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The Five Thinnest Watches in The World
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The Five Thinnest Watches in The World

17. June 2024

Building the thinnest watch in the world is undeniably one of the most competitive and impressive record chases in modern day horological engineering. Whilst many brands have produced thin watches, only a few brands have ever been truly in competition for the trophy – predominantly Bulgari, Richard Mille and Piaget. In this article, we will break down five of the thinnest watches in the world money can buy right now.


Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra Mark II


The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra Mark II, is the new thinnest watch in the world at a staggeringly thin 1.7mm. While the case and bracelet are made from sandblasted grade-5 titanium, the caseback is made from tungsten carbide, a particularly hard material which acts as the base plate for the BVL 180 ticking away inside. The calibre this time is COSC certified, making the Ultra II not only the thinnest watch ever made, but also the thinnest chronometer certified watch ever made. Pretty extreme stuff. In fact, due to its extremity, it is programmed in a rather novel way by placing it special case with a digital display. According to Bulgari, it’s like having your own watchmaker at home. I’m not sure about that part, but anyway.

Coming in at 600,000 euro, the Ultra II is quite literally a house on your wrist, except quite a lot more money per unit of measurement. To be precise, it’s 352,941.18 euro per mm. Let that sink in.


Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari


Coming in at second place and released in mid 2022, is the RM UP-01 Ferrari which remains Richard Mille’s thinnest watch to date at 1.75mm, or, +0.05 mm if were talking standardised numbers. The case is made from none other than grade-5 titanium, Richard Mille’s favourite material, which in this case has the entire movement assembled into it with no need for a base plate, allowing for a greater degree of slimness.

The movement itself is just 1.18mm thick, or thin I should say, and displays the hours, minutes, seconds as well as a function selector. It is also capable of withstanding up to 5,000 g’s of force, which is where the Ferrari part comes in. There’s no doubt about it, with the number of times the term ‘sports watch’ gets thrown around in this industry, Richard Mille are the only producers of true sports watches that are designed for sport and worn in sport. The RM UP-01 Ferrari, limited to 150 pieces, is certainly no different.

Despite all this impressive engineering, it costs 2 million euros. And you can barely read the time. Those are the words from the unfiltered watch community which I find myself conversing with, and they’re not exactly wrong. If you’re going to sell your organs, re-mortgage your house or even sleep on the street for this watch, the time could be a little clearer to read.


Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra


Also in 2022, and only a few months before Richard Mille shook the market, Bulgari released a short-lived worlds thinnest watch: The Octo Finissimo Ultra, the predecessor to the Ultra Mark II. It was released to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Octo collection and came in at 1.8mm thin, which even now remains only a fraction thicker than both its predecessor and the RM UP-01. Quite like them the case is made from grade-5 titanium, finished in the iconic Bulgari sandblasted look. The case back is also made from tungsten carbide, acting as the baseplate for the movement with slots for the components machined into it.

The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra comes in at a retail price of around EUR 350,000 which is a nice quarter of a million euro saving for an extra millimetre of handwear.


Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept


Next, we have the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept which was released as far back as 2018. At 2 mm thick, the watch was too thin to be made from gold, which is usually the brands preferred material. Instead, the case is made from a specially treated cobalt alloy – Yeh, that stuff the school science teacher used to warn us about, remember?

Well, I’m here to assure you it’s not dangerous, but it is supposedly 2.3 times stronger than gold, which allows Piaget to push the extremities of its ultra-thin casebacks. The movement barrel holds 40 hours of power reserve and is wound via a telescoping winding system which sits flat on the dial and requires a special tool to operate.

From the movement finishing to the colour of the bridges and dial, Piaget is offering a huge array of customisation options for the Altiplano Ultimate Concept, resulting in over 10,000 different potential outcomes. Priced at over EUR 400,000, I don’t think that’s too much to ask!

This year Piaget dropped a new tourbillon version of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept which is now the world’s thinnest tourbillon. If you want to find out more about this piece, we invite you to read our in-depth article.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Squelette


Finally on our list, we have a different brand, but one no less important in the world of horology. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Ultra-Thin Squelette takes a different approach to its sleek look. Instead of the futuristic appearance and high-tech materials, it remains classic in style and is constructed from either rose gold or white gold, features an enamelled hour ring along the outside portion of the dial in red or blue respectively.

The movement is fully skeletonised as opposed to open worked, meaning one can see right the way through the other side of the watch rather than simply the presence of visible components. As well as this, the movement is decorated and finished to a very high standard, especially for a mechanical watch which at 3.6 mm was the worlds thinnest upon its release in 2015. Despite the likes of Bulgari, Richard Mille and Piaget having now overtaken Jaeger LeCoultre in raw numbers, this piece is a great example of an ultra-thin watch which retains classic characteristics of watchmaking. One figure it smashes the rest on however, is the price. Coming in at around EUR 60,000, the value for money is incomparable.

4.73 mm if you want it in the gem set version


Conclusion

So with that in mind, these 5 pieces are the pick of the bunch when it comes to ultra-thin time only wristwatches, and whilst they don’t necessarily speak to everyone aesthetically, they are more about representing the technical innovations these brands are capable of due to their heavy investment in R&D. But with that, come heavy price tags to match for anyone who does find themselves interested. None the less, this is a small niche with a corresponding small target market, and its importance in the world of Horology is second to none.


Also read our article about the thinnest complicated watches in the world.