By Harlan Chapman-Green

Baselworld is a time to excite us, technical innovations are here there and everywhere. We always love getting to hear about the newest mechanical this or contra rotating that. It really goes to show that the innovation in the watch industry is stronger than it ever has been and this year’s definitely been no different. We’ve already seen some awesome complications from the likes of Breguet as well as new material choices such as the ceramic cases on the Planet Ocean range and, of course, the Rolesor Sky-Dwellers.

One of the hardest achievements in watchmaking is thinness. It presents numerous challenges, the foremost being how to fit everything into such a tiny space. Making a more standard sized movement is a challenge unto itself, all the tiny screws and gears fitting into that small space that becomes so very delicate. Imagine doing that with screws smaller than a pinhead, now we’re talking extreme difficulty.

Compressing everything into such a tiny space is a challenge. Introduce into the mix an automatic rounder and its winding system and trouble is inevitable. Luckily, Bulgari aren’t noobs at making watches extremely slim, having made the world’s thinnest tourbillon watch, the Octo Tourbillon in 2014 and then the Octo Minute Repeater last year. Of course, those guys were manually wound, and this being automatic extends the possibilities open to Bulgari now that they’ve mastered automatic winding watches.

A world on records, at 2.23mm thick, the movement itself is thinner than Piaget’s ultra-thin self-winding calibre by 0.12mm, however Bulgari is still a way off of the Altiplano 900P (the world’s thinnest watch), so who knows. All cased up the Octo Finissimo Auto is 5.15mm thick, which is still staggeringly thin when you think it comes with the option of a metal bracelet.

To say this watch isn’t pretty is basically to announce to the world you find things like the Pontiac Aztek a pretty car with nothing wrong with it at all. We like the complex case construction made of angles and round shapes to create a balanced design overall. We reckon though that this watch will be much lighter than you were expecting, while weightlessness on the wrist is attractive for some, if you’re into your heavy steel or gold watches then this titanium delight may be a bit of a shock.

Although 40mm in diameter, wide straps and bracelets will mean it does wear a bit larger than otherwise. I found out when I tested the Bell & Ross BR-01 watch that these square pieces do wear larger than expected. On the leather strap the price of this watch is CHF11,900, or CHF12,900 for the bracelet option, so a reasonable price too. For more info, please visit bulgari.com

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