In an industry dominated by vintage romanticism, it is a breath of fresh air to see a design unashamedly focussed on the future with a laser-like precision. Watches and Wonders brought many new and attractive designs to the market, but perhaps none appealed so strongly to me as this: the Tadao Ando Ceramic Octo (otherwise colloquially referred to as the ‘toenail’ Octo). This is the third collaboration with the Japanese architect and, in my view, the most attractive.
Tadao Ando is acclaimed for his use of concrete and glass contrast in abstract geometric patterns. He uses these materials and shapes, with small reveals, to create unique textures through lighting. I recommend this Habitus article for a deeper read. His third take on the Octo Finissimo utilizes these principles. The dial features a sort of pebble-in-the-water radial ripple realized in a deep blue lacquer. The deep blue is meant to mirror a night sky. Its sandblasted ceramic case is a marvel of engineering in itself. As if we had any doubt that Bulgari are taking watchmaking seriously after the first Finissimo, they’ve realized the entire bracelet and clasp in ceramic. Most manufactures give up at the clasp. Almost every else, in fact. Bulgari paid extreme attention to the details. The yellow gold crescent revealed at five is meant to symbolize the Mikazuki moon, a Japanese symbol of rebirth. To those of us outside the land of the rising sun, a toenail.
Just 160 Tadao Ando Octos were produced. There’s nothing to comment on in this example. It’s a few months old, hardly worn, and comes with a full set (extra links included). The market is still fresh, so there’s some churn. Expect a premium, though it’s not a poor choice to park a substantial chunk of money at all. The first Tadao Ando is quickly becoming a classic and I wouldn’t expect this beauty to be any different.
Find this Tadao Ando Octo Finissimo here from Subdial for 18900 GBP.