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How to break a record – The Bulgari Octo Finissimo


When mechanical watches became obsolete, what else can brands focus on? With the leap on accuracy and economies of scale, it seemed that everything was doomed for the hobby that we love today, many watch brands decided to end their run but some of them decided to find new challenges in small corners of watchmaking, nuances that makes our head turn around from new materials, higher tolerances and finishing techniques that would take the most skilled watch maker crazy, internal challenges became also external and the race for the ultra-thin watch also began. Let us remember that we also had the 90’s where everything was bigger just for the sake of it, the diameter of the pieces increased by the minute, but the size of the movements stayed the same using those tiny mechanics that fitted in a 36mm case, I will not say that watchmaking did not evolve but it seems that weight and thickness made people think that their watches were more expensive. Somehow there were a group of pioneers who wanted to leave a mark an discover that thinness was key to a wearer, we still see watches specially chronographs over 15mm thick, which to me disrupts the wearing experience, more specific if the watch is under 40mm, it just looks odd, but thanks to these brands we now have several offers that can really bend your mind on what a ultra-thin watch might look like. I was researching to see if there was an official parameter for what an ultra-thin watch is, but no one really wants to raise their hand, for a thin watch we can say that it can range from 10mm to 8mm, after this we can consider everything else as ultra-thin.

The mastery is more complicated than just reducing the parts thickness, it’s about planning where the balance can go or if the main plate is where all the components rest? How about the crystal shape? Will it touch the handset? It requires more than a skilled watchmaker; it requires a manufacturing capability that is practically unknown. We were lucky enough to get hands on with some of the ground-breaking Octo Finissimo(s) that helped to craft the legend of ultra-thin watchmaking, lets enjoy these trio of beauties and honestly, I am still speechless.


The Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar

Let us start with the one of the novelties and a complication that has been close to my heart, the perpetual calendar. After I understood how this complication works, I was completely hooked, not only a perpetual calendar is a combination of gears that can make the watch be accurate (if it has power) by day, month, year, and leap year. If you do this on a tower clock and have all the space available, it is already a mechanical marvel, to do it in a pocket watch is already a miracle, imagine in a wrist watch but then take it to the next level and have a case that is only 5.80mm thick, and you might think: ‘’oh well let’s just make the watch as large as possible right? but the case remained 40mm when it came to the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar. What I love about the layout is that is very clean despite the information that displays, and it has an added bonus by paying homage to the old Genta design with a retrograde date function at 12 o clock, the leap year at 6, date of the week and month at 9 and 3 respectively. The titanium case is what we are used to, and it is odd to think that this is a perpetual calendar you can wear every day because it has 60 hours of power reserve and an automatic movement with a platinum rotor, modern convenience with a modern look.

Specifications

Ref -103200

Diameter (mm): 40

Case Shape: Octagonal

Functions: Perpetual Calendar

Movement Typology: Automatic

Band Material: Titanium

Power Reserve: 60 hours

Material​: Titanium

The Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater

A minute repeater is one of the most romantic complications that a watchmaker can do, sounds is something that is very absent in the world of mechanical watches, the ‘know how’ resides in a handful of watchmakers in the world, but when is done right, it is unmatchable. The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater is one of a kind, at only 6.85mm thin, it really makes you question why there are time only watches that are 15mm+, what is love about this piece is that it looks like a regular Octo Finissimo with apertures on the dial, nothing more, perhaps to the collectors the sub dial at 6 looks different but makes symmetry like nothing else, is the same with electric cars, some designs look great but they add that electric vibe like a lime green line on the bonnet which makes me think: ‘’why??, couldn’t just leave it as it was?..’’ anyhow, back to the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater has a beautiful pusher at 9 o clock and the crown at 3, again looks like nothing out of this world but it really is. At 40mm the case feels like a regular Octo Finissimo but this one can really speak to you when the times passes by, the gongs at the back move precisely and the sound is outstanding, I was expecting a lower chime because of the thin case but I am sure that there was some good old magic at Bulgari to make it sounds like it does.

Specifications

Ref -103015

Diameter (mm): 40

Case Shape: Octagonal

Functions: Répétition Minute

Movement Typology: Manual

Band Material: Titanium

Power Reserve: 42 hours

Material​: Titanium

The Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph

Do you remember when I was mentioning those 15mm thick chronograph? Well, those ones did not include a Tourbillon, but this one does. The Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph It is a feast to the eyes and wrists alike, the skeletonized dial with a center Tourbillon and 2 adjacent subdials, makes the 42mm case something else in the world of high-end chronographs. The thickness is 7.4mm which is hard to imagine for this complication, or even a time only for that matter, the pusher feels crisp and ready to record, and the watch (even when the chronograph is not activated) is always in motion, looks like a modern piece of art, nothing but contemporary. The skeletonized dial also feels very refreshing, after wearing several round watches, it is nice to see what else is being offered with a distinguished shape and the feast of mechanical ‘know how’ is something that I haven’t experienced before, this is by far the most complicated watch I’ve managed to spend time with but at the same time feels wearable and approachable, not too hard to handle. The back of the watch is another masterpiece, the finishing and layout are made with an air of old tradition, it blends nicely with that modern architecture that we are used to from Bulgari.

Specifications Ref.: 103295

Diameter (mm): 42

Case Shape: Octagonal

Functions: Tourbillon

Movement Typology: Automatic

Band Material: Titanium

Water Resistance: 30 m

Material​: Titanium


Conclusions

After seeing these number of mechanical tributes in the flesh I really keep thinking on all those watches with diamonds, lots of presence and a high price tag, these ones are something else, these watches are for those one that are not looking to show their wealth, sure their prices are not for everyone but we are talking about pieces that not only are record breakers but they are incredible small machines on your wrist, and all of that is leaving outside the heritage and exclusivity that a house like Bulgari can offer. If I could, the minute repeater would be for me, but then where will my heart be without the perpetual calendar? The skeletonized chronograph is a delight also, I might just go for that one if money was no object, oh wait, it’s a limited edition too. Well, at least I got to dream for an afternoon with eyes open.























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