A SLIVER OF WHIRL

The eight sided thin won­der.

Esquire Malaysia Watch Guide - - Contents - Words by Re­mus Ng

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.

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