150 Great­est Hits

The top picks and must-knows from Baselworld 2016

World of Watches (Singapore) - - Contents - WORDS JAMIE TAN

The top picks and must-knows from Baselworld 2016

SOUND EN­GI­NEER­ING

Meet Bul­gari’s Octo Finis­simo Minute Re­peater – the thinnest minute re­peater on the mar­ket yet

An­other year, an­other record bro­ken. Fol­low­ing the world’s thinnest tour­bil­lon watch – 2014’s Octo Finis­simo Tour­bil­lon – Bul­gari has pushed the lim­its in ul­tra-thin watch­mak­ing yet again, this time with the Octo Finis­simo Minute Re­peater. The watch clocks in at 6.85mm thick, and holds a move­ment just 3.12mm high that was de­vel­oped from an ex­ist­ing Ger­ald Genta cal­i­bre.

Mak­ing an ul­tra-thin minute re­peater is ba­si­cally an ex­er­cise in bal­anc­ing com­pro­mises, be­cause the laws of physics can­not be bent, much less bro­ken, when it comes to the time­piece’s acous­tics. There are, of course, things that can be done to re­duce a move­ment’s height with lit­tle ef­fect on a minute re­peater’s sound qual­ity. Com­po­nents can be minia­turised, for one, while spe­cific choices can be made for some parts, such as the use of a flat bal­ance spring in­stead of one with a Breguet over­coil. The strik­ing com­pli­ca­tion it­self, how­ever, is far less for­giv­ing. Reg­u­lar gongs that en­cir­cle the move­ment once may take up less space than cathe­dral gongs, which do so twice, but their chimes will have less “body” and sound softer. A thin­ner watch case also has less in­ter­nal space, which trans­lates into a smaller vol­ume of air that will vi­brate and res­onate with the gongs to cre­ate louder chimes – much like how acous­tic gui­tar bod­ies with less depth do not sound as loud or as rich as their thicker coun­ter­parts.

To over­come the lim­i­ta­tions above, Bul­gari used a two-fold so­lu­tion for the Octo Finis­simo Minute Re­peater. The first con­cerns the choice of ti­ta­nium for the case – Bul­gari set­tled on the ma­te­rial af­ter test­ing it against tra­di­tional ones like gold, which the brand al­ready has ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with. More a “tech­ni­cal” ma­te­rial that’s val­ued in sports watches for its light­ness and hard­ness, ti­ta­nium’s de­sir­able prop­er­ties in this con­text are its low den­sity and hard­ness, two char­ac­ter­is­tics that con­trib­ute to a res­o­nant case with im­proved sound prop­a­ga­tion. Sand­blasted to cre­ate a matte tex­ture, the metal’s us­age here in a watch hous­ing the world’s old­est com­pli­ca­tion is pro­gres­sive to say the least, yet also fit­ting, con­sid­er­ing the record-break­ing na­ture of the time­piece. Case ma­te­rial aside, the other tech­ni­cal so­lu­tion for the watch lies in its dial, also con­structed in ti­ta­nium, al­beit with a dif­fer­ent fin­ish. In lieu of painted or ap­pliqué in­dexes, the dial’s hour mark­ers and small se­cond sub-dial are formed from cut-outs. Ac­cord­ing to Bul­gari, this con­struc­tion pro­motes the res­o­nance of the air within the case, which again raises the vol­ume of the chimes.

With most of its parts con­structed in ti­ta­nium, the Octo Finis­simo Minute Re­peater ex­udes a de­cid­edly un­der­stated vibe, es­pe­cially on the black al­li­ga­tor strap it’s been paired with. The watch’s avant-garde na­ture is also seen in its minute re­peater’s ac­tu­a­tion mech­a­nism – rather than re­ly­ing on a tra­di­tional slider, the strike train is wound up and ac­ti­vated by a push but­ton. This de­tail also re­duces the size of the aper­ture in the case’s side, and al­lows Bul­gari to achieve a 50m wa­ter re­sis­tance for the watch. The Octo Finis­simo Minute Re­peater is lim­ited to 50 pieces world­wide. MOVE­MENT Man­ual-wind­ing Bul­gari Cal­i­bre 362 minute-re­peater move­ment with 42-hour power re­serve

CASE 40mm in ti­ta­nium, wa­ter re­sis­tant to 50m STRAP Black al­li­ga­tor with ti­ta­nium de­ploy­ant buckle PRICE $225,000

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