Bvlgari has indisputably innovated and renewed the genre of ultra-thin fine watches. The luxury house has been busy breaking new ground in Haute Horlogerie with the Octo Finissimo range while garnering a string of world records. However, along the way, the Roman jeweler has decidedly diffused its micro-mechanical prowess into the movements of its Haute Joaillerie watches for women.
Fusing grand complications with high jewelry
In 2020, Bvlgari launched both the world’s smallest tourbillon and the thinnest minute repeater in the women’s category. A few months ago, I reviewed the latter, and we also delved into the remarkable Divas’ Finissima Minute Repeater here. Powering this Divas’ Dream is the ultra-slim hand-wound BVL 362 caliber with an extraordinary mechanical pedigree originating from Gérald Genta.
At the risk of singing the same praise, I encourage you to head over there for my take on these marvelous endeavors. Bvlgari is holding the light up there when it comes to creating mechanically top-of-the-scale and genuinely exciting watches for women.
The Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon
The same goes for the former, which we introduced in this article as the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon inaugural version. The latest 2022 rendition of this dazzling devil houses the previously mentioned miniature tourbillon in a 34mm white gold case encrusted with diamonds and black spinels. The diminutive yet powerful engine is the result of two years of in-house development of the caliber BVL 150.
An exceptional tourbillon
Conceiving and crafting a tourbillon this small required new feats of engineering, which utterly bowled me over. The ingenious design uses a transparent sapphire disc and a jewel to secure and stabilize the mechanism instead of a traditional upper bridge which, would have obscured the mechanical marvel.
The BVL 150
Talk about the ultimate form and function. Not only does this construction achieve both, but it also creates a visual illusion of a flying tourbillon. And the microstructure amounts to only 3.65mm in thickness, 22mm lengthwise and 18mm across, with the tourbillon cage 10.88mm in diameter. The manual-winding BVL 150 operates at 21,600vph and is able to generate a 40-hour power reserve.
The Serpenti Misteriosi
Not resting on its laurels, Bvlgari brings us yet another micro-mechanical sensation: the Piccolissimo (“extra small” in Italian). Since its debut in January this year, this petite movement has found its home in four new Serpenti “secret watches”, aka Misteriosi (timepieces disguised as bracelets). The Piccolissmo shares the same lineage as the Octo Finissimo and equally triumphs in performance. But as its name suggests, it does not just impress with its thinness. More than that, it is also Bvlgari’s smallest round mechanical movement in production today.
The BVL 100
Measuring 12.3mm wide and 2.5mm thick, the Piccolissmo is a manual-winding movement that weighs just 1.30 grams. This in-house caliber BVL 100 comprises 102 components and 21 jewels. It has a white gold balance which aims to produce greater inertia in such a small wheel and beats at 21,600vph (3Hz). It also includes a 5mm-large barrel and a 170mm-long spring which offer a 30-hour power reserve. That is incredibly generous for such a compact structure. Bvlgari says it is all down to the manufacture’s mastery in miniaturization, allowing no compromise in accuracy and durability.
The art of miniaturization
When devising this micro-movement with the brand’s high-end jewelry watches in mind, reliability was not the only concern. The architecture of the caliber must also suit a wide variety of case shapes and often fluid styles for women’s watches. The team opted for a circular caliber for its versatility. They also repositioned the crown on the case back to minimize surface space and prevent it from protruding from the artistic case shape. The crown is bidirectional for time-setting and winding.
The modern-day secret watches
By the same token, the iconic Serpenti also needed a redesign in order to encase the Piccolissmo. The creative team finessed the details carefully, making the snake head a touch smaller and the body slimmer than the recent Serpenti models. Thanks to these adjustments, the four Serpenti Misteriosi watches turn out to be lighter and easier to wear. The new proportions are also more akin to the vintage pieces in the collection.
By mastering miniaturization into an art form and honoring its ancestral Haute Joaillerie craftsmanship, Bvlgari underpins its status as the champion in serious Haute Horlogerie watches for women. Learn more about the craftsmanship behind these pieces here.
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