Extreme thinness in horology is a complication in itself and Bulgari has pushed the boundaries of its watchmaking skills to meet this challenge. The maison has already scored two successive world records for creating the slimmest timepieces – for the Tourbillon in 2014, and the Minute Repeater in 2016.
This year, the watchmaker unveils the Octo Finissimo Automatic, the slimmest ultra-thin self-winding watch on the market to date, measuring just 5.15mm in total thickness, while its self-winding movement is only 2.23mm thick.
Brand ambassador Kris Wu was on site at Baselworld for the launch
Each element of this 40mm watch was conceived and designed at the outset to ensure its extreme overall slenderness. Merely slimming down or miniaturising existing elements would be far too simple – and certainly not Bulgari’s way of doing things.
As such, Bulgari has developed a new in-house movement to drive the Octo Finissimo Automatic: the calibre BVL 138. At just 2.23mm thick, it has earned its place as the slimmest self-winding movement currently on the market. An offset small seconds hand is an additional refinement. To ensure it runs smoothly, it beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (vph) and has a 60-hour power reserve. Automatic winding is accomplished via the platinum microrotor. The watch is water resistant to 30 metres. The movement is hand-decorated with Côtes de Genève and circular-grained finishing.
Choosing to work with certain materials is another attribute of the Bulgari brand and, after gold and steel, the case and dial of the Octo Finissimo Automatic are now attired in titanium, featuring a sandblasted surface that gives this watch a contemporary yet elegant look.
To reveal its latest world record, Bulgari is also introducing a skeleton-worked new interpretation of its Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, the world’s slimmest tourbillon.
The Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Skeleton is driven by an ultra-thin, entirely openworked tourbillon comprising 253 parts, featuring 13 jewels and eight ball bearings.
Beating at a frequency of 21,600 vph, the movement has a power reserve of 62 hours. This exclusive movement houses a barrel held by three ball bearings, an innovative feature serving to double the height of the barrel spring and increase its power reserve by 80 per cent – an impressive accomplishment in such a slim tourbillon model. The case of this new Octo is made of platinum.
To continue with its transparency theme and explore a new dimension, Bulgari also introduced the Octo Tourbillon Sapphire. This watch is a new interpretation of the formal octagon. The eight-sided geometrical figure now comes with a new case inspired by the motifs adorning the Basilica of Maxentius. As always at Bulgari, there is no question of separating form and substance and everything is first and foremost about balance and beauty.
With its transparent case-back and dial, this 44mm timepiece made of titanium with a black diamond like carbon (DLC) treatment offers a full view of its inner workings. The mechanical manual-winding flying tourbillon movement, calibre BVL 206, appears at the heart of the watch with 11 black DLC-coated bridges adorned with green bars of ITR2 – a single composite material laden with carbon nanotube particles and a hardness comparable to metal – and SLN, a high-tech luminescent material which enables the watch, at night, to give out all the light it has received during the day.
In addition, the Octo Tourbillon Sapphire incorporates a clever development relating to its time-setting operations: pressing the crown displays a red dot in a tiny aperture at 3 o’clock, thereby signalling that the time may be set by simply turning the crown.
Once the operation is complete, another press causes the dot to vanish and locks the time-setting mechanism.
This watch is secured to the wrist by a matching black alligator leather strap with a folding clasp.
WATCH THIS SPACE
STYLE is on the ground at Baselworld, bringing you sneak previews, exclusive interviews and debut highlights.