Game on! The race between Bvlgari and Piaget to prove who can manufacture the thinnest watch in the world continues. At Baselworld 2017, Bvlgari introduced the Octo Finissimo Automatic, a true luxury sports watch with a bold design and the thinnest automatic movement on the market. At the SIHH 2018, Piaget trumpeted not one, but two world records: the thinnest mechanical watch ever and the thinnest automatic watch. Baselworld 2018 has opened its doors and Bvlgari sets two new records in a single watch: the world’s thinnest tourbillon watch and the world’s thinnest automatic watch. Meet the new Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic – and yes, it is paper thin, at 3.95mm thick.
Although Piaget caught up in the race for ultra-thin at the SIHH 2018, Bvlgari wasn’t short of record-thin watches. Even if Bvlgari’s title for the thinnest automatic watch was challenged by Piaget with its Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P – a 4.30mm thick watch with a peripheral automatic winding system – Bvlgari was still the holder of two records: the thinnest minute repeater watch and the thinnest tourbillon movement. Well, at Baselworld 2018, the Rome-based brand smashes two records – a personal record and one previously held by Piaget. It seems that both companies are in a state of open warfare – a war that is both cordial, legitimate and beneficial for the entire industry. The war isn’t over yet and Bvlgari has just won a new battle.
At Baselworld 2018 Bvlgari sets two new records: the thinnest automatic watch and the thinnest tourbillon watch. Game on!
With the new Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, the brand establishes a new world record for the thinnest automatic watch – defeating the 4.30mm Piaget – and for the thinnest tourbillon watch. The tourbillon record is a bit trickier. When it launched the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon in 2015, Bulgari set the record for the thinnest tourbillon movement, but not for the thinnest tourbillon watch. This was still held by Audemars Piguet, with the 1986 reference 25643 and Ultra Thin Automatic Tourbillon Caliber 2870, which was just 4.8mm thick. With the new Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic measuring 3.95mm and its movement 1.95mm (the same as the 2015 Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, even if the movement is now automatic), there are no doubts anymore. Bvlgari masters the dominion of ultra-thin watches.
How did Bvlgari achieve these two records? With the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, the brand had to find technical solutions in the overall construction (movement and case) in order to achieve this degree of slenderness, yet without altering the brand’s signature Octo design. The movement used is the same base as the 2015 Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Hand-Wound – same gear-train, same regulating organ, same design for the bridges and plates, same overall construction and the same thickness of 1.95mm. Yet, it is now equipped with a self-winding mechanism.
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic handles automatic winding via a technically advanced peripheral oscillating weight positioned on the back of the movement. It is made of white gold and aluminium, two metals whose contrasting density enables the circular weight to oscillate in a particularly regular manner. To gain in durability and in thinness, both the flying tourbillon and the peripheral rotor are equipped with a ball-bearing system – those for the rotor are visible on the dial side at 1, 5 and 9 o’clock. The back of the watch, to reduce thickness, has been reworked and now only shows a small aperture for the tourbillon and a portion of the peripheral rotor.
Besides being record-thin, the movement of the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic offers a comfortable power reserve of 52 hours, is pleasantly decorated and constructed in a rather traditional manner – meaning that, on the contrary to Piaget’s construction, where the main plate of the movement is the case back, Bvlgari still relies on a fully independent movement.
The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic also remains true to the iconic Octo Finissimo design introduced in 2014. Its 42mm case, measuring 3.95mm in height, is made of sandblasted titanium with a matching bracelet. The bold case has no fewer than 110 facets and dozens of sharp angles. Yet, this is compensated by the utmost slenderness of the case and bracelet, offering a more elegant feel on the wrist than you would expect at first.
The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, as the world’s thinnest tourbillon and thinnest automatic watch, is a true masterpiece, which once again sets the tone for future developments. The watchmaking industry is currently a war zone, but one that can bring impressively desirable results. For once, we can say that conflict is an enjoyable option.
The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic will be a limited edition of 50 pieces, priced at CHF 120,000 or EUR 125,000. More details on bulgari.com.