To round up the year, the Revolution editors share their personal picks for the watch that defined 2021. Revolution’s Editorial Head for Asia Sumit Nag tells why the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ceramic Chronograph GMT “Nuclear Option” for Revolution & The Rake is THE watch for him.
First a trigger warning: The following post is dedicated to a watch that we at Revolution were intimately involved in conceiving: the 30-piece limited edition Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ceramic Chronograph GMT “Nuclear Option” for Revolution & The Rake. And it is for me, myself and I, the watch of 2021. Why?
In the time that I’ve journeyed with Revolution, there have been multiple significant moments. Within that list, one moment that makes me particularly proud to be a part of this team is a memory from Baselworld (long live Baselworld). We were at the Bulgari booth witnessing, for the first time, the record-breaking Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater with its amazing, sandblasted grade five titanium case and titanium skeletonized dial. Quick note, that the dial on this watch is skeletonized for practical reasons. One that it is functional in an acoustic way; it also removes the necessity of having printed or applied markers (thus playing a part in height reduction) and allowed a glimpse of the movement beneath.
The simple point in recounting this moment is that we were so awestruck by the timepiece that later in the year when our friends at Bulgari took us on a journey to produce and launched our first collaborative limited edition, the Bulgari-Revolution Octo Finissimo Petite Seconde 50-piece Limited Edition, we knew that we absolutely wanted to pay tribute to the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater in one form or another.
What we landed on was that the Bulgari-Revolution Octo Finissimo Petite Seconde should have the titanium skeletonized dial from the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater. Shares Wei Koh, the founder of Revolution & The Rake, “Upon agreeing to collaborate on this watch, the first subject was creating two small design distinctions. The first that we would use was the same 0.3mm-thick dial found on the minute repeater, but with the small seconds transplanted to seven o’clock. What else can we do to further distinguish the watch? We soon arrived at the mutual conclusion that the dial must have skeletonized Roman numerals in homage to the brand’s Roman roots. In particular, I love how beautifully the skeletonized “6” has been integrated into the skeletonized track of the seconds subdial. There is nothing more charming than to be offered a glimpse of the sumptuously perlaged baseplate of the watch through the slots of the skeletonized dial.”
From 2016, it would be another four years until we got to write chapter two of the Bulgari x Revolution & The Rake partnership with the 25-piece limited edition Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT “White Light”. The timepiece was executed with the classic sandblasted titanium case of the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT but for the first time featured a tachymeter on its bezel and a stark white dial that was completely covered in lume such that the indications stood out in negative relief. Most amazingly, this is a watch that we conceived while the world was in lockdown and announced just as we were coming out of a prolonged season of self-isolation.
Thankfully it didn’t take us another four years before we got to drop our next limited edition with Bulgari. But that’s really because while we were discussing the prototype for the “White Light” there was a second prototype on hand that we simply couldn’t stop thinking about. Now, the intention behind “White Light” was that it should look like a normal white dial chronograph in daylight but as soon as you move into darkness, it should glow with perfect visibility and remain luminous for a long time.
Speaking about the dial on the second prototype, Wei shares, “It was a dial that was so luminous that it basically glowed at maximum bright green incandescence all the time. It was so incredibly luminous that it almost gave the illusion of the watch having an LED screen. Accordingly, we named this dial the ‘Nuclear Option’. Even though it was passed over for the “White Light” project, we couldn’t stop thinking about the dial. It was just so cool. When I asked Buonamassa [Fabrizio Buonamassa, Director of Watch Design at Bulgari] what kind of watch the “Nuclear Option” dial should go into, he immediately replied, “It should be the ultimate stealth material for maximum contrast, like black sandblasted ceramic.” And with that, the follow-up to the “White Light” chronograph was born: The “Nuclear Option” for Revolution and The Rake.
To have been able to witness brilliant minds such as that of Fabrizio Buonamassa and the rise of the Octo Finissimo as a present-day icon, since its nascent days; to have been able to do this from the special vantage point of having collaborated on three special timepieces, all of which allowed us to push the Octo Finissimo’s potential to extremes; it is for these reasons and more that the Octo Finissimo occupies a special nook in my mind, and as well why the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ceramic Chronograph GMT “Nuclear Option” for Revolution & The Rake is for me, the watch of 2021.