The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic breaks a fourth record!

The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic Breaks a Fourth Record!

Bvlgari's splendidly balanced Octo Finissimo line continues to break new records in terms of extra-flat mechanical watchmaking. It also shows that it's perfectly possible to be different, while ultimately remaining the same.

By Vincent Daveau

The proof is in the bag! Once again, Bvlgari pushes back the boundaries by bringing us the sveltest automatic tourbillon watch in the world and thus scooping its 4th world record for thinness. With its latest version of the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, the most Italian of Swiss watch brands strikes the perfect balance between technical accomplishment and aesthetic inspiration. At a total thickness of just 3.95 mm, measured underneath the lower clip of the calliper, this piece demonstrates the brand's mastery in the realms of ultra-slimness.

In order to achieve such a feat, without having to make any architectural changes to a reference that has become, within just a few years, the last word in style and refinement, the master watchmakers at Bvlgari had to surpass themselves. And surpass themselves they did. Using as a base the Bvl 268 Finissimo Tourbillon calibre launched in 2014, they revised the movement in order to integrate a peripheral automatic winding mechanism crafted in white gold and aluminium. Renamed the Bvl 288, this slender movement offering 52 hours of power reserve, measures the even more daring record thickness of just 1.95 mm. In a construction where every technical element, such as the winding and time-setting functions, has been carefully redesigned to minimalize the movement, the ultimate magic of this piece lies in the observer's unique ability to witness each component of this mechanical marvel first-hand.

We are treated to a unique balletic display of cogs and wheels in place of the dial. The eyes are assaulted by the mesmerising minute waltz of a flying tourbillon secured to the bottom plate by ball bearings so fine that they require highly specialised machining. Boasting a sublime balance and grace peculiar to unique, one-of-a-kind timepieces, the instrument produced here in a sandblasted titanium version to achieve a clever combination of slenderness and weightlessness, sports an open case back referencing in its design the entrance to the historical store in the Via Condotti, in Rome. Thus, this exquisitely accomplished masculine gem carries within it and down to the very last detail, the soul and spirit of the maison and of Ancient Rome.

The Octo Finissimo Automatic, sandblasted version: the same again, but better

It's crazy how, with the merest of changes, a timekeeper can take on a whole new graphical dimension and thus maximise its presence in the observer's field of vision. This is precisely what happened when the design office decided to sandblast the Octo Finissimo Automatic watch case. Already a powerful personality and incredibly slim, this reference could easily have rested on its laurels. But don't forget, we're dealing with the Italians here with their innate sense of fashion and unique talent for transforming an outfit with a subtle detail.

Case in point, two pieces have been added to the Octo Finissimo Automatic family. The use of rhodium-plated steel and sandblasted rose gold has resulted in a whole new aesthetic direction for the very structure of the watchcase. The matte surfaces help further enhance the relief effect achieved by the myriad facets comprising these majestic cases. They emerge from this, nonetheless, traditional treatment more sober and yet more sophisticated. "An object at once delicate and masculine, their sveltness expresses the very essence of ultimate contemporary elegance for men", as Bvlgari's president, Jean-Christophe Babin, once remarked.

Thanks to the painstaking surface treatment, this sensual form watch fitted with a mechanical calibre with automatic winding via a micro-rotor (cal. Bvl 138), acquires a density redressed by the pleasant weightlessness of the whole. These conflicting sensations serve only to strengthen the fusional nature of a piece that is bound to capture the watch-lover's heart once it graces his wrist. Immediately becoming one with the wearer, like a tailor-made suit, a bespoke second skin, it's like donning a cloak of invulnerability.

It's almost a case of trying is believing. For the Octo Finissimo Automatic in its sandblasted version is one of those watches that, with that little added detail, makes you fall head over heels in love. It sends shivers up your wrist and straight on to your heart. And once the piece is restored to the presentation cabinet, you are left with an incredible feeling of loss…

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