silhouette.
Octo Roma WorldTimer
For Geneva Watch Days 2021, Bvlgari is imbuing the Octo Roma with three different complications, starting with the highly desired, world timer. The Octo Roma WorldTimer will be offered in a 41mm 904L stainless steel case with a blue sunburst dial. The alternate version is in black DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) finished 904L stainless steel with a matt black sandblasted dial.
For the world time indication on the face of the watch, Bvlgari has taken a rather novel approach, with central hours, minutes and running seconds and the city ring paired with a 24-hour ring. Interestingly, in line with Bvlgari’s mantra for luxurious living, some of the traditional cities representing the different time zones on city ring have been replaced with luxury destinations frequented by globetrotters or are cities where a Bvlgari hotel is located or is marked to be the site of a future Bvlgari hotel. One such instance is the placement of St. Barts on the city ring, in place of Bermuda.
Bvlgari suggests that the watch can be set using its crown, first placing the home time city at 12 o’clock on the dial and then adjusting time on the central hands to local time, making sure to set it such that the 24-hour ring is correctly lined up to show the time of day for your city of choice, representing home time. The complication is enabled by the integrated calibre BVL257, developed and produced by the brand’s manufacture in Le Sentier.
Movement: BVL257 Mechanical self-winding movement with WorldTimer, hours, minutes and seconds, 24 time zones and 24-hour indicator; 42-hour power reserve, frequency: 28,800 Vph (4Hz); 26 jewels; diameter: 33.00 mm; thickness: 6.03 mm
Case and dial: Case in 904L stainless steel, 41 mm diameter with satin-brushed/polished finish, satin-brushed/polished bezel, 11.35 mm thick, transparent back, screw-lock steel crown set with a ceramic decoration and serving to set the time as well as the cities indication; water-resistant to 100m; blue sunburst dial and indicators, applied brushed rhodium-plated gold hour-markers OR case in 904L steel, 41 mm diameter, black sandblasted DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) finish, 11.35 mm thick, transparent caseback, screw-lock crown in DLC steel set with a ceramic decoration and serving to set the time as well as the cities indication, water-resistant to 100 m; matt black sandblasted dial and indicators, hour-markers enhanced with Super-LumiNova® (SLN), hours and minutes hands with SLN
Bracelet: Satin-brushed/polished steel bracelet with triple-blade folding clasp for all steel version and black textured rubber strap with DLC steel pin buckle for black DLC coated version
Octo Roma Tourbillon Central Papillon
The combination of Daniel Roth’s poetic Papillon time display along with the central flying tourbillon was first seen in — of course — a Daniel Roth case, in 2015. Roth’s basic idea with the Papillon was to have a jumping digital hour display at 12 o’clock paired with two lozenge shaped minute hands that swing out into place, and take turns to sweep across the arched minute scale on the lower half of the dial. The transition from one hand to the other, starts at the 55th minute of every hour, as the active hand slowly retracts over the last five minutes of the hour and the second one folds out and swings into the first mark on the minutes scale at the top of the next hour.
Bvlgari states that the Papillon device consumes less energy when compared to traditional minute displays and therefore taxes the going train’s power reserve less.
For 2021, the complication has been reprised within the Octo Roma as a 41mm rose gold piece with a matt black dial serving as the stage for all of the Papillon drama. The movement enabling the timepiece is the Calibre BVL 332, which has a total power reserve of 60 hours.
Movement: Mechanical hand-wound Manufacture movement, central flying tourbillon, Calibre BVL 332; minutes indication by means of patented device with two rose gold Papillon hands, 24-hour jumping hour display via a disc on a ceramic ball bearing, power-reserve indicator on the back; 21,600 vph (3Hz), 30 jewels; 60-hour power reserve; 330 components. Diameter: 34 mm; thickness: 8.76 mm
Case and dial: 41mm rose gold case, transparent sapphire back, rose gold crown with black ceramic insert; black matt dial with opening revealing the tourbillon cage and the Papillon system
Strap: Matt black alligator strap, rose gold folding clasp
Gerald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney
For the last announcement at Geneva Watch Days 2021, Bvlgari has chosen to delight, with the reprisal of the Gerald Genta Mickey Mouse. It was in the 1980s that the man responsible for some of the most pertinent watch designs of the late 20th century, acquired the rights to use Disney characters on his dials.
But the idea he had in mind was not a banal one, rather he wanted to incorporate the characters on his dials in a way that would involve time indication. Thus you have instances where Mickey Mouse is pointing out the minutes with his retrograde hand, or is wielding a retrograde golf club to indicate the minutes. The indication of hours on the retrograde pieces were always achieved with Genta’s jumping hour indication. And it wasn’t always Mickey on the dial, there were instances featuring Minnie, Donald, Goofy and etc.
Bvlgari does seem to be on a mission to bring back the Gerald Genta brand as a meaningful addition to its watchmaking capacity, since having acquired it in 2000. Most recently, we saw the Gerald Genta 50th Anniversary Arena Bi-retro in platinum, in 2019, which was followed by the Gérald Genta Arena Bi-Retro Sport in titanium, in 2020.
This year, Bvlgari is adding to the fold, the Gerald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney. What is great about the timing of this announcement is that Bvlgari has chosen to do so just as the vintage versions of these watches are becoming a lot more sought after and are on an upward price trajectory. For those who are unsure of navigating the world of buying vintage, Bvlgari is therefore offering these individuals with a contemporary option that can be purchased with confidence.
In fact, to rally watch collectors and lovers of this particular chapter of Genta’s watchmaking legacy, Bvlgari has also taken upon itself to launch a new website that will serve as a digital gathering point for these like minded individuals.
For now, the 2021 Gerald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney is being offered in a 41mm steel case, featuring Mickey, of course, set on a rhodium-plated sunburst dial joyously kicking up his heels and pointing out the minutes with his retrograde hand. The hours are indicated using a jumping mechanism placed on the right side of the dial.
Last point to note is that the Gerald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney will be produced in a limited run of just 150 pieces.
Movement: Mono-retrograde movement, jumping hour aperture at 5 o’clock, retrograde minutes hand on a 210-degree sector, 26.20 mm diameter, 28,800 vph, 42-hour power reserve
Case and dial: Polished steel case, 41 mm diameter, water-resistant to 100 m; LIMITED EDITION OF 150 engraving the caseback; fast time-corrector at 9 o’clock. Rhodium-plated sunburst dial with minute markers and Mickey Mouse. Lacquered minutes hand with Mickey Mouse arm
Strap: Red textured padded rubber strap; Gerald Genta folding clasp in polished stainless steel
Limited edition of 150 pieces