Measuring a wispy 1.75mm thick, Richard Mille’s new RM UP-01 Ferrari just surpassed (by .05mm) the recently released Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra as the thinnest mechanical watch available.
The new titanium watch reaches its record-breaking dimensions with its entire movement built within its case rather than atop a baseplate/caseback, the method used by Bulgari and previous record-holder Piaget.
The watch’s titanium-based Caliber RM UP-01 manual-winding movement is also encased within titanium and powers displays for hours, minutes and a function selector.
The watch’s going train, baseplate and skeletonized bridges are made with grade-5 titanium to create the watch’s impressive flatness – and strength. Richard Mille says its new watch will withstand accelerations of more than 5,000 g’s.
And with the assistance of engineers from Audemars Piguet Le Locle, Richard Mille developed a new type of strong escapement with a balance wheel in titanium that reduces the caliber’s thickness to only 1.18mm. Engineers fitted the extra-flat barrel with a super fine hairspring that still delivers a full 45 hours of power reserve.
To reach ultimate thinness, engineers also removed the winding stem. In its place, Richard Mille offers two wheels, one for function selection, the other to utilize the selected function, each integrated in the left side of the case.
“In this quest for absolute flatness, we had to offer a watch that, far from being a ‘concept watch’, was up to the task of following a user’s daily life, whatever the circumstances,” explains Salvador Arbona, Technical Director for Movements at Richard Mille.
On the 51mm by 39mm rounded rectangular case, Richard Mille minimized the need for sapphire, placing the clear, strong mineral only atop the red-handed dial and the regulator (balance wheel-spring assembly). (See specifications below for more detail).
Richard Mille’s new RM UP-01 Ferrari is a limited edition of 150 timepieces and is the first result of the partnership with the Italian racing legend. Price: $1.89 million.
Specifications:Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari
Movement: RMUP-01 Ultra flat manual winding with hours, minutes and function selector. Measures 1.18mm thick. The baseplate and bridges in grade-5 titanium (an alloy of 90% grade 5 titanium, 6% aluminum and 4% vanadium). New ultra-flat escapement, fast-rotating barrel (6 hours per revolution instead of 7.5 hours), regulator index eliminated with calibration via 6 adjustable weights located directly on the balance. 28,800 vph.
Case: 51mm by 39mm x 1.75mm titanium monobloc construction assembled using 13 grade-5 titanium spline screws and abrasion-resistant washers in 316L stainless steel. Surrounding the crowns, two black ceramic inserts protect the bezel from friction and ensure water resistance. The caseback and bezel are satin-finished, with polished bevels. Laser-engraved Ferrari prancing horse. Water resistance to 10 meters.
Dial: Time display, function selector located between 10 and 11 o’clock allows one to select the winding (W) or the hand-setting (H) function. Setting the time or winding the barrel is then possible by turning the second crown located between 7 and 8 o’clock.
Bulgari celebrates the eighth anniversary of its ultra-thin, record-breaking Octo Finissimo collection by introducing another record-breaking watch, the Octo Finissimo Ultra, the world’s thinnest mechanical watch.
Measuring 1.80mm thick and 40mm in diameter, the new watch is Bulgari’s eighth watch breaking a record for its thinness, bypassing Piaget’s Altiplano Ultimate Concept watch from 2018, which measures 2.0mm thick.
Bulgari’s’ impressive run of record-breaking Octo Finissimo watches began in 2014 with the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Manual, and extended into last year’s Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar. (See below for full list of all the Octo Finissimo record-breaking watches).
Bulgari says it had to rethink its approach to achieving such thin cases and movements in order to ensure the new watch’s rigidity and functionality. Step one was to combine the movement with the case, which essentially makes the watch its own movement and places all its components onto one plane.
Thus, Bulgari uses the new watch’s case back as a main plate on which it builds all 170 components of the BVL Calibre 180. Bulgari achieved the required rigidity by making the case middle, case back/main plate, bezel and titanium lugs from a dense, hard and ultra-resistant combination of carbon and tungsten. Bulgari uses the same material to construct the bracelet, which is required to integrate perfectly into the case with the same thinness.
To resolve the thinness problem presented by the traditional winding crown, Bulgari devised two horizontal, knurled knobs for this watch. One knob (at the 8 o’clock position) is for winding and the other for setting (at the 3 o’clock position). Both can be handled when the watch is on the wrist.
Bulgari has filed eight patent applications for this watch. They relate to the watch glass assembly, barrel structure, oscillator module, differential display, modular structure, bracelet, bi-metal case middle-main plate/case back, as well as the Bulgari Singvlarity technology.
Unusually, Bulgari has engraved a QR code on the watch’s large barrel ratchet wheel. The code opens an online space dedicated to the watch that will feature interviews, making-of segments, a virtual 3D tour of the movement, and an exploration of the visible/invisible concept linked to the watch. Each of the ten owners of the Octo Finissimo Ultra will also receive an exclusive NFT artwork guaranteeing the authenticity of the watch and the link to its owner.
