A SLIVER OF WHIRL
The eight sided thin wonder.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, the record-holding thinnest tourbillon watch today.
COMING IN AT A SHADE under USD140k is the most impressive Octo Finissimo Tourbillon. True to its name, this iteration of the Octo has an undeniably fascinating 5mm ‘thick’ octagonal case that belies a supreme secret within. Bulgari captured the “World’s Thinnest Tourbillon Movement” title at this year’s Baselworld by slipping within that ever-so-thin case a mechanical heart just 1.95mm in thickness. That would be thinner than the coins in your pockets. Utterly impressive considering the diameter of the movement comes in at 32.6mm.
Allow us to take a deeper breath before we expound on what is present in that wafer thin movement. Said title was claimed by the brand with all 249 components of the movement coming together in a one-minute flying tourbillon. Just throwing together all those parts would not cut it—so Bulgari had to pull some tricks out of their proverbial hat in order to achieve the seemingly impossible.
Of course, in that hat is actually masses of watchmaking knowhow at the Bulgari manufacture. During the research stages, the watchmakers were presented with the problem of trying to squeeze all that movement into a tiny space. Step by step, the watchmakers brought forth solutions.
The flying tourbillon cage was initially the thickest part of the movement so the watchmakers incorporated it into the plate. There are two bridges. They are both employed to support the minute wheel and gear train of the tourbillon cage respectively. In many spots, instead of jewels, we find ball bearings taking the frictional load for the watch. The tourbillon cage pivots on a clever mechanism driven with said bearings. Elsewhere, the base movement itself utilises several ball bearings accordingly. A further trio of ball bearings work to position the barrel and allow for the length of the spring within the barrel to be doubled. 55 hours of power reserve is thus derived from this barrel. Furthermore, the design allows for timing to be adjusted directly at the balance wheel. This removes the need for a conventional regulator assembly thus thinning the movement further.
Let us not forget the design elements of the watch. Clearly, in order to be named as such, it must possess the recognisable aesthetics of the Octo line—an eight-sided case shape juxtaposed against design elements of minimalist art deco. At the fascia, the black dial is lacquered and polished to provide shine and captivating depth. To suit the nobility of the watch, the case is crafted out of platinum. Inside, the lucky owner can enjoy a myriad of never-ending decorative finishes. Present are beveled plate and bridges, decorated with Côtes de Genève. The gears are not left untouched as they are beveled and circular satin-brushed. Even the screw heads and slots are beveled and polished. As a final step, Bulgari has complemented the watch with a handsome black alligator leather strap that matches the colour of the dial and a buckle of platinum to match the case materials.
Top: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon in platinum.
Left: Explosion of movement of Calibre Finnisimo Torubillon.