Bulgari unveils the thinnest perpetual calendar watch ever made
If you’re a Bulgari fan you probably won’t be surprised at the revelation made at Watches And Wonders that the Italian brand has broken yet another thin-watch record, this time for engineering the slimmest perpetual calendar model in the history of horology.
The Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar is a wafer-thin wonder that represents the seventh “thinness” record Bulgari has secured through its signature Octo Finissimo line, following the unveiling of the first model – the world’s thinnest hand-wound tourbillon – in 2014.
A minute repeater followed two years later, since when one record per year has fallen to the unfailing pen of Bulgari’s watch design boss Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani: self-winding in 2017; self-winding tourbillon in 2018; self-winding chronograph GMT in 2019; self-winding chronograph tourbillon in 2020.
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar in titanium, CHF 57,000
It leaves us wondering what he can possibly do next to maintain what must be a record-breaking run of, er, records. But whatever it is, he’s probably already thought of it.
“We began working on the perpetual calendar four years ago at the same time as the Octo Finissimo chronograph, but it took an additional two years to get it right,” Stigliani tells GQ.
“The idea was to make a very readable grand complication and the perpetual calendar is probably the most useful complication there is. In the name of practicality, we decided to make the date the most prominent of the displays because that is the one that people refer to most often.”
The result is a dial layout that is as distinctive as the Octo Finissimo’s svelte, eight-sided case.
The aforementioned date is displayed by a retrograde hand that tracks numbers prominently displayed in an arc spanning the area between nine, 12 and three; months are shown in a conventional, circular format that sits between four and five; the days of the week are set out in rectangular windows arranged in a circle between seven and nine; and, down at six o’clock, sits a small, retrograde counter to keep track of looming leap years.
The movement of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar
The result is a dial that really is easy to read while also being harmonious in appearance. But what’s most impressive is that the 408 components required to drive it are all contained within a movement measuring just 2.75mm in height and sandwiched inside a case that’s just 5.8mm thick. And, don’t forget, it’s also automatic, with winding power coming from a tiny but effective micro-rotor made from dense platinum.
One might imagine Bulgari’s watchmakers running for cover whenever they spot the imposing figure of Stigliani heading their way with a sheaf of design drawings for his latest record-breaker – but, he says, that’s really not the case.
“Everything starts with a sketch and as soon as the watch masters see it, their first reaction is to say, ‘Yes, we can do it.’ It is a matter of pride for them to be able to bring a concept to reality, but they also know that we understand the constraints in terms of aesthetics and the parameters of manufacture.”
Initially, explains Stigliani, the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar was to feature a date display comprising rotating discs that revolved beneath apertures in the dial, but the idea was almost immediately shelved as it would have made the movement too thick.
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar in its alternative platinum case guise, CHF 86,000
“We also tried more than one version of the jump date hand, at one point making it too big and with too much mass for the movement to drive it accurately.”
The 40mm Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar is available in two different finishes: the sandblasted titanium case, dial and bracelet combination that’s become a signature of the line and also as a platinum version with a blue lacquered dial and blue alligator strap. The two are respectively priced at CHF 57,000 and CHF 86,000 (sterling prices on request).
But, says Stigliani, we shouldn’t get the idea that because Octo Finissimo watches are all about slimness and elegance they are not also practical daily wearers.
“I have worn my own Finissimo every day since 2016, often while riding my motorbike or doing other things that might be seen as giving it a bit of a torture test. Although it’s thin, it’s completely robust.
“It’s great to make a record-breaking watch. But if it’s not wearable, what’s the point?”
Source Credit: This article originally appeared on GQ Magazine by British GQ. Read the original article - https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/watches/article/bulgari-octo-finissimo-perpetual-calendar