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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.

Bulgari’s new Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph.

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. 

A look at the Bulgari Octo Finissimo World Record ultra-thin watches since 2014, with the new Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph in front.

 

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).

The new watch measures 7.4mm thick, thanks to a 3.5mm thick skeletonized movement and a thin, sandblasted titanium case.

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 new skeletonized BVL388, with a horizontal clutch with a column wheel, has been finished and designed with eye-catching contemporary flair.

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 BVL388 skeletonized caliber, dial-side view.

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.

The new Gerald Genta Arena Bi-Retro Sport

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.

Price: $14,800.

The three new Bulgari Aluminum watches.

Bulgari Aluminum

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.

An ad for the 1998 Bulgari Aluminum watches.

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)

 

Specifications:

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.

Bulgari Aluminum

Three-hand models

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.

Chronograph

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.

 

The new Arnold & Son Ultrathin Tourbillon Koi is a beautiful reminder that this Swiss watchmaker with English roots can create stunning artistic dials on demand. This bespoke watchmaking service supplements Arnold & Son’s ongoing offerings, which include iW favorites like the Perpetual Moon, the Globetrotter and Nebula collections, all of which offer technically edgy watchmaking with distinctive designs.

The Arnold & Son Ultrathin Tourbillon Koi

Arnold & Son says customers can work with its watchmakers and artisans to make a bespoke watchcase, within which the customer can then request any movement or dial using engraving, gem setting, miniature painting or sculpted elements.

This latest one-off, the Ultrathin Tourbillon Koi, highlights Arnold & Son’s already interesting Ultrathin Tourbillon. The watch is particularly suited for personalized activity in part because of its off-center dial at 12 o’clock, which provides an empty canvas of sorts for Arnold & Son’s artisans.

The Koi

In this example, Arnold & Son artists started with a mother-of-pearl dial and created a hand-painted carp, adding sculpted lotuses around the thin flying tourbillon. Two carp can be seen swimming between lotus blossoms. One type, the Tancho carp (with its red mark on its head) swims on the right while the other swims along the left side.

Arnold & son explains that the three lotus blossoms feature petals cut from silver that has been shaped, engraved, polished and painted in white lacquer. The artist makes the each flower’s pistil in the same manner.

Then the artisan paints the carp and lotus leaves by hand, using thin brushes, depicting scales and striped fins.

Ultra-thin

Technically, the Arnold & Son Caliber A&S8200 is exceedingly thin (a mere 2.97 mm), creating a workspace not too much thicker than a traditional canvas. The caliber’s flying tourbillon (with only a lower carriage bridge) allows unfettered views of the mechanism. Additionally, the balance bridge is domed and extends slightly from the dial, which makes the tourbillon’s rotation even more interesting to watch.

Finally, note the skeletonized tourbillon main plate. With this nearly transparent component, Arnold & Son retains the piece’s overall fine attributes, or its lightness.

But don’t let that thin, airy appearance fool you to think that the caliber itself is also a lightweight. If the flying tourbillon doesn’t convince you of the high technical level at which Arnold & Son operates here, consider that this ultra-thin manual-wind movement boasts an extremely impressive ninety-hour power reserve.

None of this high-end artistic and technical work comes at a bargain however, but given the bespoke nature of the final product, its $96,700 price tag is comparable to other high-end Swiss works ­– and many of those are far from unique.

 

Specifications: Arnold & Son Ultrathin Tourbillon Koi (Unique piece Ref. 1UTAR.M99A.)

Movement: Caliber A&S8200, one-minute flying tourbillon, manual winding, 2.97mm thick, 90-hour power reserve, frequency of 3 Hz (21,600 vph). Finishes are as follows:

Mainplate: Côtes de Genève stripes radiating from the center and hand-engraved tourbillon bridge,

Bridges: polished and chamfered by hand,

Wheels: circular satin-finished,

Screws: blued and chamfered, mirror-polished heads,

Tourbillon carriage: satin-finished, polished and chamfered.

Dial: Miniature painting on black mother-of-pearl, silver lotus flowers, engraved and painted by hand.

Case: 42mm x 12.23 5N gold, domed sapphire crystal, water resistant to 100 feet.

Strap: Hand-stitched alligator leather with gold pin buckle.

Price: $96,700

  

The Rado True Thinline collection might just be the most authentic Rado collection. With its thin ceramic case offered in a vast selection of colors and with automatic and quartz offerings, True Thinline most differentiates Rado from most other historic Swiss watchmakers.

