September8 , 2023

    What is the Thinnest Mechanical Watch? Exploring Ultra-Thin Timepieces

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    Mechanical watches are powered by a spring-driven mechanism that keeps time without batteries or electricity. They are admired for their precision, craftsmanship, and elegance. One of the most impressive feats in mechanical watchmaking is creating ultra-thin timepieces. 

    These are watches that have a very slim profile, often less than 10 mm in thickness. Achieving such thinness requires exceptional skill and innovation, as every component of the watch must be reduced to the minimum size and weight possible. Ultra-thin watches are highly sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate their refined aesthetics and technical excellence.

    But what is the thinnest mechanical watch in the world? How thin can a mechanical watch get? And what are the benefits and drawbacks of ultra-thin watches? These are some of the questions that we will explore in this article, as we take a closer look at some of the most remarkable examples of ultra-thin timepieces ever made.

    The complete picture: Master the Art of Timekeeping: An Insider’s Guide to Mechanical Watches and How They Work

    The Thinnest Mechanical Watch

    As of 2023, the Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari holds the title for the thinnest mechanical watch. This is a remarkable timepiece that showcases the collaboration between two iconic brands that share a passion for excellence, innovation, and performance.

    Image: Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari (Source)

    The Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari is a watch that defies the limits of possibility. It is the result of a long-term partnership between Richard Mille and Ferrari, two brands that have revolutionized their respective fields of Haute Horlogerie and high-performance automobiles. The watch was unveiled in July 2022 as a limited edition of 150 pieces, each costing $1.8 million.

    The watch measures an incredible 1.75 mm in thickness, beating the previous record holder, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra, by 0.05 mm. To achieve such thinness, Richard Mille had to rethink the entire architecture of the watch, creating a perfect symbiosis between the movement and the case, each ensuring the necessary rigidity of the other. 

    The watch has no dial or hands, but instead displays the time through two rotating discs on the front. The movement and the case are made of grade 5 titanium, a biocompatible, corrosion-resistant, and remarkably rigid alloy. The watch is also extremely light, weighing only 4 grams.

    One of the most innovative features of the watch is its patented ultra-flat escapement, which drastically reduces the calibre’s thickness while providing the same security as a conventional Swiss anchor escapement. The escapement eliminates the dart and the safety roller, which are usually the parts that add the most height in a traditional escapement, and resituates the banking function directly on the anchor fork. The balance wheel is also made of grade 5 titanium.

    The watch has a manual-winding movement with hours, minutes, and function selector. It has a power reserve of around 45 hours. The watch is water-resistant to 10 meters. The strap is made of rubber with a titanium pin buckle.

    The Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari is an exceptional example of ultra-thin watchmaking. It is a testament to the technical prowess and creative vision of Richard Mille and Ferrari, who have pushed the boundaries of mechanical engineering and design to create a unique and spectacular timepiece.

    Other Notable Thin Mechanical Watches

    Before the Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari took over the world by surprise, there were the previous record-breakers for the thinnest mechanical watch. These are watches that have a case thickness of less than 9 mm, which is considered pretty thin for a mechanical watch. They are not as thin as the Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari, but they are still very impressive and elegant.

    Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra

    The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra is a watch that combines extreme thinness with a distinctive geometric design. It is 1.8 mm thick and has a sandblasted titanium case and movement that are integrated into one piece. This watch was released in March 2022 as part of Bulgari’s Octo collection, which celebrates 10 years of the innovative design. 

    Image: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra (Source)

    The watch is a limited edition of only 10 pieces and it costs $440,000. The watch has a manual-winding movement with hours and minutes, and it has a power reserve of 40 hours. The watch is water-resistant to 30 meters. The strap is also made of sandblasted titanium with a folding clasp.

    The watch has a unique and unconventional way of displaying the time, with two separate dials for the hours and minutes, and a smaller dial for the seconds next to the minutes dial. The watch also has a controversial feature that some may find intriguing and others may find intrusive: a large QR code engraved on the upper left wheel of the watch. This QR code links to an NFT that is associated with the watch, which can be accessed by scanning it with a smartphone.

    Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept (AUC)

    The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept (AUC) is a watch that pushes the boundaries of ultra-thin watchmaking to the extreme. It is 2 mm thick and has a cobalt alloy case and movement that are integrated into one piece. This watch was presented at SIHH 2018 as a concept watch, but it became available for purchase in 2020.

    Image: Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept (AUC) (Source)

    The watch has a skeletonized dial with two hands and four indices, and it costs $450,000. The watch has a manual-winding movement with hours and minutes, and it has a power reserve of 44 hours and water-resistant to 30 meters. The strap is made of alligator leather with an ardillon buckle. However, you can also design your own AUC with 10,000 combinations to choose from.

    Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra Fine 1955

    This watch is inspired by a historical model from 1955, and has a case thickness of only 4.13 mm. It features a hand-wound movement that is only 1.64 mm thick, and a classic dial with baton hands and hour markers. The watch is made of platinum, and comes with a brown alligator leather strap. This timepiece costs around $35,000.

