Bulgari sets a new bar in high-end mechanical watchmaking

Bulgari's Octo Finissimo Saga. (IANS Photo)

Bulgari's Octo Finissimo Saga. (IANS Photo)


Never before has a mechanical watch resistant to shocks and magnetic fields been made so slim – even thinner than a coin. Bulgari's Octo Finissimo Ultra COSC sets a new bar in high-end mechanical watchmaking, by achieving that daring streak and relentless drive to keep pushing boundaries, the benchmark now stands at 1.70 millimetres.

A new feat with pushed boundaries.

Consider the significance of a 1.70 mm thickness – a ninth-world record that introduces a novel standard in watchmaking. This new Octo Finissimo Ultra is the thinnest mechanical watch ever produced and the world's thinnest COSC chronometer.

Antoine Pin, Director of Bulgari's watchmaking division, reflects, "The Octo Finissimo is a vast playground of innovation and design – and a source of unprecedented challenges – for Bulgari's R&D department. This marks the ninth occasion our engineers, watchmakers, and designers have defied the laws of physics to offer complex timepieces of unparalleled slimness. These accomplishments go deeper than the watchmaking prowess they represent: they define our DNA. Bulgari stands to innovate, to keep pushing the boundaries, and to master the art of the extraordinary – and to always surprise.”

This milestone reflects the brand's rigorous process, underscored by a commitment to reevaluate, and transcend the conventions of traditional high watchmaking, propelling venerable craftsmanship into a contemporary context. The outcome is notable; the unparalleled design of the watch becomes evident at first glance, prompting reflection on the innovation behind its creation. How is this even possible?

This is precisely what Bulgari accomplished with the unveiling of the Octo Finissimo Ultra and its remarkable thickness of only 1.80 mm in 2022. Emboldened by this achievement and convinced the limits had not been reached, Bulgari's R&D department, in collaboration with Concepto (experts in complex mechanisms), decided to push the envelope further.

The limits of movement slimness had already been reached with the Octo Finissimo Ultra, achieving an even slimmer profile for the Octo Finissimo Ultra COSC involved a rework of the case by optimizing the sapphire crystal.

In terms of the overall structure, the case back serves as the main plate, upon which the 170 components of the manually wound BVL180 manufacture calibre are assembled. These components are selected using 1/10-micron optical measuring systems, to be able to select the parts that are closest to the perfect dimension, to exceed the precision of production resources. This COSC-certified mechanical movement introduces another layer of complexity and marks a first for the Ultra line.

The challenge of ensuring adequate rigidity for a watch measuring 40 mm in diameter and just 1.70 mm thick was met by crafting the case back/main plate from particularly dense, hard and ultra-resistant tungsten carbide.

Moreover, to maximize the use of the watch's surface area, the hour and minute dials, the large barrel – with a 50-hour power reserve – and the escapement cleverly play with the circular geometry of the bezel opening, adjusting it ever so slightly.

Two years ago, the Octo Finissimo Ultra, which is still available by special order, opened contemporary haute horlogerie to new connected worlds. The QR code on the ratchet has now been transformed into a miniaturized Datamatrix on the back, it provides all the data relating to the watch and invites you on a personal journey into the Bulgari universe. With images and videos, it provides a better understanding of the quest for the ultimate finesse, the special skills and ingenuity that went into the creation of the Octo Finissimo Ultra COSC.

With the case dedicated to the Octo Finissimo Ultra COSC, Bulgari reinvents the experience of setting and winding its watch. If you don't want to use traditional methods, you can place your watch in the dedicated case, equipped with a digital display. The desired time is then programmed, and the adjustment cycle is launched at the touch of a button. In a matter of seconds, the watch is perfectly adjusted and wound with impeccable precision. It's like having a watchmaker at home.
As a hallmark of its era, the Octo Finissimo Ultra COSC (104081), a new milestone in the history of watchmaking, is being introduced in a limited series of 20 pieces.

“What makes us so proud of the Octo Finissimo Ultra COSC is not just that it represents a remarkable triumph over the constraints of physics, but the spirit and depth of mechanical ingenuity behind it that so perfectly encapsulate the ethos of our Maison,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari. "To break new ground, to think differently in seeking to achieve greater reliability, performance, and elegance, that is what propels us forward."

The aesthetic hallmark of the Finissimo collection lies in its use of ultra-light titanium for the case, dial, and bracelet, a choice that has contributed to the line’s record-setting slimness and over 50 international awards in twelve years.

Following the debut of the first Octo Finissimo Ultra model in titanium in 2022, Bulgari elevated the challenge by opting for platinum – a material notoriously difficult to work with due to its density and the precision required at such thin dimensions.

Consequently, the new Octo Finissimo Ultra Platinum is crafted in 950 platinum with satin, polished and sand-blasted finishes for the case middle and bezel, while the back/plate element is in tungsten carbide. The bracelet is also in platinum with a satin-polished finish. The integrated clasp is made of titanium to guarantee greater reliability (tested to 5000 cycles). The new model, equipped with the BVL 180 manufacture caliber, is a remarkable 1.80 mm thin, a first for a platinum watch.