At the LVMH watch summit taking place this week in Dubai, Bulgari has released a new version of the Octo Finissimo Automatic, which at its launch in 2017 debuted with a titanium case, and a matching integrated bracelet. The watch was notable not only for its very striking and original aesthetic, but also for its movement; the caliber BVL 138 Finissimo was, at the time, the world’s thinnest self-winding movement, at just 2.23mm thick.
This achievement was partly possible thanks to the large diameter of the movement (36.60mm) as well as the use of a micro-rotor. It is not the thinnest automatic movement ever made – Piaget’s caliber 12P was a close contender, at 2.23mm thick, and was also a micro-rotor movement; the long forgotten Lasalle caliber 2000 (which we looked at in our series on ultra-thin movements) was 2.08mm thick. The latter, however, was too fragile and unreliable to stay in production (it could easily be damaged beyond repair just by trying to remove it from a watch case). The AP caliber 2120 is at 2.45mm thick, still the thinnest full-rotor automatic in the world. Today, the BVL 138 Finissimo movement is no longer the thinnest automatic in the world, having been dethroned by the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon (caliber BVL 288, 1.95mm thick, believe it or not) but it remains the thinnest time-only automatic in the world.