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Bulgari - The quest for absolute thinness

Bulgari The quest for absolute thinness

In the space of six years, Octo Finissimo has set six world records for thinness. An epic watchmaking trail blazed by Bulgari, which continues to overturn traditional watch industry codes by revolutionizing the norms of ultra-thinness

It is unique in its kind. Its shape is neither round nor square, but instead a distinctive octagon. Through the atypical look of its 110-facetted case, a skillful combination of edges and flat surfaces, sharp angles and curved lines, the aptly named Octo launched in 2012 paved the way for a formidable display of technical and aesthetic creativity by Bulgari watchmaking. As Fabrizio Buonomassa, the brand’s Product Creation Executive Director recalls: “At the time, we were looking to develop a model that would be in the spirit of the Bulgari creative approach: different, disruptive and not based on the traditional codes of watch design. The Octo was an obvious choice in the combination of a circle and an octagon. We also drew on our historical Roman roots with their wealth of signs and symbols. When it comes to the Octo, one of these emblems is the shape of the octagonal dome composing the roof of the Basilica of Maxentius in Rome.”

The quest for absolute thinness

BVL 318 © Bulgari

Bold and charismatic by nature, the architectural Octo did not take long to become a 20th century watchmaking icon. In 2014, just two years after the launch of the collection, Bulgari once again pushed the limits of its creativity and sprang a fresh surprise with the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, which asserted itself as the thinnest flying tourbillon ever made. This was the first of a long series of world records for thinness achieved by this collection which embodies – probably more than any other – the quintessence of formal elegance and technical virtuosity. “Octo Finissimo represents the perfect fusion of Italian DNA and Swiss expertise,” confirms Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of the Rome-based Maison. “On the one hand, our Italian roots reflect design, boldness and our determination to go beyond all that already exists. The added value of the Finissimo line is also expressed in our absolute mastery of top-of-the-range watchmaking, in compliance with the highest quality standards.” Since 2014, Octo Finissimo’s ultra-thin models have won nearly 60 awards and six world thinness records. A fantastic saga for the undisputed ruler of ultra-thin horology.

2014: Octo Finissimo Tourbillon

Flashback to 2014: the quest for thinness had long since been a concern for the most prestigious watch Maisons when Bulgari took a decisive step in the field of ultra-thin watches by unveiling the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon. At just 1.65mm thick, this 249-part movement immediately established itself as the world’s thinnest flying tourbillon. This unprecedented feat stemmed from innovative solutions such as using ball bearings for the mobile parts of the movement or eliminating index-adjustment. The result was technical virtuosity coupled with remarkable aesthetic understatement for this Octo Finissimo Tourbillon with a 5mm-thick platinum case framing a black lacquered and polished dial.

The quest for absolute thinness

Octo Finissimo Tourbillon © Bulgari

2016: Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater

In 2016, the adventure continued with a remarkably refined model. An incredibly slim case carved from a titanium, a restrained tone-on-tone dial crafted from the same material, a black alligator strap… At first glance, nothing hints at the extraordinary complexity of the mechanism at work behind the scenes. While the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater is distinguished by its extreme elegance, it confirmed Bulgari’s extraordinary technical expertise in the production of ultra-thin watches with horological complications. At just 3.12mm thick, the innovative in-house minute repeater mechanism brought the Rome-based Maison its second world record for thinness.

The quest for absolute thinness

Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater © Bulgari

2017: Octo Finissimo Automatic

In 2017, a new question arose: what if ultra-thinness were to be considered as a watchmaking complication in its own right? Bulgari responded in the affirmative with a third world record for thinness. After the tourbillon and the minute repeater came the turn of the thinnest automatic movement ever introduced. Once again, the minimalist design of the Octo Finissimo served as a showcase for this new mechanism measuring just 2.23mm thin. In rising to this challenge, the design engineers of BVL Caliber 138 Finissimo combined several novel solutions, including the integration of a platinum micro-rotor. This space-saving option served to reduce the volume of the case, with its slender 5.15mm profile, to the bare essentials. This model was honored in its launch year by the Men’s Watch Prize at the GPHG.

The quest for absolute thinness

Octo Finissimo Automatic © Bulgari

2018: Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic

In 2018, four years after breaking its first record with the world’s thinnest manual-winding tourbillon, Bulgari once again stole the show in the field of ultra-thin watchmaking. The 1.95mm movement of the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic set a new standard of thinness thanks to an innovative combination of technical solutions. In addition to the ball-bearing system successfully tested in 2014 on its manual-winding flying tourbillon, Bulgari introduced a peripheral white gold and aluminum oscillating weight. A virtuoso mechanical construction that the brand has chosen to expose on both sides of 3.95mm thick case made in sandblasted titanium, a first!

The quest for absolute thinness

Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic © Bulgari

2019: Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic

The saga continued and reaches new heights in 2019 with the launch of the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic. Its distinctive features was its 3.3mm thick Manufacture-made movement not only offering classic chronograph functions but also powering a dualtime display via an additional pusher 9 o’clock. The original time or “home time” is displayed on a 24-hour scale at 3 o’clock also bearing day and night indications. Winner of the Chronograph Watch Prize at the GPHG in 2019, this high-flying model once again combines watchmaking expertise with visionary design. A concentrated blend of of technology and elegance that enabled Bulgari to break a new record for thinness – its fifth since 2014.

The quest for absolute thinness

Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic © Bulgari

2020: Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic

While the heart of Bulgari’s watchmaking continues to beat to the rhythm of the successive records set since 2014, the Octo Finissimo epic once again proves that it has not yet reached its limits. With a case thickness of just 7.40mm, the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronographc Automatic set a new world record, the sixth in six years. In this model, Bulgari’s prowess lies in the daring combination of a single-pusher double-counter chronograph and a tourbillon, housed in a phenomenally thin 3.50mm skeletonized Manufacture-made movement. A veritable masterpiece of technical miniaturization that confirms the unique place occupied by Bulgari in the quest for ultimate thinness.

The quest for absolute thinness

Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic © Bulgari

 

 

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