Bulgari’s “buzz” replica watch from this year’s Baselworld was undoubtedly — and deservedly — the groundbreaking Octo Minute Repeater, which set a new record for thinness in its category. However, not to be overlooked was the brand’s new Bulgari Octo Ultranero Replica collection (we covered it here), with its handsome combinations of black DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) and rose-gold elements. In a post-Basel meeting at Bulgari’s HQ in New York, I found myself drawn specifically to the new Octo Ultranero Velocissimo Chronograph — noticeably so, it turns out, since the Bulgari team subsequently suggested I wear it for a week while attending the recent replica watch and jewelry trade shows in Las Vegas. They didn’t need to ask me twice. Below are my impressions from a week in Sin City with the replica watch.
The replica watch makes an immediate impression with its famous octagonal case — another contribution to replica watch design history by the legendary Gérald Genta, whose other horological brainchildren include the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus. The combo of shiny black and matte black with polished rose gold and brushed rose gold is appealing as one might expect. The multi-layered Octo case catches the eye with its brushed-finish round bezel layered over the octagonal, polished-finish base.
The multifaceted, multilevel case is all sharp angles and smooth, straight edges and yet is extremely comfortable on the wrist and also not excessively large or heavy, though not every wearer might agree with me here. I can report that the replica watch, at about 13 mm in thickness, did not have a problem staying discreetly tucked under any of my dress shirt cuffs, not that I was all that concerned with hiding it from admiring eyes. The polished black dot inset into the rose-gold screw-down crown was a nice touch; even nicer was the use of gold screws to anchor the black DLC caseback around the see-through window.
It’s best if you’re not overly concerned with the date, as it is tucked away, quite unobtrusively, between the 4 and 5 o’clock indices and can be easily overlooked but not so easily discerned in low lighting. The white type on black background makes the small date numeral blend seamlessly with the rest of the dial, but here’s a case where the design blasphemy of a less elegant, black-numerals-on-white-background date window may have improved legibility. (One stops worrying about the day and date quite easily while running around to and from events and appointments in Las Vegas, so this was not, frankly, something, that caused me much concern during my review period.)
For those uninitiated in the corporate hierarchies of replica watch brands, Bulgari shares corporate parentage with TAG Heuer, Zenith, and Dior Timepieces under the LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) luxury group. Thus, Bulgari’s replica watchmakers have access to one of the replica watch world’s most prestigious chronograph calibers, the Zenith El Primero, which they have used here as the basis of Bulgari Caliber BVL 328. As aficionados of this movement are aware, it features an integrated, column wheel-controlled stopreplica watch mechanism, a silicon escapement, and an ultra-speedy balance frequency of 36,000 vph — which means, in practical terms, that the replica watch can theoretically time events down to 1/10th-second accuracy (velocissimo, indeed).