The Sound of Time
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.
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.