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Bulgari Octo Finissimo: The World’s Thinnest Watches

Photo: Monochrome

Unquestionably, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo line is among the most eye-catching watch designs from the previous ten years. The Roman Maison became the expert in producing ultra-thin automatic watches due to an extraordinary saga. Moreover, the company has set milestones following records for thinness in a short period. 

Additionally, the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar received the Aiguille d’Or, the highest honor at the 2021 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, in recognition of its remarkable run of innovative ultra-thin timepieces. Finissimo, on the other hand, is more than a technological accomplishment. The unique line also embodies sleek, avant-garde Italian style. However, to be the undisputed champion of ultra-thin, Bulgari still needed another milestone: the thinnest mechanical timepiece.


Photo: Bulgari


This record initially achieved by Piaget in the Altiplano Ultimate Concept was lacking from Bulgari’s pursuit. With the 2mm extremely slim watch, Piaget set a new record formerly established by Jaeger-LeCoultre (3.6 millimeters). However, Bulgari has gone much further in pushing the boundaries of ultra-thin. Hence, the Octo Finissimo Ultra is currently the tiniest mechanical wristwatch ever made, measuring a stunning 1.80mm. 


Photo: Monochrome


At that phase of advancement, being 10 percent thinner, unlike the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept, is rather remarkable! In short, it is roughly as tiny as a 1⁄4 dollar coin (1.93 millimeters) or smaller compared to a ten-cent Euro coin (1.75 millimeters). No less than 3 years of research and testing was required by Bulgari, which collaborated with La Chaux-de-Fonds movement creator and manufacturer Concepto. The Octo Finissimo Ultra maintains each of the design cues of the line with its recognizable matt monotone gray appearance.


Photo: Monochrome


With an incorporated bracelet and an “invisible” foldable buckle that matches the case’s slimness, it includes a 40-millimeter casing. Also, the movement structure is consistent with the series’ cues, featuring two independent registers for the hours and minutes and the seconds’ indicator on the 4th rotor at six o’clock. On the other hand, the piece has an odd feeling to it. And although the mechanism’s entire display gives the illusion of profundity, its body is incredibly tiny.


Achieving a technical feat inevitably calls for pushing the boundaries of ultra-thin creation, reducing the element sizes to the absolute minimum, and operating with the strictest standards. This also involves inventive problem-solving, requiring a thorough reengineering of the timepiece and redesigning every part, structure, and functionality.

First, the caseback functions as the movement bottom plate, just as it did with the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept. The Piaget casing and movement plate, on the other hand, were two separate pieces. It is also true that the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra’s caseback, as well as the case center, are joined by a bond. Furthermore, through the watch’s rear, the bezel is fastened on. 

The center of the casing and the bezel are constructed of sandblasted titanium. In contrast, the caseback with core plate structure is made of ultra-rigid tungsten carbide. This highly tough and ultra-resistant mixture of carbon and tungsten guarantees general sturdiness.


Photo: Bulgari


The extremely slim (0.30 millimeter) crystal is bonded to the bezel. To maintain all features in the case of a jolt, it is supported by 2 silicone cushions mounted on screws. They are evident at the barrel’s edge around three and six o’clock.

In addition, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra’s movement elements are consequently inserted right into case-back groves that have been machined. The goal was to refrain from using several layers in the device’s architecture, utilize the full watch’s face, and reorganize and construct all operations on a similar horizontal level.


Photo: Monochrome


This approach required a comprehensive redesign of the performance and design of various elements. Utilizing a regulator-style display with independent time indicators was among the baselines. It also goes without saying that this made it possible for Bulgari to forgo using overlaid hands to maintain the watch slim. Additionally, the hours and minutes dials combine to produce an 8-shaped design, which is ideal for a series called Octo.

This thin piece couldn’t utilize a typical crown for spinning and adjusting the device. This is due to the principle that functions should always be built on a similar horizontal axis. Likewise, two horizontal levers, one for winding and a second for regulating the time, were chosen by Bvlgari and positioned on either edge of the casing. All have a notched wheel to facilitate winding and setup in just a single direction. Additionally, the time-adjusting knob is sandwiched between two shields to prevent accidental manipulations, but the wound knob is exposed.


Photo: Monochrome


A significant amount of force is needed to drive the system since the small snap wheel also stops the mechanism from rotating backward. So without disrupting the gear line, time-setting is managed by a split gear system.

On the other hand, the barrel required a thorough overhaul. Due to the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra’s slenderness and 4 Hertz rate, the barrel has an enlarged diameter to preserve a significant power reserve of 50 hours. However, you must keep the mainspring’s width within a specified range. The primary plate’s opening, in which the barrel arbor is supposed to rotate, does not accomplish that. Rather, 3 rollers propel the rotation, whereas its pivot is pushed to a u-shaped slot fastened to the core plate.


Photo: SJX Watches


In addition, a flat spring is incorporated into the oscillator. However, indicator and golden adjusting weights are absent. It couldn’t also have a typical anti-shock mechanism. Rather, a balancing of changing inertia is maintained across flexible arches, which will distort in the case of a shock. One integrates the bolt holder. Moreover, the full controller module is just 1.13 millimeters wide, including the twin elastic bridges!


Photo: Bulgari


Lastly, for this Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra, a maximum of 8 trademark applications have been submitted. The timepiece glass component, barrel architecture, oscillator unit, divergent display, modular layout, bracelet, bimetal middle-mainplate or caseback, and Bvlgari Singvlarity innovation are all related.



In honor of Octo’s tenth anniversary, Bulgari released a special edition of ten units of the Octo Finissimo Ultra Ref: 103611. Therefore, big ups go to Bulgari and everyone associated for breaking the world’s record for thinness with the Octo and exceeding expectations for ultra-thin watches. 

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