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He Wore, She Wore

How do men and women wear watches differently? To find out, Worth watch columnist Keith Strandberg and Worth senior editor Jessica Thomas wore two of Bulgari’s finest new releases for a week. Here’s what they found out.

BY Keith W. Strandberg | Life | Jul 12, 2019
Bulgari The Octo Finissimo Chronograph The Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT. Photo by Keith Strandberg

Bulgari is a brand on the rise, garnering attention for its style and for its watchmaking acumen. So, when Worth editor Jessica Thomas and I thought about doing a men’s and women’s “wrist review,” Bulgari immediately sprang to mind as a good candidate. Here are our experiences.

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Keith

The Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT. Photo by Keith Strandberg

I immediately knew which watch I wanted to try: The Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT. I saw this watch for the first time in March of this year at the Baselworld watch show, where it was unveiled and set the new world record for the thinnest automatic chronograph (that’s the watch movement). Bulgari even added a GMT function to the watch, and it was still the thinnest.

For Bulgari, making things thinner is important because Bulgari CEO Jean Christophe Babin and company think it makes the wearing experience more luxurious and more elegant. But at the same time, the watches have to stay tough and robust. It’s no good have a thin watch that you have to treat with kid gloves.

When I opened the box and held the Octo Finissimo in my hand, it was honestly hard to believe that it was an actual mechanical watch. It was so light and so comfortable, and the matte finished titanium is distinctive, subtle and very attractive.

The entire Finissimo line of watches is billed as everyday watches, so I was determined to treat this thin masterpiece like any other watch. I wore it to do everything I normally do during the day: at work, on walks with the dog, on a run with my son, and I even washed my hands (though a bit carefully, I have to admit—due to the Octo Finissimio’s extreme thinness, it is only water resistant to 30 meters) while wearing it.

Then, to test its utility, I took the Octo Finissimo on a time zone-crossing trip and found it to be very easy to use, the pusher on the left side of the case making changes to the local time very simple.

During the week I had the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT, I put it through its paces and it performed fantastically. I received a ton of comments from people who loved the look, then were flabbergasted when they saw and felt how thin and light it actually was. This is a remarkable watch.

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 Jessica

The Serpenti Spiga. Photo by Jessica Thomas

I’m interested in watches but by no means an expert—yet even I know the lore of Bulgari’s Serpenti design. It’s so eye-catching that I once spied a Serpenti on the wrist of a Marriott International executive from across the room at a dinner and had to make my way over to get a closer look before the end of the night.

So when I had to choose a Bulgari watch to test, the decision was easy. Plus, Bulgari released a new Serpenti Spiga at this year’s Baselworld. The piece they loaned me to try out was a beauty: A single-spiral, 35 mm brown ceramic watch with a quartz movement and 18 kt rose gold elements with embedded diamonds.

It’s a watch that deserves to be dressed up, and as luck would have it, I had a black-tie wedding to attend. I was wary at first about the Spiga’s brown color—my dress was black—but the metallized treatment on the Spiga suggests different colors depending on the light. In sunlight it looks almost purple; in the gloaming it could be black.

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I loved the versatility of the Serpenti Spiga. Though it’s a beautiful and distinctive piece of jewelry, I chose to wear it as much as I could during the week I had it, and the Spiga worked as well with my everyday work clothes as it did with a gown. The Spiga proved to be among the most comfortable watches I’ve ever worn, so light and flexible, if it weren’t so striking you could forget you were wearing it. I’m left-handed and wear my watch on my right wrist for comfort, and I thought that the Spiga looked like it fit slightly better on my left wrist, which meant the face was closer to my wrist rather than the spiral, but it wasn’t a difference anyone other than the wearer would notice.

Like Keith, I recommend seeing this piece in person—it’s hard to convey its beauty in photographs.

—Jessica Thomas

The suggested retail price for the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT is $17,600 and the Serpenti Spiga is $12,000. For more information call 1.800.BVLGARI or visit bulgari.com.

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