Is there no stopping Bulgari? Since 2014, not a single year has gone by (except 2015) without the Italian brand adding another record to an already impressive tally, confirming its status as the champion of extra-thin watches. Only Piaget and its Altiplano Ultimate Concept is still in the running as the title-holder for the thinnest (2mm thick, case included) manual-winding mechanical watch. As for the rest, Bulgari has staked its claim on just about every other category, starting with the thinnest tourbillon movement – first manual (2014) then automatic (2018) –, followed by the thinnest minute repeater movement (2016), then the thinnest automatic movement (2017), and ending with the thinnest chronograph movement with a GMT function (2019).
This year is no exception as Bulgari makes another claim to fame, again in the Octo Finissimo collection. The watch in question is the Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic. Measuring 7.40mm thick in total, it comes dressed to impress in a sandblasted titanium case. Taken alone, the BVL 388 automatic movement measures 3.50mm thick and provides 52 hours of power reserve. Immediately recognisable by the case’s 110 facets, which give the Octo Finissimo such a powerful architectural feel, this new release opts for a perfectly symmetrical layout. Small seconds and the minutes counter for the monopusher chronograph align horizontally, while the tourbillon lines up with the barrel on the vertical axis. The sapphire caseback gives plenty of opportunity to admire the painstakingly skeletonised movement at work.
“2020 is another great year for Bulgari with this Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton setting a sixth consecutive record for thinness for the Octo Finissimo,” says Chief Executive Jean-Christophe Babin. “Let’s not forget either that in January in Dubai we unveiled the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon, the smallest women’s tourbillon on the market, which joins the Diva Finissima Minute Repeater, the thinnest women’s striking watch currently in production. At Bulgari, complications and records don’t discriminate between genders.”
Records aside, the brand is also riding the sport-luxe train, one of the most popular trends among watch buyers since last year. Another new release at Geneva Watch Days, the Bulgari Aluminium riffs on a 1998 watch that was already something of a head-turner, with its mix of aluminium for the case, rubber for the bezel and strap. Such an unconventional pairing made this the watch every bright young thing wanted to wear. Bulgari even succeeded in emblazoning it across the side of an Alitalia 747 Jumbo Jet. The newly released Bulgari Aluminium features ergonomically redesigned lugs for greater comfort. The aluminium alloy and the rubber have been upgraded to benefit from the latest developments in materials science. As for the “engine”, the mechatronic quartz movement is replaced by a B77 calibre (on an ETA 2892 base) for the hours, minutes, seconds and date version with a choice of a white or black dial, and by the B130 calibre (on an ETA 2892 base) for the chronograph with panda dial.