One of many examples from Rado’s colorful ceramic True Thinline collection, offered with quartz and automatic movements.

The collection, along with many other Rado’ offerings, clearly exhibit Rado’s long-established mastery of high-tech case and bracelet materials.

The company is one of only a few of its Swiss watchmaking peers to even venture into making cases with high-tech plasma ceramics, tungsten, diamond alloys and hard metals, all materials Rado routinely incorporates into its offerings.

The new Rado True Thinline Anima.

As a result, Rado watches, whether sporty chronographs or thin artisanal models, are invariably lighter in weight and far more scratch resistant than comparable watches made using traditional case and bracelet materials.

With this latest watch, the True Thinline Anima, Rado combines a partially open-worked automatic movement with a thin ceramic case.

Even among the Thinline models this latest example distinguishes itself thanks to its one-piece dark olive green case and matte green carbon-fiber dial ring.

That dial ring frames both the partially exposed movement and the openwork dial. Most directly visible is the date disc/ring, which is entirely visible as its makes its monthly rotation just inside the bezel, framed to exhibit the correct day at 6 o’clock. To maintain a lightweight profile, Rado uses a specially made aluminum ETA automatic movement with black bridges and black DLC-coated rotor.

Rado will make 2,020 True Thinline Anima watches, each priced $3,000.

 

Specifications: Rado True Thinline Anima (Ref. 766.6112.3.031)

Movement:  A31.L02 ETA automatic, date at 6 o’clock, skeletonized calendar disc, 64-hour power reserve, aluminum movement with black bridges and black DLC-coated rotor

Case: 40mmx 44.8mm x 10.8mm matte olive green high-tech ceramic case, monobloc construction, titanium caseback with sapphire crystal,
matte olive green high-tech ceramic crown, box sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides, water resistant to 30 meters. Engraving on the case back: LIMITED EDITION ONE OUT OF 2020

Dial: Skeletonized matte olive green with olive green flange, carbon fiber structure, rhodium colored hands and applied indexes and moving anchor symbol, white printed ‘Rado’ and ‘Automatic’ 

Bracelet: Matte olive green high-tech ceramic with three-fold titanium clasp

Price: $3,000.

 

Bulgari this week adds a handsome blue dial to its ultra-thin Octo Finissimo Automatic Steel line, essentially doubling the options – from one model to two – available at the collection’s entry level.

The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic model offers a new blue lacquered dial with sunburst finish to the ultra-thin, satin-finished steel watch collection.

Recall that during its debut event this past January in Dubai, Bulgari debuted the first Octo Finissimo Automatic watch with a steel case, and with a black dial, to glowing notices (including ours).

The first Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-Polished Steel arrived in January with a black dial.

The Octo Finissimo collection is Bulgari’s multi-award-winning set of record-setting ultra-thin watches that includes complicated watches as well as this time-only edition. The design has previously only been offered with ceramic,  precious metal or titanium cases and bracelets.  

The new model adds a blue lacquered dial with sunburst finish to the satin-finished steel watch. Like its ceramic, titanium or gold brethren, the steel model is matched with a complex bracelet that echoes the case perfectly. Here that translates to full-length satin-finished steel links interspersed with central-set polished steel links.

Matte and polished finishes abound on both case and bracelet, adding a pleasing multi-dimensional caste to the watch.

Multi-dimensional

Matte and polished finishes abound on both case and bracelet, adding a pleasing multi-dimensional caste to the watch, especially when its wraps around a wrist.

Despite its 6.4mm thickness, just slightly thicker than the precious metal and titanium models, these steel Octo Finissimo Steel Automatic watches boast 100-meter water resistance thanks to a screw-down crown. The collection’s titanium, ceramic and precious metal models are rated to 30 meters.

Despite its 6.4mm thickness, just slightly thicker than previous models, the steel Octo Finissimo Steel Automatic watches boast 100-meter water resistance thanks to a screw-down crown.

The greater water resistance is appropriate for a steel watch, according to Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin, who suggests that with this sportier version of the Octo Finissimo Automatic “you can dive, swim, take a shower…you can wear it from the tennis court to the board room.”     

Platinum rotor

Inside you’ll find the same ultra-thin Bulgari BVL138 Finissimo caliber found in the other Octo Finissimo Automatic models. A record-breaking 2.23mm thin, the caliber is wound by a platinum micro-rotor nicely visible though the clear sapphire caseback, exposing its expertly applied Côtes de Genève motif, chamfered bridges and circular-grained baseplate.

