The Sound of Time

L'officiel Singapore - - Contents - BY KENNY LOH

Two years af­ter the su­per-slim Octo Finis­simo hit the mar­ket, Bul­gari steals the show yet again with a record-set­ting minute re­peater model that’s the thinnest, clear­est and slick­est ever built.

Two years ago at Baselworld, Bul­gari launched the Octo Finis­simo, a su­per-slim ver­sion of the pop­u­lar Octo that made its de­but in 2012. The watch had the same, in­stantly recog­nis­able case which was nei­ther cir­cu­lar nor square in shape, but oc­tag­o­nal, just like the lofty im­pe­rial ceil­ings in Rome (the Ital­ian city is the birth­place of Bul­gari). Only 5.00mm thick (about half the height of its pre­de­ces­sor), the Octo Finis­simo nat­u­rally picked up street cred with a more youth­ful au­di­ence – women, es­pe­cially. “The high-per­for­mance, ul­tra-thin time­piece is the ul­ti­mate ex­pres­sion of the Octo,” says Bul­gari CEO Jean-christophe Babin. “It is a com­pen­dium of our tech­ni­cal and aes­thetic know-how.”

To ful­fil the quest of ex­treme slen­der­ness in its de­signs, Bul­gari would spend the en­su­ing years de­vel­op­ing an­other record-set­ting model for the same line. Its goal was not to make the ex­ist­ing Octo Finis­simo tick­ers slim­mer than they al­ready were, but, rather, adapt a high com­pli­ca­tion – the minute re­peater, which chimes the hours and min­utes when ac­ti­vated by a pusher or slider – for the slen­der cases of the new Octo Finis­simo Répéti­tion Minute. De­spite the com­plex­ity of the horo­log­i­cal com­pli­ca­tion, the Ital­ian house’s brief to its watch­mak­ers was as straight­for­ward as could be, and that was to achieve per­fect sound within the small­est space pos­si­ble.

The nov­elty of a minute re­peater is, no doubt, its sound qual­ity, and for the Octo Finis­simo Répéti­tion Minute to hit the finest notes, its case had to be crafted from a metal that was much lighter and of a lower den­sity than the more com­mon steel, gold or plat­inum. This led Bul­gari’s watch­mak­ers to ti­ta­nium. Fur­ther­more, to bet­ter am­plify the res­o­nance of the com­pli­ca­tion’s chimes, the hour mark­ers and small sec­onds counter on the watch’s dial (also made of ti­ta­nium) were clev­erly cut out for sound to come through.

Stay­ing true to the slim­ness of the Octo Finis­simo range was im­por­tant. For that to hap­pen, ex­perts at the Bul­gari man­u­fac­ture in Le Sen­tier had to put to­gether a new, minia­turised ver­sion of the minute re­peater cal­i­bre. “The beauty of the Finis­simo is, as its name im­plies, that it is ex­tra flat. There­fore, we are work­ing with a move­ment that is very, very lim­ited in height,” Babin adds. The re­sult is the re­mark­able, 3.12mm-thick BVL 362 cal­i­bre (there are 362 parts in to­tal), which, housed in a 6.85mm-thick case, makes the Octo Finis­simo Répéti­tion Minute the thinnest minute re­peater in the mar­ket.

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1. De­vel­op­men­tal sketches of the new Bul­gari Octo Finis­simo Répéti­tion Minute. 2. The hour mark­ers and the small sec­onds counter on the time­piece’s dial are cut out for sound to bet­ter am­plify through the case. 3. Pow­ered by a 3.12mm-thick cal­i­bre, the new Bul­gari Octo Finis­simo Répéti­tion Minute now holds the record as the thinnest minute re­peater in the mar­ket. 4. The BVL 362 minute re­peater cal­i­bre mea­sures a mere 3.12mm in thick­ness.

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