Bulgari unveils the thinnest mechanical watch in the world

The new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra watch is a record-breaking feat of engineering

thin bulgari watch
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra is as thin as a 20 cent euro coin
(Image credit: Bulgari)

Bulgari (opens in new tab) is marking the tenth anniversary of the Octo collection with the release of the Bulgari (opens in new tab) Octo Finissimo Ultra. Measuring just 1.8mm, the thinnest mechanical watch ever made has scooped Bulgari (opens in new tab) its eighth world record. The watch comes complete with a QR code engraved on the barrel of each of the ten limited editions, and also gives the owner access to a unique NFT art piece.

‘The point of the Octo Finissimo is that we always break the rules,’ says Bulgari (opens in new tab) Watch Division product creation executive director Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani. ‘We have to imagine something different.’

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra watch

(Image credit: Bulgari)

‘I'm a lucky man, because I’m the witness from outside of what is a very constructive dialogue,’ adds Bulgari (opens in new tab) Watch Division managing director Antoine Pin on the collaborative creation process. ‘It's probably something you would not see very often between the constructors, the watchmakers and the studio, and the fact that the studio is so connected from the very beginning to the conception of the watch. It is why you get products that are quite unique.’

This new piece intertwines the Octo’s classic watch design codes – including the eight-sided shape that takes its inspiration from the geometry of the Pantheon’s arches, and the clean purity of the dial – with a record-breaking technicality. The watch encompasses eight patents, from the assembly of the watch glass to the bracelet and barrel structure. Crafted in sandblasted titanium, it is both ultra-light and strong.

The QR code engraved on the barrel offers a new direction for contemporary watchmaking, inviting wearers into a digital new world where there is an ever-evolving selection of experiences on offer. Design-wise, it was a natural fit. ‘If you look at the design of the Octo, it's a 45-degree angle,’ Stigliani points out. ‘All the elements come from a square portion of a square. So in terms of design, it makes sense, because it's the same pattern.’

side view of thin Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra watch

(Image credit: Bulgari)

With the addition of the QR code, Stigliani envisions the watch becoming the gateway to this new non-physical world. ‘The watch is flat, it's a two-dimensional object; you lose the third dimension – this is what comes from the QR code.’

‘We’re not just creating a second world that is far away,’ Pin adds. ‘It's actually creating different bridges between the digital and physical. And it's interesting to be able to bridge between those two worlds, opening the dimension but without trying to reinvent the world; opening up to it without losing the strike on reality.’

Alongside this piece, Bulgari (opens in new tab)is also releasing two anniversary editions in titanium, the Octo Finissimo Automatic and the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic, which trace the outlines of Stigliani’s original pencil sketches for the Octo Finissimo on the dial.

The pencil marks are laser-engraved onto the dial. ‘We had to do many tests to find something precise enough to fulfil the function of the launch,’ Pin says. ‘At one point we ended up with something that was too close to the final industrial design, without the character of the drawing. It’s funny, because I don't believe anybody before has gone backwards, reversing to the initial sketch of the product.’

The Octo Finissimo Automatic and Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic Bulgari watches

The Octo Finissimo Automatic and Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic

(Image credit: Bulgari)

INFORMATION

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Hannah Silver joined Wallpaper* in 2019 to work on watches and jewellery. Now, as well as her role as watches and jewellery editor, she writes widely across all areas including on art, architecture, fashion and design. As well as offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, Hannah is interested in the quirks of what makes for a digital success story.