Bulgari has already broken several horological thinness records at Baselworld, and now we know that the Italian brand didn’t plan to make an exception this year: After the launch of the world’s thinnest tourbillon movement at Baselworld in 2014 (thanks to a 1.95-mm-thin, hand-wound movement in a 5-mm case), the thinnest minute repeater in 2016 (with a 3.12-mm-thin movement in a 6.85-mm case) and the thinnest self-winding watch, at only 5.15 mm in 2017, Bulgari has now managed two break two records at the same time:
At just 3.95 mm thick, the new Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic is not only the thinnest tourbillon watch, but also reclaims the title as the thinnest serially produced automatic watch from Piaget (last December, Piaget briefly became the record holder for the world’s thinnest serially produced automatic watch, coming in at only 4.3 mm thick).
In the case of the new Tourbillon Automatic, Bulgari based the overall construction of the movement on the Finissimo tourbillon movement launched in 2014. The new caliber – BVL 288 – handles automatic winding not via a micro-rotor (like the Octo Automatic), but via a peripheral oscillating weight positioned on the back of the movement:
The oscillating weight is made of white gold and aluminum, two metals whose contrasting density (16.4 versus 2.70 grams per cm³) should enable the circular weight to oscillate more efficiently. The movement also incorporates a flying tourbillon equipped with a ball-bearing system to contribute to the reduced thickness. Measuring just 1.95 mm thick and offering a 52-hour power reserve, Caliber BVL 288 is housed in a sandblasted 42-mm titanium case (which is 2 mm bigger than the previous Minute Repeater, the Automatic, and the Tourbillon, and most likely due to the added oscillating weight). The movement seems to be partially visible through the caseback: “An opening on the back of the watch, depicting the stylised motif adorning the entrance of the boutique on the Via Condotti in Rome, provides a chance to admire both the tourbillon and the oscillating weight in action,” says Bulgari.
What might be even more impressive: Bulgari has once again managed to combine haute horlogerie with high practicability. Yes, the brand has broken a watchmaking record for the fourth consecutive time, but just as important, Bulgari has never lost sight of its goal to manufacture a watch that’s both impressive on the spec sheet and relevant as a product: after all, the watch comes with a titanium case and bracelet, a water-resistance of 30 meters, a 52-hour power reserve and a unique, contemporary design. There aren’t that many watches in this league that can be worn easily as an everyday watch. This one also happens to be the thinnest mechanical watch currently available.
Stay tuned for real-life pictures from Basel.
Model: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic
Movement: Caliber BVL 288 in-house skeleton automatic movement, equipped with a tourbillon carriage mounted on a peripherally-driven ultra-thin ball-bearing mechanism, flying tourbillon; indication of the hours, minutes and small seconds; 1.95 mm thickness, 52-hour power reserve
Case and dial: 42-mm case in sandblasted titanium, 3.95 mm thick; numbered sandblasted titanium crown with ceramic inlay; caseback with opening shaped like the entrance door to the Via Condotti boutique in Rome, water-resistant to 30 meter; skeletonized open dial
Bracelet: Sandblasted titanium bracelet fitted with a triple-blade folding clasp
Price: 125,000 euros (approx. $154,000)
50-piece limited edition