WatchWorks Haarlem / The Art Of Making Watches Ultra-Slim

The Art Of Making Watches Ultra-Slim

The term complication applies in the world of watches to any feature in addition to just telling time. So a chronograph, moon phase display, or even a date is considered a complication. This is somewhat misleading as other things are very complex to make but not considered a complication. The best example is a tourbillon, which is simply part of the escapement of a watch, but also ultra-slim movements fall into this category.

This Bulgari is the slimmest watch in the world featuring an automatic movement, chronograph and GMT function

Making a movement that is precise, reliable, and sturdy is not that difficult if you can make it large and thick. The smaller and thinner you make it, the more challenging it becomes. Reducing the thickness means that the margins for error become simply non-existent and that you have to shave bridges and gears to the bare minimum. At the same time, reliability and precision remain of vital importance, making this type of timepiece the Formula One of watches.

The ultra-slim movement that makes it happen. Note the platinum oscillating weight with Bulgari logo

Adding a complication to an ultra-slim watch is even more demanding, as you need to find space for additional gears and levers that isn’t there. As demanding as they are, successfully creating one is immensely satisfying for watchmakers, as they offer a challenge few other types of watches can. It takes perseverance and ingenuity, like with this Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT. The oscillating weight is placed on the outside of the movement, circling around it, allowing for a smaller profile. By redesigning most parts, Bulgari was able to not only include a column-wheel chronograph, but also an additional GMT-function, making this watch a true piece of horological art.

The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT is one of those watches that represents the Formula One of watchmaking

Wearing an ultra-slim watch, with or without additional complications, is a treat. The slenderness is mind-boggling, especially when you realize that this is a mechanical watch. An ultra-slim watch can only be made by the absolute best, because you need to excel in every field of watchmaking before you can even try to make one a reality. Therefor, a watch like this Bulgari Octo Finissimo with the additional complications of a chronograph and a second timezone function, resides at the highest tiers of mechanical watchmaking.