Baselworld 2015 preview…
As I understand it, this year Bulgari is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the “Bulgari Bulgari” watch. Which is a bit peculiar to me, because as I was researching the little available history of the watch the only credible sources I have been able to find seem to indicate that the Gerald Genta designed Bulgari Bulgari automatic was first launched in 1977 (it was the Bvlgari Roma whose first series of only 100 pieces launched in 1975). More details needed, I’ll firm up my history here as soon as I can.
At any rate, while the full details of how Bulgari plans to celebrate this 40th anniversary are yet to be revealed, I do know that a sapphire blue dial version of the iconic watch will be introduced. As will a similar version of the Octo.
With this month marking the 100 year anniversary of an Italian automotive icon Maserati, a celebratory watch was naturally in order to mark the occasion. And thanks to Maserati’s collaboration with Bulgari this special piece is now offered. The two brands have officially been partners since 2012, though early efforts — like this one — were more brash than impressive. However today’s Bulgari Octo Maserati is a nicely styled, attractive chronograph that should appeal to Maserati and Bulgari enthusiasts alike, with tasteful elements of co-branding throughout the watch.
And lest you think this watch is all about fashion, take note of the movement as well: there is a 36,000 vph high-beat movement with silicon escape wheel, sourced from none-other than Zenith (maker of the highly respected El Primero calibers). Oh, and also don’t forget — the design of the Octo traces its roots back to watch industry legend Gérald Genta (Genta’s namesake brand was acquired by Bulgari in 2009/2010). In other words, there’s quite a lot to like here, if you ask me.
In an impressive technical achievement, watchmakers at Bulgari have achieved a new world record for world’s thinnest tourbillon caliber. Yes, Bulgari. This watch — case and all — is 5.0mm thin (40mm diameter, made of platinum). The movement — a mere 1.95mm.
This bests recent “record holders” in the ultra-thin tourbillon category from Arnold & Son (UTTE – 2.97mm) and Breguet (tourbillon Cal 581DR – 3mm), both 2013 launches. Prior to this it was Piaget with the world’s thinnest tourbillon – the Piaget caliber 600P is a mere 3.5mm thick. Also in this category but now a few rungs down the ladder solely on the basis of dimension is JLC (their 1.85mm thin Cal 849 is the thinnest time-only/non-tourbillon hand wound in the world) and of course Audemars Piguet (their tourbillon Cal 2924 measures 4.46mm).
By the way, Bulgari is now led by the other “JCB” – Jean Christophe Babin. He was formerly CEO of TAG Heuer for about a decade.
And the world’s thinnest mechanical watch of any kind? The Piaget Altiplano 900P, an amazing creation in which case and caliber are one, measures in at a total 3.65mm.