    Image: Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra Fine 1955 (Source)

    This watch is a tribute to Vacheron Constantin’s heritage and tradition in ultra-thin watchmaking, as well as its quality and refinement. The movement of this watch is the Calibre 1003, which was first introduced in 1955 as the thinnest mechanical movement in the world at that time. 

    The movement has a diameter of 21.1 mm and a thickness of 1.64 mm. The movement has 117 parts and 18 jewels, and it operates at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour. The movement has a power reserve of 31 hours. The movement also has an exceptional level of finishing, with chamfered bridges, polished screws, and Côtes de Genève decorations. 

    Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Jubilee

    This watch is part of the 180th anniversary collection of Jaeger-LeCoultre, and has a case thickness of only 4.05 mm. It features a hand-wound movement that is only 1.85 mm thick, and a refined dial with dauphine hands and hour markers. It costs around $27,000.

    Image: Jaeger-LeCoutre Master Ultra Thin Jubilee (Source)

    The watch is made of white gold, and comes with a black alligator leather strap. This watch is a representation of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s essence and excellence in ultra-thin watchmaking, as well as its sophistication and charm. 

    The movement of this watch is the Calibre 849, which was developed in 1994 as one of the thinnest mechanical movements in the world. The movement has a diameter of 20 mm and a thickness of 1.85 mm, which makes it fit snugly inside the 39 mm case. The movement has a power reserve of 35 hours and comes with an exquisite level of finishing, with sunray-brushed bridges, circular-grained wheels, and blued screws. 

    Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Small Seconds

    The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Small Seconds is a watch that embodies the classic and refined style of Jaeger-LeCoultre. It is 5.15 mm thick and has a stainless steel case and a manual movement.

    Image: Jaeger-LeCoutre Master Ultra Thin Small Seconds (Source)

    This watch was launched in 2019 as part of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master collection, which showcases the brand’s expertise in elegant and refined watchmaking. The watch has a classic dial with two hands, a small seconds subdial, and applied indices, and it costs $8,550. 

    The watch has a manual-winding movement with hours, minutes, and small seconds, and a power reserve of 70 hours. The watch is water-resistant to 50 meters. The strap is made of alligator leather with a pin buckle.

    The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Small Seconds is a watch that represents the essence and tradition of Jaeger-LeCoultre, as well as its quality and reliability. It is a watch that exudes sophistication and charm, as well as precision and performance.

    Read more: Top 10 Best Looking Mechanical Watches That Turn Heads 

    Chopard L.U.C XP

    The Chopard L.U.C XP is a watch that combines simplicity and elegance with high-end craftsmanship. It is 7.5 mm thick and has a stainless steel case and an automatic movement with micro-rotor. This watch was introduced in 2016 as part of Chopard’s L.U.C collection, which features high-end watches with in-house movements.

    Image: Chopard L.U.C XP (Source)

    The watch has a simple dial with two hands and Arabic numerals, and it costs $9,410. The watch has an automatic movement with hours and minutes, and it has a power reserve of 58 hours. The watch is water-resistant to 30 meters. The strap is made of alligator leather with a pin buckle.

    The Chopard L.U.C XP is a watch that showcases Chopard’s excellence and refinement in watchmaking, as well as its respect for the environment and social responsibility. It is a watch that expresses understated luxury and timeless beauty, as well as technical sophistication.

    Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin

    The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin is a watch that is a legend in the world of luxury sports watches. It is 8.1 mm thick and has a stainless steel case and an automatic movement with date function. This watch was first launched in 1972 as the original Royal Oak model designed by Gerald Genta, and it has become an icon of luxury sports watches ever since. 

    The movement of this watch is the Calibre 2121, which was first introduced in 1970 as one of the thinnest self-winding movements with date function in the world. The movement has a diameter of 28.4 mm and a thickness of 3.2 mm and it has a power reserve of 40 hours. The watch is water-resistant to 50 meters.

    Image: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin (Source)

    The watch has a distinctive octagonal bezel, an integrated bracelet, and a textured dial with two hands, a date window, and applied indices, and it costs $31,300. The dial also has the “Petite Tapisserie” pattern, which is a signature feature of the Royal Oak collection. 

    Discover more: The Ultimate Precision: Most Accurate Mechanical Watches 

    Conclusion

    In this article, we have explored the fascinating world of thin mechanical watches. We have learned what a mechanical watch is, how thin it can get, and what are some of the most remarkable examples of thinnest timepieces ever made. We hope this article has given you some useful information and insights about thinnest mechanical watches, and we encourage you to explore and appreciate them.

    Thin mechanical watches are not only impressive technical achievements, but also attractive and desirable objects. They are a testament to the skill and creativity of their makers, who have pushed the boundaries of mechanical engineering and design to create new solutions and paradigms for thinness. They are also a reflection of your taste and personality, as they express your appreciation for simplicity and elegance, as well as precision and performance.

    We encourage you to explore these timepieces and appreciate the craftsmanship involved. You may discover a new passion or hobby that will enrich your life and make you happy.

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