Ultra-thin watches: not too long ago this was the exclusive territory of dress watches. Brands like Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe and Piaget, ruled in this domain. Yet as many things in the watch industry change, so also this. In more recent times having the world’s thinnest mechanical watch (with or without a complication) seems to have turned into a showdown between Piaget and Bulgari, who put a distinctly different spin on things!
The brilliance of Bulgari goes further than just the movement. Yes, they are superb, they are ultra-thin, but it is how they are presented in which Bulgari has obtained a renewed interest in these ultra-slim watches. Until recent they where mainly dress watches, with classic design and precious metal cases. When Bulgari introduced the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater in 2016, one could argue that they opted for a titanium case because this makes the watch sound better than if they would have used a precious metal. The Octo Finissimo Tourbillon from 2014 was, after all, crafted from platinum. But titanium was here to stay and this was especially important when they introduced the Octo Finissimo Automatic.
This is the most mainstream model within the collection, and the titanium not only kept the price competitive but also gave the watch a very contemporary look, aiding the unique case design. Also when wearing the watch, the titanium not only heats up to body temperature in no time at all but also is very light. Combined with the thinness of the watch this means excellent wearing comfort.
What is very impressive is how many records Bulgari has broken in the last four years. The Octo Finissimo Tourbillon from 2014 had a movement with a height of only 1.95mm, and measured 5mm cased. This year they even improved that watch, with the automatic version of the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon. While the height of the movement remains 1.95 mm (despite adding automatic winding) the overall case height is now 3.95mm. This gives this watch three records: the world’s thinnest automatic watch, the world’s thinnest tourbillon, and the world’s thinnest automatic tourbillon. This is an incredible performance, especially when you realize that the Octo Finissimo Automatic has an already impressive overall height of 5.15mm.
Bulgari also continues to develop their Octo Finissimo collection, now offering their minute repeater also in carbon. While we should applaud them for creating these mechanical marvels, we should give them a standing ovation from making the ultra-slim mechanical movements relevant again by taking them out of their traditional environment of classic dress watches and into that of highly desirable contemporary watches.