Bulgari makes headlines again, this time with “the world’s thinnest automatic movement“. After presenting the thinnest Tourbillon watch and movement (Baselworld 2014) and thinnest minute repeater (Baselworld 2016), we hoped Bulgari would set its sights on breaking yet another record. We were not disappointed…! Presenting the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic powered by a staggering thin 2.23 mm self-winding movement. Let’s take a closer look at the new world record holder.
Avantgarde architecture, striking shapes, a love for linearity, these are all hallmarks of Bulgari design. In this respect, the Octo perfectly captures the essence of the brand and has become its most iconic watch design. So much so that one model has been transformed into an entire men’s watch collection boasting some impressive watchmaking credentials, including two world records (thinnest tourbillon and thinnest minute repeater). It’s the perfect blend of Swiss watchmaking expertise fused with an Italian sense of style…
This alluring watch, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo, now comes with automatic winding, powered by the in-house, record-thin BLV138 developed and manufactured at the Bulgari manufacture in Le Sentier.
This large (36.00 mm) self-winding movement is an evolution of the manual wound BLV128. In place of the power reserve indicator, which is visible at the back of the calibre BVL128, a micro-rotor has been cleverly integrated instead. Due to their smaller diameter, micro-rotors have a lower degree of inertia, hence a denser metal, in this case platinum 950, is used. Not only has this made the watch more practical by allowing for automatic winding, it has also led to the creation of an incredibly lithe automatic movement, just 2.23 mm thick! In fact, with the BLV138, Bulgari improves upon the Piaget Altiplano’s record of 2.35 mm (with their calibre 1208P).
Yet, the development of the movement has been much more complex than just adding a micro-rotor to the existing BLV128. It required thorough expertise to push the limits of movement design, working with the most precise tolerances. Managing power (kinematic chain) and the use of space within the movement are critical. The BLV138 runs at 21’600 vibrations/hour (versus 28’800 for the BLV128). The automatic winding requires the use of a different mainspring, which explains the slightly reduced power reserve despite the lower frequency. Still, at 60 hours, it is rather impressive, given the thinness of the movement and it is indeed sufficient with automatic winding. In addition, a special inverter mechanism maximizes the winding efficiency in this Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic.
The decoration of the movement includes fine, beautiful Geneva stripes, perlage and nice anglage. Its architecture features four large bridges, a thin full balance bridge and a small bridge to hold the rotor in place.
The case of this Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic is 40 mm in diameter but feels much larger because of its slender profile – it is indeed only 5.15mm thick. The finish of the case, in sand-blasted titanium, is splendid, further enhancing its crisp angles and precise curves. Its design is nicely emphasized by the sober, dark grey look of titanium. The crown is set with a ceramic inlay.
Beyond the extreme thinness of the watch and the mastery of shapes, the simple outward appearance of the ulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic is enhanced by the pure, refined design of the dial, the finish of which nicely matches the case. It features the Octo’s baton-style hour markers and elongated Arabic numerals at 12 and 6. Like the movement beneath, its thickness has been reduced to the bare minimum. The small seconds is indicated between 7 and 8 o’clock, directly from the seconds wheel to keep the movement as flat as possible.
The Octo Finissimo automatic is worn on an ultra-flat alligator leather strap integrated into the case and with no stitching. It is also available with a sandblasted titanium bracelet, elegant looking and masculine at the same time. It is closed with a folding clasp ensuring a comfortable fit on the wrist whilst being flexible and light-weight with a slightly grainy feel.
It is not by chance that Bulgari has set this rather impressive series of records… The Octo Finissimo automatic supplies further evidence of the brand’s horological credentials. Still, whether you care about records, does not really matter (I don’t care personally). Like its manual wound siblings, the self-winding Bulgari Finissimo is simply magnificent while offering the added practicality of automatic winding. It is dressy, super-slim and comfortable. Its micro rotor movement is stunning, the type of work we crave here at Monochrome… Even its price feels justified, considering the incredible work on both the movement and the case – CHF 11,900 on alligator strap, CHF 12,900 on titanium bracelet. More details on www.bulgari.com.
Technical specifications – Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic
- Case: 40mm diameter x 5.15mm thick – titanium, sand-blasted – sapphire crystal on the front and on the back with antireflective coating – Water resistant to 30m.
- Movement: Calibre BLV138, in-house – automatic winding (platinum micro-rotor) – 36.00mm x 2.23mm – 60h power reserve – 21’600 vibrations/h – 31 jewels – hours, minutes, small seconds.
- Bracelet: alligator leather strap or titanium bracelet with folding clasp.
- Price: 11,900 CHF on alligator strap, 12,900 CHF on titanium bracelet