Bulgari advanced its six-year run of horological record-breaking this week with the new Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic, the sixth ultra-thin watch in as many years claiming ultimate horological thinness.
Measuring a wispy 7.4mm thick, thanks to a 3.5mm thick skeletonized movement and a thin, sandblasted titanium case, the watch now claims the title as the thinnest watch with both a tourbillon and a single-push chronograph.
In addition to this headlining debut from Bulgari’s slate of three debuts at Geneva Watch Days, the Italo-Swiss watchmaker also showed the Gérald Genta Arena Bi-Retrograde Sport, a new model inspired by the famed Gerald Genta Arena design from 1969. Bulgari also debuted the Bulgari Aluminum, another retro-inspired watch based on the very successful aluminum-cased original from 1998.
Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic
This new watch combines features Bulgari has already mastered within an ultra-thin package: an automatic tourbillon (seen in the 2018 Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic) and the chronograph (debuted just last year with the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic).
Here however Bulgari has transformed the chronograph from a three-subdial layout to a two-counter display, and is now activated, stopped and reset by pressing the top of two rectangular pushers. The lower pusher, at the 4 o’clock location, sets the crown to either allow for hand-winding or for setting the time.
The chronograph subdials are the only real dials here as Bulgari has skeletonized the Caliber BVL388, including the tourbillon’s bridge, exposing more of the movement to the wearer. From the back, the wearer can also enjoy a view of the peripheral rotor Bulgari first added to the Finissimo series in the 2018 Chronograph GMT Automatic.
The new watch’s gold oscillating weight races around a skeletonized BVL388 displaying a horizontal clutch with a column wheel, all of which Bulgari has finished and designed with eye-catching contemporary flair.
Bulgari will make fifty Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph watches, each priced at $142,000.
Gérald Genta Arena Bi-Retrograde Sport
This release is the second of the revived Gerald Genta collection dedicated to its namesake, the premiere watch designer of the past fifty years. You might recall that Bulgari debuted the first commemorative Gerald Genta model last year with the 50th Anniversary platinum Arena bi-retro watch.
That release, first seen in Geneva last year, recalls Bulgari’s acquisition of the Gérald Genta and Daniel Roth brands in 2000, a purchase that has played a significant role in building Bulgari’s haute horlogerie expertise.
Gérald Genta, who died in 2011 at the age of 80, designed many of the icons of modern watch design, including the Universal Genève Polerouter, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the IWC Ingenieur, Cartier’s Pasha, the Omega Constellation, the Bvlgari Bvlgari and the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Many of these designs remain bestsellers for their respective brands.
Like the 2019 Genta release, the 2020 Gérald Genta Arena watch also focuses on the jumping hours display, here framed in titanium instead of the highly polished platinum seen last year. Bulgari places the watch’s characteristic jumping hours in a large window at 12 o’clock while the minutes are tracked on an arc that spans the top half of the matte black dial with brilliant yellow numerals and broad, skeletonized hands.
As with most Genta jumping hour watches of the past, the minute hand travels across the top of the dial, snapping back to zero every sixty minutes. The date is set in a smaller arc at 6 o’clock.
Powered by the BVL 300 Caliber with jumping hours, retrograde minutes (210°) and date (180°), the watch’s bidirectional self-winding movement boasts a 42-hour power reserve and is visible through the clear sapphire case back. Bulgari will match a matte black alligator strap and a titanium buckle with the titanium case.
A surprising hit when it debuted in 1998, the original Bulgari Aluminum was quickly spotted on the wrists of celebrities and collectors alike. Made of rubber and aluminum, a combination not seen among higher-end Swiss watches previously, the watch was casually sporty and worn by men and women.
The new Bulgari Aluminum echoes the original in most respects, from its case and bracelet materials (still aluminum and rubber), its wide, black rubber bezel and its large markers
But for this re-edition, Bulgari has replaced the mechatronic-quartz movement of the earlier model with new automatic movements. Bulgari has placed an ETA-based caliber B77 inside the time-only model and has fit Caliber B130 into the chronograph model.
In addition, Bulgari has reshaped the watch’s lugs to better fit the new 40mm case size, and it has utilized a new aluminum alloy, which Bulgari says is stronger and more resistant to wear than earlier alloys. The rubber quality has also been improved, says Bulgari.
Prices: $2,950 (time only, either dial color), and $4,250 (chronograph)
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic
(Limited edition of 50 pieces.)
Movement: Automatic Bulgari manufacture BVL 388 caliber ultra-thin skeleton with automatic winding, chronograph single-push and tourbillon, (3.50 mm thick). 52 hours power reserve, 21,600 vph (3Hz).
Dial: Solid chronograph subdials within skeletonized movement. Round primary bezel with eight-sided and marked inner bezel.
Case: Stepped eight-sided 42mm sandblasted titanium with transparent caseback; 7.40 mm thick, sandblasted titanium crown and push buttons; skeletonized grey matte dial with plain counters. Water-resistant to 30 meters.
Bracelet: Sandblasted titanium with folding buckle.
Bulgari Gérald Genta Arena Bi-Retrograde Sport
Movement: Manufacture mechanical movement bi-retro BVL300 caliber with automatic winding (bidirectional), jumping hours, retrograde minutes (210°) and date (180°). 42 hours power reserve, 28,800 vph (4Hz). thickness: 6.10mm.
Case: 43mm brushed titanium (12 mm thick), water-resistant to 100 meters;
Dial: Black and anthracite dial with yellow indexes and hands.
Bracelet: Matte black alligator strap with titanium buckle.
Movement: Mechanical ETA-based movement with automatic winding and date, B77 caliber, 42 hours of power reserve.
Case: 40mm aluminum with titanium caseback with DLC treatment and rubber bezel, titanium with DLC treatment crown, water-resistant to 100 meters.
Dial: Warm grey or black with SNL indexes and hands
Bracelet: Rubber with aluminum links, aluminum buckle.
Movement: Automatic chronograph with date, B130 caliber, 42 hours of power reserve.
Case: 40mm aluminum with titanium back case, DLC treatment and rubber bezel, titanium with DLC treatment push buttons and crown
Dial: Warm grey with black counters and SNL indexes and hands, water-resistant to 100 meters.
Bracelet: Rubber with aluminum links, Aluminum buckle.