Audemars Piguet vs Bulgari is not a routine comparison. AP is known for its nearly 140 years of continuous premium watch production. In contrast, Bulgari only became a true luxury watch manufacture in the year 2000 – the same year that Audemars celebrated its 125th anniversary. Today, the upstart Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic takes the fight to Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak “Jumbo” in a matchup of worth rival and reigning champion.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra Thin (“Jumbo”) is a faithful update of the 1972 Gerald Genta-designed Royal Oak 5402. Today’s Royal Oak Jumbo goes by the reference 15202ST.OO.1240ST.0, and it maintains closer ties to its pioneering ancestor than the rival Patek Philippe Nautilys 5711 maintains to its 1976 reference 3700. The Royal Oak Extra Thin is 39mm in diameter, 8.1mm thick, built with a true-to-history monobloc stainless steel case, and it is powered by the same Audemars Piguet caliber 2121 from 1972’s debut model.
Today’s Royal Oak 15202ST includes the boutique-exclusive blue galvanized “Petite Tapisserie” hobnail dial. As ever, the dial is cut on a pantograph engine, but the work has been done in-house by AP since 2012. And that was the year that this particular version of the Jumbo launched at SIHH. Its dial features are completed by a date window, white gold hour indices and hands, and Super Luminova for night time use.
AP’s caliber 2121 is an ultra-thin automatic movement based on the 1967 Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 920 ebauche designed for Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin. The ultra-thin 2121 (3.05mm with date) beats at 19,800 vibrations per hour, and its power reserve amounts to 40 hours. A Gyromax-style free sprung balance, 36 jewels, 50-meter water resistance, and a solid gold skeletonized winding mass complete the roster of refinements.
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic launched at Baselworld 2017 and made an immediate impact among watch collectors and the industry at large. Its 40mm sandblasted titanium case is only 5.15mm thick, and that was sufficient at the time to establish the reference 102945 as the world’s thinnest automatic watch. Accolades continued all the way to the 2017 GPHG at which the Octo Finissimo Automatic was awarded the “Best Men’s Watch” prize – quite an honor within an industry that is dominated by men’s watches.
The titanium case, bracelet, and folding clasp of the Octo Finissimo Automatique ensure a remarkably comfortable stance on the wrist of its owner. A dial of matching sandblasted titanium keeps the monotone aesthetic in place, but this 200-piece limited edition adds blue hands and blue lacquered dial features.
Within the ultra-thin titanium case, the Octo Finissimo Automatic sports a manufacture caliber BVL138 automatic movement. Winding is accomplished by means of a platinum winding mass with ceramic rotor bearings; a 55-hour power reserve surpasses that of the Royal Oak. A full balance bridge, 21,600 VpH beat rate, 36 jewels, and 30-meter water resistance round out the features. This 2.23mm ultra-thin movement is 36.6mm in diameter, and it fills the sapphire display caseback of the Octo Finissimo Automatique in magnificent fashion. Finish is high horology-level with mirrored anglage, perlage engine turning on the base plate, poli noir (black polish) on screw heads, and cotes de Geneve stripes across the bridges.
The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic is encased in 40 mm of titanium on a titatnium bracelet. Features include hours, minutes, and small-seconds. The watch also measures 5.1 mm in thickness and 48.8 mm from lug-to-lug.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo is encased in 39 mm of stainless steel surrounding a bracelet. The watch also measures 8.1 mm in thickness and 47.8 mm from lug-to-lug.
For complete details, watch the full review!
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