Watch Out Now: Thinking Thin with Bulgari

The Eighth in an Eleventh-part Series.

Whether you opt for an inexpensive everyday watch or a limited-edition collector’s chronograph, the watch on your wrist plays a big part in defining your style. Undoubtedly, the best watch is going to be one that you wear, one that fits your budget and matches your lifestyle.

No matter what you’re looking for, now is the time to get it. In the ports of call, take advantage of tax-free, duty-free prices and pick up a designer watch for hundreds—even thousands—of dollars less than what you’d pay back at home.

So even if you’ve never thought about buying a watch before—or if you’ve thought about it and didn’t know where to start—rest assured it’s not as…complicated as it looks. We asked Keith W. Strandberg, the international editor of the industry-standard Watch Journal, to put together an insider’s guide to the world of fine timepieces.

And so, welcome to Watch Wednesday–it’s watches 101 combined with a trend and news roundup.

The more complicated a watch is, the thicker it typically is. The parts needed for each complication and function add a level to the time-keeping movement, so the most complicated watches tend to embrace an oversized design. After all, a large watch is less of a challenge to design; there’s more space for every detail. Making everything thinner and smaller, on the other hand, now that’s a watchmaking challenge. It takes precise design expertise to determine which parts can be winnowed down to a smaller size without impacting the performance or precision of a timepiece.

Leave it to the Italians to make it look easy. The Italians are global leaders when it comes to design, and Bulgari takes full advantage of its Roman roots to make watches like no other. Many of its styles are iconic, such as the Octo watches that are neither round nor square but instantly recognizable.

While Bulgari is best known for its jewelry, watches have become an increasingly important part of the house. Bulgari has applied its design ethos to the pinnacle of watchmaking, powering its famous Octo watch with one of the world’s thinnest tourbillon movements. Made up of 249 parts, the manual-wind flying tourbillon movement that is just 1.95 mm thick—thinner than a Swiss franc coin—is fit inside a case that’s 40 mm wide and under 5 mm tall.

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