Baselworld 2016: OCTO FINISSIMO MINUTE REPEATER PUSHES THE UTTERMOST LIMITS OF THE STRIKING WATCH
Baselworld 2016: OCTO FINISSIMO MINUTE REPEATER PUSHES THE UTTERMOST LIMITS OF THE STRIKING WATCH
Following in the wake of the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, which is the thinnest in the world, this development sets a new standard combining extreme slenderness with the most elaborate horological complication, as a complement to the Octo Finissimo Skeleton and the new Ultranero models.
The Octo continues exploring the theme of extreme slenderness. After the world’s thinnest tourbillon model launched in 2014, enter the latest newcomer to the world of superlative horology: Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater, which earns the title of the smallest on the market. Bulgari is taking a new step in this ultra-selective field, by pushing the absolute limits of the striking watch.
Octo is not just any watch. Already an iconic model, it reinvents itself in 2016 with a new collection featuring a new record-breaking watch design with the world’s thinnest flying tourbillon, an intricately skeleton-worked ultra-thin movement and a highly contemporary black interpretation.
A new landmark. Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater belongs to a proud line of ultra-thin watches developed by Bulgari. After the tourbillon and the mechanical hand-wound movement simultaneously launched in 2014, the Maison is laying a new milestone in the field of incomparably slim timepieces. The minute repeater remains to this day among the most complex of all horological complications and the exclusive preserve of a handful of prestigious brands.
A striking watch implies a number of specific construction constraints and full command of certain distinctive skills in order to achieve the best possible outcome: an intense, crystal-clear chime with a perfectly uniform and regular cadence when the mechanism is activated. While that might seem straightforward, it is anything but achieving this set of parameters calls for a rare and sophisticated breed of expertise and a degree of experience that very few watch brands can still claim to possess.
Moreover, these principles generally apply to striking watches that are large enough to provide sufficiently generous interior volumes enabling optimal diffusion of the sound within the case, and thus ensuring optimal acoustic quality. In the case of the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater, everything was different right from the start, since the aim was to achieve perfect sound within the smallest possible space! The numbers speak for themselves: the in-house developed and produced BVL Calibre 362 measures just 3.12mm thick and the overall case thickness amounts to only 6.85mm.
Starting from scratch. All of this meant starting with a clean slate when it came to the inherent technical characteristics of a striking mechanism. The Manufacture in Le Sentier solved the problem by working on several different fronts at once. Firstly, the case was to be made of titanium: in addition to its appreciable lightness, the properties of this low-density metal ensure the best possible sound diffusion. The hour-markers on the dial – also made from the same metal – feature an incised, cut-out design, as too does the small seconds counter at 6 o’clock: the openings serve to amplify resonance inside the case and thereby optimise the sound effect.
These solutions were backed up by another. The circular-section gongs directly affixed to the case are individually fashioned and finished by hand throughout the production process. Preparing and shaping the steel parts, defining the notes and the harmonics: many separate stages are involved in producing the completed gongs. The two hammers are also crafted with the same meticulous care. The extreme miniaturisation of the 362 components housed within this extremely slim case is vividly illustrated in the centrifugal strike governor, featuring a total diameter of just 3.3mm including its two inertia-blocks. The pusher activating the striking mechanism, fitted with an “all or nothing” safety device, is positioned on the case middle at 9 o’clock. It is designed to guarantee continuous water resistance to 50m. This exceptional hand-wound movement delivers a 42-hour power reserve once fully wound.
Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater embodies a complete paradigm shift in terms of slenderness and lays the foundations of a new approach to mechanics and to classic complications, all the while preserving the legendary status they command and cultivating the finest watchmaking traditions. With the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater, exceptional horology has a new figurehead, issued in a strictly limited 50-piece edition.
Octo Finissimo Skeleton: spectacular. Equally spectacular yet striking a different aesthetic note, the Octo Finissimo Skeleton enables the most discerning Haute Horlogerie connoisseurs to immerse themselves in the heart of the movement. Devotees of precision will be captivated by the incredible slim and easily understandable skeleton version with its understated yet complex architecture.