Price: 400,000 euros (about $440,000)
Eight Years of Bulgari Ultra Thin Records
Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo debuts since 2014 include watches that demonstrate and impressive range of timekeeping, acoustic and astronomical complications, in addition to their ultra-thin profile.
These watches (above) are, from left: Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Manual (2014, BVL Calibre 268, 1.95 mm), Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater (2016, BVL 362, 3.12 mm), Octo Finissimo Automatic (2017, BVL 138, 2. 23 mm), Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic (2018, BVL 288, 3.95 mm), Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic (2019, BVL 318, 3.30 mm), Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic (2020, BVL 388, 3.50 mm), Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar (2021, BVL 305, 2.75 mm). This year: Octo Finissimo Ultra (see above).
Movement: Mechanical ultra-thin Manufacture manual-winding movement – BVL Calibre 180 (1.50 mm thick). Winding and time-setting wheels in stainless steel; seconds display directly on the fourth wheel; ratchet wheel engraved with unique QR code that links to an exclusive NFT artwork. 50-hour power reserve; 28,800 VPH (4 Hz) frequency.
Case and dial: 40mm sandblasted titanium case and tungsten carbide plate with anthracite DLC treatment (1.80 mm thick); hours and minutes counters, black PVD-treated hands; water-resistant to 1 ATM (10 meters).
Bracelet: Ultra-thin titanium bracelet with integrated folding clasp.
As one of the few top-tier watchmakers also well versed in jewelry making, Piaget has always been able to combine both creative realms when designing watches. We’re accustomed to seeing technically advanced horology while being assured that Piaget’s jewelers will inevitably frame – and enhance – its creative time displays with finely set gems.
With its newest Polo Skeleton Diamond Paved, a highly jeweled 42mm white gold version of the famed cushion-shaped-bezel watch, Piaget introduces the first gem-set Polo model that utilizes its next generation skeleton movement, Caliber 1200S1, which builds on many years of openworked movement expertise.
Piaget designed the new movement, here colored slate-grey, to enhance the original 1200S, itself a skeletonized version of the famed Piaget 1200P ultra-thin automatic caliber. It maintains the 2.4mm thinness of the 1200P.
Piaget has enhanced the anti-magnetic properties of the caliber while maintaining the movement’s off-center oscillating weight. And the caliber still retains a strong forty-four hour power reserve and a thirty-meter water resistance rating.
The new gem-set Polo Skeleton, a 2022 Watches & Wonders preview, is still quite thin, measuring 7.35mm thick (compared to 6.5mm for the non-set Polo Skeleton model), despite now hosting 268 brilliant-cut diamonds.
The watch comes with a white gold polished and satin-finished ‘H’ design integrated bracelet that Piaget has set with an additional 1,478 diamonds. As befits a jewelry house that works within a horological legacy, Piaget finishes the setting with a ‘reverse’ diamond set into the crown.
Piaget has skeletonized its luxury sport Polo steel watch, creating an airy new open-worked dial framed by the Polo’s famed cushion-shaped dial cutout, rounded bezel and curved case. And, with a notably thinner case, the new Piaget Polo Skeleton mingles Polo’s chic legacy with Piaget’s identity as a groundbreaking force in ultra-thin watches.
In order to create a thin Polo Skeleton, Piaget designed a new 42mm steel case that still echoes the familiar shape of the all-gold 1979 Polo debut. That shape was most recently revived in 2016 when Piaget debuted a new-generation sporty Polo collection cased in steel.
With this new skeleton model, Piaget introduces a new steel Polo case that measures a wispy 6.5mm thick, thirty-percent thinner than the 9.4mm cases that define current non-skeleton Polo offerings.
Equally critical here is Piaget’s work to create a pared-down version of its caliber 1200S, the ultra-thin automatic skeleton movement Piaget places within its existing Piaget Altiplano skeleton models, among others. The same Altiplano collection also includes a range of ultra-thin watches featuring Piaget’s award-winning (and even thinner) ultra-thin 910P and 900P calibers.
Robust yet thin
Piaget says that despite the leaner movement and case, its new Polo Skeleton will still act like a general sports watch. This seems fair, but the watch’s sportiness is limited as the watch demonstrates water resistance to a basic thirty meters, which will keep the Caliber 1200S movement free of moisture while worn in the rain but prevent it from being rated for diving. The movement’s platinum rotor does contribute to the robust forty-four hours of power reserve.
Piaget is offering its new Polo Skeleton with two designs – the first with a movement in Piaget Blue PVD and the second in a slate gray finish. Piaget places the watch on an interchangeable steel bracelet that allows the wearer to quickly change the look of the watch by attaching a leather strap. Piaget provides one leather strap with each watch.
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.