By Katherine Arteche
There are two types of men who like cars — those who also like sports, and those who prefer more leisurely pursuits such as concert‑going. And just for these gentlemen with their differing lifestyles, Bulgari has reinvented the Octo Maserati watch with two new special editions.
The Bulgari Octo Maserati GranSport and GranLusso each carries its own personality in a sporty or elegant expression respectively. The GranSport has a darker color palette of black and blue, including blue stitching on the black calf-leather strap as well as blue accents on the jumping hours, minute hand, and retrograde minutes. The minutes are indicated “0” through “6” on the black lacquered grain dial via polished rhodium-plated indexes. The all-black DLC treatment to the stainless-steel case provides a more robust look to its rose-gold counterpart. The GranLusso is framed in an 18K rose-gold case that surrounds an anthracite sunburst dial accented with matching gold features. Its brown calf-leather strap is finished with a matching gold deployant buckle.
Both watches, fitted with the self-winding caliber BVL 262 that houses a 42-hour power reserve, were presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017, marking the third series of Octo Maserati watches since their inception in 2012.
At this point, however, let’s back-track a bit to talk about the partnership between two of Italy’s most iconic brands. While collaborations between brands are common, many of these have turned out to be contrived unisons of two separate entities in a single product. We’ve seen our fair share of car-and-watch pairings, and what sets the partnership between the Italian houses of Bulgari and Maserati apart from the rest is their innate compatibility.
Looking at the creations from Bulgari and Maserati, we can see distinct similarities. Bulgari’s Octo, with its eight-sided angular case and round bezel, has carved a niche for itself as a watch collection that is elegant yet edgy — a trait that is straight out of an Italian style playbook. The partnership with Maserati adds a new dimension, offering watches that are tailored for the swift and suave gentlemen. Maserati is known for sleek, athletic designs even while offering some of the best high-performance vehicles in existence. The trident logo embodies the characteristics that have given the company its heralded status — courage and strength. Yet, despite so, what separates a Maserati from other supercars is that its style is not flashy, but one of subtle elegance — a classy factor that it shares with Bulgari. In this respect, the brands’ deep Italian roots have worked to their advantage.
Says Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, “When you think about Bulgari, it’s about beauty, tradition and craftsmanship, and Maserati has the same values. We resonate very well for each other’s client base.” From the popularity of the Bulgari Octo Maserati, whose technical and aesthetic beauty has converted even those skeptical about co-branding, it seems the brands have found in each other a kindred spirit that brings out the best in them.
The first Bulgari Octo Maserati in 2012 was powered by caliber GG 7800, which featured jumping hour and retrograde minutes, emulating how gauges are read on an automobile dashboard. The watch was bulky, taking up a 45mm stretch on the wrist, and sported a busier look with a tachymeter scale on the bezel, in addition to the hour and minute counters. Even though blue dials weren’t in fashion then, the dial was decorated with silver and blue vertical stripes to replicate car-seat upholstery. In the 2015 version, the blue dial remained (minus the stripes), and the watch was fitted with a chronograph movement BVL 328 which powered the sweeping hours, minutes and seconds counters, as well as a date window, and housed a longer power reserve of 50 hours. Later in that same year, the BVL 262 caliber, which we see today in the new Octo Maserati watches, debuted in Bulgari’s first Octo Mono-Retrograde model, albeit fitted in a different orientation. The minutes were swept from left to right instead of bottom to top, and the jumping hour aperture was at six instead of three o’clock.
The 2017 Bulgari Octo Maserati GranSport and GranLusso no longer have the tachymeter scale. The dials have also been cleaned up so that the watches look sleeker in their 41.5mm case. The constant evolution and improvement of the Bulgari Octo Maserati collection — with two editions this time that communicate the varied lifestyle choices of their owners — is good news for the gentlemen who love their cars as much as their watches. And even better if they’re Italian, too.