With the introduction of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic, Bulgari shows the world not only that they can produce record-breaking thin movements. They also cracked one of the most difficult design challenges by creating a chronograph version of the Octo Finissimo that fits the iconic design of the Octo Finissimo family.
Bulgari has been very successful the last couple of years in breaking several ‘the world’s thinnest’ records with the Octo Finissimo line of watches. The impressive Octo Finissimo collection features the thinnest tourbillon movement, the thinnest minute repeater movement, the thinnest automatic movement, and now it also features the world’s thinnest chronograph. The all-new the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic was the most talked-about Bulgari release at Baselworld 2019. And although people expect Bulgari to break more records every year, it remains impressive to see what the brand comes up with to further strengthen the growing legacy of the Octo Finissimo line.
the most talked-about Bulgari release at Baselworld 2019
But instead of focusing on the technical details first, I want to focus on what makes the Octo Finissimo so unique to a lot of watch enthusiasts, including myself. I touched upon it shortly in a previous article about the two new black ceramic versions of the Octo Finissimo that were also introduced at Baselword this year. Bulgari has been very consistent in choosing the new additions by either creating a new world’s thinnest movement or introducing new materials that are the perfect addition to the recognisable look and feel of the Octo Finissimo. So Bulgari has protected the distinct look and feel of the watches to keep the recognition of the Octo Finissimo. It has contributed to overall praise, even going as far as labelling the Octo Finissimo as the most exciting watch family currently around and calling it a future classic.
especially when designing a chronograph, a lot of elements come into play that could change the overall feel of the design
After seeing the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic, I have to say I’m even more impressed with the overall versatility of the Octo Finissimo design. A lot of people mention that the new chronograph design is entirely in line with what they have come to expect from the Octo Finissimo line. But especially when designing a chronograph, a lot of elements come into play that could change the overall feel of the design. So the fact that people feel completely feel at ease with the design of the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic is proof that the overall design of the Octo Finissimo is incredibly effective. Besides, the Bulgari designers respect and understand the power of the minimalist Octo Finissimo design and are capable of making any new version that has been released up until now, feel completely logical. And I have to say I love that about the Octo Finissimo line.
For the new chronograph version of the watch, Bulgari uses a 42mm titanium case instead of the 40mm case used for the automatic version. The slight increase in size also creates more space on the dial for the added chronograph and GMT sub-dials to breathe and not fight the already existing elements. The black inscriptions, markers, and open hands contrast very well with the sandblasted titanium dial to ensure optimum readability. The open hands of the Octo Finissimo also work very well on the chronograph version because they create this feeling of openness, especially with the sub-dials underneath. Indications are naturally positioned with hours and minutes in the centre next to a central chronograph hand. Small seconds is positioned at 9 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 6 o’clock, and a second timezone indication at 3 o’clock. The second timezone is an excellent addition to the chronograph function as it balances out the design with a third sub-dial and gives the wearer probably the most practical of complications. Bulgari has achieved a layered design that works very well in both using the watch with all its functions while maintaining that specific Octo Finissimo look.
Although I have a soft spot for discussing everything I love about the design of the Octo Finissimo, it’s important to keep in mind that the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic has claimed the title of being the world’s thinnest mechanical chronograph. The watch is only 6.9mm thick and combined with the sandblasted titanium case and bracelet, it makes it a uniquely thin and light watch that’s easy to wear compared to many of today’s thicker chronograph watches. The Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic is powered by the brand new automatic Caliber BVL 318 that’s only 3.3mm thick and therefore also claiming the record of being the thinnest automatic chronograph caliber ever made. To make the movement so thin, Bulgari did not use a traditional rotor but instead utilised a peripheral rotor made from solid platinum and aluminium. As a result, the brand had to increase the size from 40mm to 42mm.
Two pushers classically positioned at the right side of the case give access to the chronograph functions. There is a third pusher at the 9 o’clock position that allows you to adjust the local time zone by one-hour increments, which helps you set the time quicker when you are away from home. When pulling the crown, both home time and local time are adjusted. Lastly, the Movement has a 55-hour power reserve and is visible through the see-through case back. The finishing is beautiful and thorough and is in line with what have come to know from the Octo Finissimo movements. Thanks to the peripheral rotor, the view of the movement is beautiful and gives you a good idea of the achievement that Bulgari pulled off with the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic.
Bulgari’s ongoing quest for creating a record-breaking series of the world’s thinnest watches is an impressive one. The records for creating the world’s thinnest mechanical chronograph watch and the thinnest automatic chronograph caliber are both remarkable and logical at the same time. It’s remarkable because new chronograph movements, especially automatic chronographs, are challenging to design and produce. And that’s not even discussing ultra-thin chronograph movements or even more challenging creating ultra-thin automatic chronographs. It’s why the previous record for thinnest automatic chronograph had been in the books for over 30 years. The record was set back in 1987 by the 5.5mm thick F. Piguet caliber 1185, which is based on the hand-wound F. Piguet 1180, which is only 3.95mm thick. So the record-breaking Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic is a proper technical tour de force that shows the craftsmanship and dedication Bulgari puts into their Octo Finissimo line of watches.
On the other hand, the record-breaking Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic is also a logical step for the Octo Finissimo line. If Bulgari wanted to keep breaking all the ‘world’s thinnest’ records, a record-breaking chronograph was a logical next step. But as stated, it doesn’t take anything away from the technological achievement that Bulgari has pulled off. Which brings us to the question of what Bulgari’s next step will be for the Octo Finissimo? It will be interesting to see what the Roman brand will come up with as their next record-breaking version of the Octo Finissimo. What we do know is that the iconic design of the Octo Finissimo is the perfect starting point for any record-breaking model that’s up next. The design has proven itself to be very versatile while being highly iconic and therefore has quickly captured the hearts of many watch enthusiasts, including mine. The Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic is further proof of that and places an Octo Finissimo high on my wishlist of future purchases.
For more information, visit Bulgari online.
Jorg has been working in marketing & communications for 15 years. He is specialised in developing brand strategy, brand portfolio, brand design and brand communications. Besides, he loves watches and the stories that make them worthwhile. He can be spotted... read more