Bulgari confirms its position as a major player in the watchmaking industry with the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater. It follows on from other record-setting pieces, such as the 2014 Octo Finissimo Tourbillon and this year’s ultra-thin flying tourbillon. The Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater is the thinnest minute repeater in the world, with a case thickness of 6.85 mm. The remarkable thing about the watch is that the sound quality is excellent, with chimes that are loud enough to be clearly audible in a room filled with people. For a long time, this has been the major problem with minute repeaters: sound volume. Several more traditional brands make minute repeaters that are rated as “not water resistant” because there are apertures enabling the sound to emerge. Recently, a few brands have invested a lot into audio technology – notably Audemars Piguet – and in the case of this watch by Bulgari, excellent sound volume and quality is accompanied by 50 metres water resistance.
Achieving good sound is even more difficult in an ultra-thin watch, because the space available for generating and resonating the sound is very small. Bulgari achieved its aims by using titanium for the case and dial – the metal’s light weight assists sound diffusion – and by using the space between dial and watchglass to improve resonance. This was in turn achieved by making the hour markers and the circular frame of the small-seconds counter in the form of cut-outs. The apertures also reveal glimpses of the movement beneath. The case has all the sleek beauty of the Octo design, with its sloping facets and octagonal geometry, extending through to the lugs and the pusher for activating the chimes at 9 o’clock. The only part that breaks the pattern is the titanium crown – another hallmark of the Finissimo collection. The 40mm case has a matt finish, and the strap is also minimalist in design, with matt surface and no visible stitching.
BVL Calibre 362
The movement was of course entirely designed and built in-house. Gongs and hammers are finished by hand to enable tuning and harmonics to be perfected. The BVL Calibre 362 movement, 3.12 mm thick, has 362 components (is Bulgari the only brand to name its calibres according to the number of parts?), and it is hand-wound, with a power reserve of 42 hours. It is a double world-record watch, for case thickness and movement thickness, both about 20% less than its competitors.
The Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater is a limited edition of 50 pieces. Each costs 165,000 Swiss francs.