Cover Bulgari revived the Aluminium watches to appeal to a younger generation

Bulgari dominated Geneva Watch Days 2020 with a new world record for ultra-thin watches as well as the unexpected return of its ground-breaking aluminium watches

Bulgari started 2020 strong when it set a world record for the smallest tourbillon ever with the release of the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon endowed with a tourbillon less than 11mm in diameter. At the recent Geneva Watch Days 2020, the Italian luxury maison broke another record, this time for the thinnest tourbillon chronograph watch.

It also earned the bragging right of being Bulgari’s sixth consecutive world record for ultra-thin watches (if you count the Serpenti Seduttori, its seventh world record in a row overall). This is a feat that began in 2014 with the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon (thinnest flying tourbillon). Almost every year since then, Bulgari has released one record-breaking watch after another, including the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic (thinnest automatic and thinnest tourbillon watch) in 2018.

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The Previous Five Consecutive Records:

These milestones, along with last year’s double win at Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG) for best chronograph and best jewellery watches, only serve to consolidate Bulgari’s standing as a watchmaker driven by passion and excellence.

Now meet Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic (limited to 50 pieces), Bulgari’s flagship model for the men’s collection this year, and the world’s flattest watch endowed with two grand complications, the tourbillon and the chronograph. Measuring only 7.4mm in case height, it houses the ultra-thin BVL 388 caliber that is 3.5mm thick.

(Related: This Is The World's Thinnest Watch With A Flying Tourbillon)

This extraordinary slimness is made possible by skeletonising the movement, an oscillating weight that rotates on the periphery, a horizontal clutch, and doing away with a regular dial. Only the chronograph sub-dials can be seen on the dial side; the rest of the dial reveals the movement within.

The distinctive round-inside-an-octagon-shaped case is crafted from sandblasted titanium grade 5, complementing the grey matte dial.

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Modern Elegance

Prefer an Octo Finissimo with a sportier character? Then the Octo Finissimo S in satin-polished steel is for you.

Although powered by BVL 138 calibre, the very same movement that earned the record for thinnest automatic movement in 2017, the watch is water-resistant up to 100m, safe enough to take it for a swim or a snorkel. There are two style options—black or blue lacquered dial, both with sunburst finishing.

Case Study

Platinum, titanium… and now, aluminium. As unusual as it sounds, this isn’t the first time Bulgari has developed a watch collection in the lightweight metal. Back 1998, Bulgari made the bold move of pairing aluminium and rubber for an irreverent alchemy that ultimately proved irresistible.

Reconstructed and re-engineered for a new generation, the cool factor of the Aluminium Watch has not waned with time. Despite the ubiquity of the material, the Aluminium Watch boasts a modern and sophisticated design, a worthy addition to the Bulgari luxury family. The only difference from its predecessor is that it is now a fully mechanical watch with an ultra-thin automatic movement.

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Its resurrection couldn’t have been more timely as Bulgari actively works to court savvy millennials who appreciate a premium product but without the eye-watering price tag.

“We've done that with a very modern and contemporary design that is attractive, cool and sporty,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari. “The design has been rethought and reconstructed, and we believe we have a new generation icon.”

The Aluminium Watch comes with a 40mm case with rubber bezel and DLC-treated titanium caseback. The automatic comes with grey or black dial, while the chronograph boasts a grey dial with black counters.