In watchmaking there is always a record that can be broken. Back in the 50s, there was a great rivalry between Swiss brands to make the world’s thinnest watch. That was no easy thing in the era of chunky mechanical movements and relatively primitive machine tools, cutting, alloys etc.
Well Bulgari are tapping into that aspiration with their Octo Finnissimo Ultra, which is just 1.8mm thin. It looks like a printed circuit board, or 3D printer version of a watch from some angles, which is not surprising as this tech tour-de-force has every function pared down to the basics to make the cut.
No winding crown, no bezel. No hands really, except the small hands onthe sub dials which actually tell the time. It’s clever stuff, with eight patents pending say Bulgari. It also has an NFT built in, which you can access by scanning the QR code on the mainspring barrel.
It retails for $400,000 and they are making just 10 of them. So yeah, oilgarch stuff.
But does the price matter? No, because sometimes watches are all about technical challenges and rare craft. Shocasing what CAN be done, if you wanted it made possible. Nobody expected Elon Musk to go to Mars when he first showcased his Tesla, but he’s aiming high all the time, striving to create something impossible.
That’s progress, for even when it seems like billionaire toyshop stuff, the future nearly always starts with a grand folly.