Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater: the right tempo
Since its launch in 2012, Bvlgari’s Octo collection has experimented with every existing watch complication. In 2014, it introduced a pure Latin refinement that enhances its strong case. The Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater is the best in the collection to date.
The Octo collection’s adventure with pure refinement started when the brand introduced the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon and the Octo Finissimo Petite Seconde simultaneously in 2014. They were immediately acclaimed by a demanding clientele, who sought technically and visually outstanding watches. That pushed the engineers and watchmakers of the manufacture based in Le Sentier (Vallée de Joux) to think about their next step in this challenging task. As far as complications were concerned, the minute repeater was the clear candidate.
The sophisticated mechanism is quite difficult to miniaturize and even more so to refine. Hence, there are very few pieces, especially in the category of ultra-thin watches. This offered the Italian brand’s master watchmakers a chance to outdo themselves, as it has long been believed that the size of the case influences the strength of the striking mechanism. Yet, it is in fact the weight and the dimensions of the case that make up the fundamental equation. Three key elements are required for good acoustic results – significant dimensions, high resonance surface and lightness.
The Octo Finissimo: playing with maths: It’s all about angles and surface area
Despite the significant complication it houses, the watch in question is not oversized; it is merely 40 x 6.85mm. However, a detail went unnoticed to everyone save the acousticians – all angles and edges of the watch multiply the effective area of the middle by almost half. The piece is thus much bigger than it seems. Well aware of this fact, the watchmakers used titanium primarily to preserve its weight-strength balance.
On top of that, titanium is light and as resistant as steel, which makes it most convenient for a reference whose visual quality relies on the perfect preservation of its many edges. Then, it was just a matter of fixing the ultra-thin 3.12-mm BVL362 movement to the case with strong links so that the acoustic waves of the hammers' strike on the gongs were transmitted in the best way possible. Speaking of which, the circular-section gongs (in some 3D images, they also appear square from another angle) have obviously been modified by hand and controlled on a specific acoustic bed to guarantee crystal clear sound and enhanced acoustic results. The complex time-measuring instrument can be worn in all safety everywhere, including in subtropical countries. It is equipped with a slide that activates the striking mechanism – a pusher designed to confer the case a 50-meter water resistance. Experts will agree that pulling off such perfection is a real accomplishment.
A view on the infinitesimally thin
It is obviously impossible to see the elements of the caliber through the apertures made on the titanium dial. In fact, said apertures were made to allow for better diffusion of the sound waves whilst the cuttings act as the sound holes of a violin or a cello. Those who want to witness the movement's magic and see its finishes will just have to turn the watch over and look though the sapphire glass. In so doing, they will obtain a full view on the heart of the components of the 28.5-mm hand-wound mechanism whose classic balance screwed on a felloe has a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz).
However, the most interesting parts of the striking mechanism, such as the minute and quarter rack, the cams and the stars and snails on the plate, remain hidden from view, except for three parts. Firstly, the balance-cock with its very original index friction-spring. Secondly, a rarely-seen counter-endstone on the bridge of the escapement wheel. And last but definitely not least, the 3.3-mm microscopic centrifugal governor equipped with two polished inertia-blocks, like the hammers that strike the gongs.
This wonderful mechanical watch with captivating aesthetics is available in a limited edition of only 50 pieces. It comes with a thin black and vulcanized alligator strap and is closed with a titanium triple-limb deployment buckle.