Bvlgari will be participating for the first time in the Only Watch auction in Geneva on Saturday, 6 November 2021. Held every two years, Only Watch auctions unique timepieces to fund research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The watch Bvlgari will be donating is an exceptional version of its Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar. Released earlier this year, the Octo Finissimo is the world’s thinnest QP and marks Bvlgari’s seventh record in the arena of ultra-thin watches. To mark the occasion, the 2.75mm thin automatic QP movement is housed in a 5.80mm case made of rare tantalum, a beguiling metal that is resistant to corrosion, biocompatible, twice as heavy as steel and twice as hard as titanium.
Bvlgari’s 7 ultra-thin record breakers
It might be Olympic season, but nothing can eclipse the seven gold medals Bvlgari has taken home for its ultra-thin Octo Finissimo watches since 2014. Ultra-thin movements, considered an art in themselves, are devilishly difficult to create and mastered by just a handful of brands. What is even more astonishing is that Bvlgari has not stuck to simple ultra-thin time-only dress watches; complications are the name of the game, and the very first Octo Finissimo of 2014 was a 1.95mm thin tourbillon movement. The other fundamental difference is that Bvlgari’s Octo Finissimo has redefined the aesthetic of ultra-thin watches in a contemporary, very Italian design language that towers above competitors with its suave, virile yet refined presence.
Following on the heels of the ultra-thin 2014 tourbillon, Bvlgari unveiled the world’s thinnest Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater, with its 3.12mm movement and 6.85mm case in 2016. In 2017, the Octo Finissimo Automatic (2.23mm movement/5.15mm case) appeared (it’s worth noting that Bvlgari’s Automatic was recently upstaged by Piaget’s 2mm Altiplano Ultimate Concept.) Year after year, the Octo Finissimo legion marched relentlessly to victory. In 2018 unveiled the twice victorious Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic; not only was it the world’s thinnest automatic watch, but it was also the world’s thinnest tourbillon watch (1.95mm movement/3.95mm case). The fifth record appeared in 2019 with the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT, the thinnest mechanical chronograph (3.30mm movement/6.90mm case), which also happened to have a GMT complication. In 2020, Bvlgari earned its sixth record for thinness with its Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic (3.50mm movement/7.40mm case) and earlier this year, Bvlgari wowed the world with its Perpetual Calendar (2.75mm movement/5.80mm case).
The world’s Thinnest Perpetual Calendar
Smashing the world record held by Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultrathin (2.89mm movement/6.30mm case), Bvlgari’s Octo Finissimo Calendar is the current King of Thin in the complicated world of perpetual calendars. The layout of the perpetual calendar pays homage to the stylistic imprint of Gerald Genta; a brand Bvlgari acquired in 2000. In honour of Genta’s retrograde displays, the QP features retrograde indications for the date dominating the top half of the dial and the leap years tucked in at the bottom; the days of the week and months are positioned in the lower half of the dial.
As a sophisticated perpetual calendar, it can compute the exact length of the month (28, 30 or 31 days) and, when February has 29 days, automatically takes into account leap years. If kept wound, the Octo Finissimo will not need any adjustment until February 2100. To underscore the slightly blue/grey colour of the tantalum case, the dial is a deep blue lacquered colour, and all the indications are white. The one concession to the Only Watch auction is the use of orange on the ‘O’ and ‘W’ of the month NOV (spelt NOW in this model) on the month counter (orange is the thematic colour of Only Watch this year).
As a one-off piece for Only Watch 2021, Bvlgari has chosen an unusual metal known as tantalum. Discovered in 1802 by Swedish chemist Anders Gustaf Ekeberg, tantalum is exceptionally pure and has a density of 16.6g/cm2. The complex architecture of the 40mm case is made entirely from sandblasted tantalum – save for the transparent caseback. Three correctors in the case band are used to adjust the functions: at 2 o’clock for the date, at 4 o’clock for the month and between 8 and 9 o’clock for the day.
Developed by Bvlgari’s design engineers at the manufacture in Le Sentier, in-house calibre BVL 305 is a marvel of miniaturisation. Measuring 36.6mm x 2.75mm, the automatic movement is comprised of 408 components. The movement is derived from the Octo Finissimo Automatic calibre BVL 138 and shares the same regulating organ, gear train, barrel with 60-hour power reserve and winding mechanism as the automatic. However, it would be a mistake to assume that the perpetual calendar was added on as a module. The perpetual calendar was completely integrated into the movement, and to save space, a micro-rotor was incorporated.
The Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar Tantalum Only Watch comes with a blue alligator leather strap and a tantalum pin buckle. For more details, please visit bulgari.com.
Created in 2005, Only Watch is a biennial fundraiser for research on muscular dystrophy – Association Monégasque Contre les Myopathies (AMM). Organized under the patronage of HSH Albert II de Monaco, the watches of the 9th edition will be auctioned by Christie’s on Saturday 6 November 2021. More details at www.onlywatch.com.