Bulgari Octo: Less Is More

by Dr Kenny Pang

After 10 years and eight world records, the Octo line has become synonymous with ultrathin watchmaking.

Like clockwork, Bulgari has broken yet another record in ultrathin watchmaking this year. The feat was accomplished with an Octo, of course, given how the line has long served as Bulgari’s platform for showcasing its expertise in creating extra slim watches. What’s special this year isn’t just the new timepiece though. The Octo is also celebrating its 10th anniversary, and Bulgari has unveiled two limited edition watches to mark the occasion.

The ratchet wheel’s laser-engraved QR code, which grants access to the NFT each example of the Octo Finissimo Ultra will come with

The Culmination Of A Decade’s Work

The 2022 showstopper for Bulgari (and arguably the watch industry at large) is the Octo Finissimo Ultra. At 1.80mm high, it is currently the thinnest mechanical watch in the world.

The astonishing proportions of the Octo Finissimo Ultra are best seen from the watch’s profile view

Numbers alone don’t quite convey the extent of Bulgari’s accomplishment here. On the wrist, the watch feels preternaturally slim – well beyond one’s usual experiences with “typical” ultrathin or knife-edge timepieces. For context, the Octo Finissimo Ultra is barely thicker than Singapore’s 20-cent coin that clocks in at 1.72mm. Yet, it is significantly larger on its other two axes with a case diameter of 40mm, which further accentuates its slim proportions.

What’s equally impressive is how Bulgari has managed to retain the Octo’s signature design elements even in this ultrathin execution. Note the concentric layers of circles and octagons that define the “face” of the Octo line, and how the Octo Finissimo Ultra still retains the interplay between hard, flat surfaces and soft, curved ones. In the same vein, the new watch is also clad in a technical matte finish that instantly identifies itself as an icon of luxury watchmaking, Bulgari-style.

By separating the hour and minute hands, the tall cannon pinion typical of watches is no longer necessary, which reduces the watch’s overall height

The Octo Finissomo Ultra marks Bulgari’s eighth world record in ultrathin watchmaking since 2014, and its development entailed various technical breakthroughs that resulted in a total of eight new patents. To ensure that the watch’s integrated case/movement is mechanically strong enough, for instance, the brand created a new bimetallic hybrid structure, with the Octo’s usual titanium case supplemented with tungsten carbide elements for additional stiffness. The narrower mainspring here, on the other hand, necessitated an extra large barrel with a modified structure that’s also been patented. The result is a longish 50-hour power reserve that belies the Octo Finissimo Ultra’s thinness.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this watch is its ties to the burgeoning metaverse. Each example of the Octo Finissimo Ultra (just 10 pieces are slated for production) is delivered with an NFT artwork that guarantees the timepiece’s authenticity with the underlying blockchain technology, while also offering a gateway to a digital universe that’s unique to the watch. Accessing it is simple enough: the QR code that links to the NFT artwork has been engraved on the barrel’s ratchet wheel itself

A Trail Of Records

The Octo Finissomo Ultra isn’t just another feather in Bulgari’s cap. Instead, it also marks the 10th year since the Octo line began with 2012’s Octo L’Originale, and bookends a decade of world records broken by Bulgari in the realm of ultrathin watchmaking. These timepieces – each a member of the Octo Finissimo family – are detailed below.



Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Manual (2014)
The world’s thinnest hand-wound flying tourbillon movement, 1.95-mm movement BVL 268, was unveiled in the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Manual (40mm). This marked Bulgari’s foray into the world of ultrathin

See watch here.


Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater (2016)

With a movement just 3.12mm thick, this timepiece was the world’s thinnest minute repeater with a case height of 6.85mm. More impressively, its chimes have a volume and timbre that belies its dimensions, thanks to several tweaks that enables the propagation of sound through the watch.


Octo Finissimo Automatic (2017)

The Octo Finissimo Automatic arrived in 2017 as the thinnest self-winding watch on the market. Its 5.15mm case height was made possible through the use of a micro-rotor. BVL138 movement is a mere 2.23mm thin.

See watch here.


Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic (2018)

This variation on an earlier theme sees Bulgari claim yet another world record, this time in the category of thinnest self-winding tourbillon watch. To accomplish this, a peripheral rotor was used in the BVL 288.



Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic (2019)

Bulgari ventured into ultrathin watchmaking with an eye on mid-complications in 2019 by unveiling a GMT/chronograph watch. This is the thinnest mechanical chronograph in the world – and a self-winding one, at that.



Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic (2020)

The thinnest tourbillon chronograph in the world arrived in 2020 when Bulgari unveiled the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic. This monopusher features a second pusher at four o’clock to toggle between the winding and time-setting functions of the crown.

See watch here.


Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar (2021)

Haute horlogerie came full circle for Bulgari with the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar, which tackles the perennial classic, the perpetual calendar, in an ultrathin form. With a 5.80mm case height, it is by far the world’s thinnest perpetual calendar timepiece.

See watch here.


Octo Finissimo Ultra (2022)

The world’s thinnest watch, with its 1.80 mm thick case housing the BVL180 calibre, bar none, marks the 10th year of the Octo collection.

See watch here.


Rough Sketches

The Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic 10th Anniversary (left) and Octo Finissimo Automatic 10th Anniversary (right)

A retrospective isn’t quite complete without a proper celebration. To that end, Bulgari has unveiled two special iterations of the Octo, the Octo Finissimo Automatic 10th Anniversary and Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic 10th Anniversary. These timepieces are special editions of two world record watches released previously. Each features special dial markings harking back to early sketches by Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, senior director at Bulgari’s Watches Design Centre, and alludes to the work that has gone into the Octo’s design over the years. They will be produced in limited runs of 200 pieces each.

With 2022’s novelties, the inaugural chapter of the Octo’s story has been completed. All that remains is to await with bated breath, as Bulgari continues to grow its legacy in this field with new models in the years ahead.

Related Links:

Bulgari: Lucky Number 8

Bvlgari x Only Watch: Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar Tantalum

Bvlgari Octo Roma: Twin Cinema

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