The use of black adds a sensual touch to this visual experience of plunging into the heart of the movement. Each component, fashioned with infinite precision, becomes part of a precious lacy pattern creating the precious, sensual impression of a watch clothed in a black silk negligee, enhanced by gold adornments. A voluptuous and fiery watch that is exceptional in terms of both its extreme slenderness and its finishes and is equipped with Manufacture Calibre BVL 128SK, a mechanical hand-wound movement powering small seconds and power-reserve displays. This skeleton mechanism measuring barely 2.35 mm thick is endowed with an approximately 65-hour power reserve. Several technical and aesthetic feats are daringly united within a highly contemporary watch.
Octo Ultranero: a modern black-clad interpretation. Modernity is the keynote of the new intense black Octo Ultranero models. They come in total-black or ‘almost-all-black’ versions, since Bulgari gives its own precious twist to this contemporary masculine watch. Depending on the variations, the Maison adds a touch of gold either simply through the hands and hour-markers gracing the dial, or by a pink gold bezel, thereby creating an elegant contrast effect.
Octo Ultranero puts the Finissimo Tourbillon firmly centre-stage with its spectacular Manufacture movement: an ultra-thin bridge-free flying tourbillon calibre (BVL 268). At just 1.95 mm thick, it is the world’s thinnest contender in this category of complication. This entirely hand-finished and decorated mechanical hand-wound movement has a 52-hour power reserve. It is housed in the sophisticated and contemporary Octo case, fashioned for this exclusive version in D.L.C.-coated (Diamond Like Carbon) titanium. Its case is in pink gold with a ceramic insert, symbolising the mastery of precious metals and of watchmaking techniques cultivated by Bulgari, the most contemporary of the traditional jewellers. The 40mm-diameter Finissimo Tourbillon is a mere 5mm thick – an impressive feat in terms of slimness and hence elegance. The caseback of this watch is transparent to provide an enhanced view of this rare and stupefying mechanism. The same approach also prevails on the black lacquered dial, which provides a clear view of the tourbillon carriage at 6 o’clock. The dedicated hands of the Octo watch are cut-out to enhance the sense of transparency.
Octo Ultranero also knows how to offer simpler content, even though all its interpretations feature the horological refinement inherent in the best mechanical calibres, all assembled and finished by hand. Depending on their individual wishes, inspiration and usage, enthusiasts can choose a 41 mm-diameter version driven by a mechanical self-winding Solotempo BVL 193 calibre. Dedicated to measuring and reading off time, this twin-barrel movement with a 50-hour power reserve focuses on providing a precise indication of the hours, minutes, seconds and date. For a sportier look, one may opt for the Octo Velocissimo Chronograph powered by the BVL 328 calibre, a high-performance movement capable of displaying the flow of time to the nearest tenth of a second.
Sheer style. Black is an inherently virile and elegant force that reigns supreme in fashion. Italian designers have been trailblazers in its use. When thus endowed with a black D.L.C. (Diamond Like Carbon) coating, the highly structured case takes on enhanced and distinctively Italian aesthetic strength. It immediately recalls certain creations in the field of architecture and contemporary furniture, even bringing to mind stealth aircraft and thereby adding to the sense of mystery and secrecy. This opens up completely new expressive vistas for this watch that is equally at home in elegant urban surroundings as in life’s more high-adrenalin moments. Octo Ultranero is an authentic style factor resolutely dedicated to modern men.
The watch can be chosen in an all-black version or with a pink gold bezel. This configuration is also available for the new Octo chronograph in the Ultranero line – a horological complication that is a great favourite among active men and keen aesthetes.
The Octo case is a natural extension of the Italian temperament. It is complex while appearing very simple. It is geometrical yet in no way rigid. It is elegant while maintaining a natural air of relaxation that is the spice of life. Because Octo is a watch that was not designed to create pure performance. Based on this premise, it retains all the virtues of Italian epicureanism and is designed for self-assured men keen to wear an iconic and unusual watch, both in their professional lives and when engaged in chic leisure activities. A family of watches entirely suited to today’s world and which steadily gains in both strength and character year after year.