REDUCED TO THE MAX
The invention of the micro-rotor (or planetary rotor) in the 1950s was a critical step to making automatic watch movements significantly thinner and, therefore, watch cases more elegant. But the reduced rotor weight occasionally proved problematic in terms of winding efficiency, which is why modern micro-rotor movements usually use bi-directional winding systems along with heavier metals for the oscillating weight. Next to the reduced height that a micro-rotor (or a decentralized oscillating weight) offers, the wearer can potentially also benefit from an unobstructed view of the movement. So if a watchmaker wanted to develop an ultra-thin watch movement, a manual-wind movement (which was used in the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon in 2014) would be the logical choice, followed by a micro-rotor (as can be found in the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic) for more comfort and ultimately would end up with the quest for a peripheral rotor, if an additional complication like a tourbillon had to be added again. Which is not only why the development of the BVL 288 with flying tourbillon took three years, but also why the manual version and the standard automatic came first. Bulgari Watches Managing Director Guido Terreni says, “The movement development took three years; the case was quicker because we already had the experience [from the manual-wind tourbillon].” Still, Bulgari had to develop about 150 new components of the total of 288 parts for the movement.