The ultra-thin Bulgari BVL138 Finissimo caliber is a record-breaking 2.23mm thin and is wound by a platinum micro-rotor visible though the clear sapphire caseback.

With carefully calculate heft and machining, the rotor powers the watch’s hours, minutes and small seconds indications for up to sixty hours.  Price: $11,800.

 

Specifications: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-Polished Steel

Movement: Automatic BVL138 Finissimo caliber (2.23mm thick), winding via a platinum micro-rotor, hours, minutes and small seconds indications. Adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, chamfered bridges and circular-grained baseplate, 60-hour power reserve, 21,600 VpH.

Case: 40mm extra-thin satin-polished steel case (6.40mm thick), transparent caseback; polished steel screw-down crown set with ceramic inlay

Dial: Blue lacquered dial with sunburst finishing, faceted diamond rhodium-plated hands; water-resistant up to 100m.

Bracelet: Integrated satin-polished steel bracelet with folding clasp.

Price: $11,800

 

De Bethune marks the tenth anniversary of its DB28 by re-interpreting the 43mm titanium-cased, top-crown watch in three extra-thin versions. All three timepieces re-imagine the DB28 in slightly different ways, but all utilize a new, thinner case with newly designed – but still floating – lugs.  

One of the three celebratory DB28XP debuts flouts a highly polished example of the new ultra-thin case with the prominent De Bethune delta mainplate, one presents a De Bethune Starry Sky design on its dial and the third is equipped with a De Bethune ultra-light tourbillon set in a stunning hand-engraved “barley grain” guilloche pattern.

The Ultra-Thin DB28XP

To create this ultra-thin (measuring 7.2mm compared to 9.3mm in previous models) evolution of the DB28, De Bethune re-designed the case, lugs and the case band, adding a more pronounced curvature.

New finishing needed to reflect the new, thinner profile, according to De Bethune, which is why the new model features highly polished titanium bridges and satin-finished bevels, a visual treat that enhances the thinness of the new watch. Likewise, De Bethune mirror-finishes the emblematic delta-shaped mainplate and with its dial offers a modern take on traditional guilloche technique.

The new ultra-thin titanium case on two of the new watches measures 7.2mm compared to 9.3mm in previous models.

De Bethune of course fits the watch with its own balance-spring with a flat terminal curve, silicon escape wheel and De Bethune triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system. De Bethune has also increased the efficiency (by twenty percent) of its self-regulating twin-barrels to ensure that the hand-wound movement delivers a full six days of power reserve.

DB28XP Starry Sky

Here, De Bethune creates its first-ever blued Microlight dial, comprised of a blue titanium base with applied microgrooves, to deliver a celestial dial show. Those ‘stars’ on the dial are actually white gold pins placed with precision and as requested by the customer.

As you may know, De Bethune allows the customer to select a date, hour and location so that it can create a night sky exactly as desired by the watch’s owner.

The DB28XP Starry Sky features the hour circle in silver, the minutes in Arabic numerals, the De Bethune signature at 12 o’clock and rose gold hands designed especially for the new watch.

DB28XP Tourbillon

With this third interpretation of the DB28 theme, De Bethune rearranges the movement’s architecture by placing an exceedingly lightweight (0.18 grams-which De Bethune calls “the lightest ever”) 30-second, 36,000-bph tourbillon at 6 o’clock. De Bethune notes that the dial of the DB28 Digitale inspired the new design.

Offering hour, minute and seconds indications, the DB28XP Tourbillon’s white dial with silver reflections is stunning indeed. It provides an enthralling hand-engraved “barley grain” guilloche pattern, highlighted by a blued hour circle with polished marker dots.

If you can bear to turn the watch to its caseback, there’s another reward to viewing the DB28XP Tourbillon: a representation of our solar system that references the Aiguille d’Or – the highest distinction of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) – awarded to the first DB28. The position of the planets is that of the evening sky over Geneva when the prize was presented on November 19, 2011.

The position of the planets is that of the evening sky over Geneva when the GPHG prize was presented to the first DB28 on November 19, 2011.

Prices:

DB28XPTIS1, Polished Titanium:  $79,900

DB28XPTIS3v2, Titanium Starry Sky: $79,900

DB28XPTTIS1, Tourbillon with Titanium Barleycorn motif:  $198,000