Time

Meet Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Automatic, the world’s thinnest automatic watch

  • By Yong Wei Jian
Meet Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Automatic, the world’s thinnest automatic watch

In the span of five years, Bulgari’s Octo has built itself into an indomitable pillar of the brand’s masculine timepieces. Making an indelible impression from the beginning, the watch first broke design conventions with its bold merging of circle and octagon for its characteristic case shape, then continued with a succession of world records in extreme thinness via its Finissimo variants. The Octo Finissimo Automatic is the latest breakthrough following the tourbillon in 2014 and minute repeater in 2016, affirming itself as the slimmest self-winding watch in the market.

Jon KORTAJARENA.Octo

Ultra-thinness is seen as a horological complication in its own right — not merely slimming down or miniaturising existing parts, but rather a philosophical paring down to essentials, with each element conceived and designed from the outset. For the self-powered Finissimo, the rotor becomes a main consideration: a standard one adds to the thickness of the movement, while putting it on the periphery disrupts the perfect proportions of the case. That leaves the micro-rotor, which necessitates a redesign of the existing manual-wind movement to accommodate the mechanism. The resulting calibre BVL 138 comes in at a razor 2.23mm thick, with 60 hours of power reserve and a micro-rotor crafted in platinum to achieve the requisite oscillating load for energy replenishment.

The iconic Octo is a natural vehicle for such a complex feat of watchmaking. Rooted in Roman architectural codes, the contemporary case plays with geometric forms and facets to express powerful personality. Like the minute repeater before, titanium is used for its lightness and strength as it benefits an exceptionally thin 5.15mm case, its entire surface (including the dial) sandblasted for modernity; the watch even inaugurates a full titanium bracelet cut in the cases’s narrow dimensions. Altogether, the Octo Finissimo Automatic vividly juxtaposes lightweight leanness with the technical strength of a record-breaker, wowing both inside and out.