Hands-on with the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT in Titanium
The dust clouds have barely settled after Watches & Wonders 2021, where Bvlgari introduced another record-breaking marvel. The all-new Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar is the seventh record-breaking Octo Finissimo. While this breaking of records is without a doubt spectacular and does wonders for the reputation of the brand, in the end, it’s all about having people buy your watches. Without a doubt, the one Octo Finissimo to end up on most people’s wrists is the Automatic version in steel. But another great option is the titanium Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT. I had a chance to go hands-on with it to find out how good it really is.
Back in January, I also wrote the introduction article for the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT. In it, I expressed my great appreciation for the way Bvlgari has protected the Octo Finissimo concept. Up until now, Bvlgari has been very conscious of picking the right materials and finishing for their modern icon. It’s all done to make sure the unique style of the Octo Finissimo is maintained. However, the bigger question is whether this rather purist approach will also appeal to a bigger audience? While I love this conceptual consistency, it’s also clear that many watch enthusiasts prefer something less stealthy and rather buy something a bit more common.
Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT
Bvlgari is very much aware of that situation as well. For the line to be able to become a commercial success, you have to create options. Signs that Bvlgari also understands are the blue dial and black dial versions of the Octo Finissimo Automatic in steel. On top of that, the blue reverse panda dial Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT is another more common color execution. That watch was actually released at the same time as the stealthy version in this review. The great thing is that I was able to compare them in our offices. I wasn’t too fond of that watch. It’s bigger, it’s bolder, and basically doesn’t have the same appeal as the rest of the line for me.
If you want the glory of the original concept, this has to be your pick.
Put next to the stealthy titanium Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT with the great rubber strap, and it’s a no-brainer for me. If you want the glory of the original concept, this has to be your pick. At 42mm, it’s only 1mm smaller than the steel blue reverse panda version, but the appearance makes it seem a bigger difference in size. Add the incredibly comfortable rubber strap — an Octo Finissimo first — and this is a joy to put on your wrist. There haven’t been that many watches recently where I immediately thought, “Thank you, that’s it. I’m off with my new watch”.
The stealthy appearance
The basis of the watch’s stealthy appearance starts with its titanium case. It’s the same case that we know from the original record-breaking Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT that was introduced back in 2019. It’s a 42mm case that is only 6.9mm high. It makes the chronograph version of the Octo Finissimo 2mm bigger in size than the much-praised 40mm automatic version. This increase in size was necessary to create the record-breaking caliber we will get to in a second.
The matt black opaline is a beautiful deep dark canvas.
The dial is a deep black opaline dial that is also an Octo Finissimo first. Bvlgari uses black opaline dials for their Serpenti collection. But they also work perfectly for the Octo Finissimo. The matt black opaline is a beautiful deep dark canvas that contrasts nicely with the grey elements on the dial and the hands that hover above the dial. On top of that, the black rubber strap corresponds with the dial color creating a well-balanced stealthy appearance.
Perfect dial layout
What I love greatly about the dial is its readability. All the elements are neatly placed on the black background creating a chronograph dial with room to breathe. Part of the layout’s success is the 2mm size increase that also works wonders for the dial. The open hands also work very well with the chronograph layout. They create a feeling of airiness with the sub-dials underneath.
When it comes to chronographs, I prefer a layout with three subregisters. I often feel with two subregisters, the overall balance is harder to achieve. Bvlgari created this layout with three subregisters by integrating the GMT function. On the dial, the small seconds is positioned at 9 o’clock, the 30-minute counter at 6 o’clock, and the second timezone indication at 3 o’clock. I love how Bvlgari has integrated all these elements and still makes the watch look like a minimalist-style chronograph.
The ultra-thin caliber BVL 318
If you turn the watch around, you see the show’s true star through the sapphire display. The ultra-thin caliber BVL 318 powers the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT. This 3.3mm thick automatic movement also powers the original full titanium version. The movement uses a peripheral rotor in aluminum and platinum and operates a 28,800vph. The movement has 37 jewels, a 55-hour power reserve, and a GMT function, as mentioned. It’s a great-looking movement, and I have to say that seeing the orbital rotor in action is truly a fantastic sight.
Operating the watch is very easy. The two pushers positioned at the right side of the case give access to the chronograph functions. The GMT function is operated by the pusher at the 9 o’clock position. It allows you to adjust the local time zone by one-hour increments. If you pull the crown out, you can adjust both the local and the home time.
Wearing the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT
While looks and theoretics are often the main topics of watch discussion, wearing a watch is what it’s all about. And I have already revealed how great the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT wears. A big part of that is thanks to the texturized black rubber strap. I touched upon it in my introduction article. Up until now, the undisputed winner for me is the brilliant Octo Finissimo bracelet. It looks amazing, and it is incredibly well-executed, as I mentioned in my review of the Octo Finissimo S with the steel silvered dial.
The rubber strap maintains the technical look and offers great comfort.
While Bvlgari has introduced Octo Finissimo models on a leather strap, they don’t do it for me. Somehow the combination of leather in combination with the technical angular design doesn’t have the same appeal. That’s why I was pleased to see the textured black rubber bracelet that comes with a titanium buckle. Seeing the strap, in reality, confirms my thought that it fits the overall feel of the Octo Finissimo a lot better. It maintains the technical look and offers great comfort.
Steel or titanium?
After putting the watch on my wrist, the first thing that stood out was its weight. Or lack thereof, to be more exact. The ultra-thin profile combined with the light materials makes it seem like you’re hardly wearing a watch. It’s also what many watch enthusiasts don’t like about a titanium watch. Many prefer a steel watch over a titanium version. It adds substantial weight, actually making you aware that you are wearing a great timepiece. And in most situations, I absolutely agree. But for this Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT I do not.
This Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT embodies that concept perfectly.
First off, the combination of titanium and black elements looks spectacular. It results in an overall great wrist presence that will definitely remind you that you are wearing a great timepiece. Secondly, the Octo Finissimo chronograph’s overall look is busier and more technical, and I like that in combination with a stealthy appearance. And thirdly, the overall concept of the Octo Finissimo is focused on creating modern ultra-thin and lightweight watches, and this Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT embodies that concept perfectly.
Overall I think Bvlgari hit it out of the park with this stealthy titanium Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT. It comes as no surprise that I prefer it over the steel 43mm Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT with the blue reverse panda dial. But I must admit I also prefer it over the original titanium version. The chronograph design works really well with this combination of dark colors. And this combination of black and dark grey gives the watch that necessary bit of zing that is very welcome for the chronograph version of the Octo Finissimo.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved wearing this titanium Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT. I love its stealthy looks, its ultra-thin profile in combination with low overall weight, the 42mm size, and the clever addition of the rubber strap. This great package is available at a list price of €17,400.
I admit it; I am a member of the Octo Finissimo fan club. But that doesn’t mean that I think every Octo Finissimo release is a hit. On top of that, it will be interesting to see how Bvlgari will create more Octo Finissimo releases without clouding the original concept. Or releasing too many watches too shortly after each other. That’s all in the future. For now, I think this titanium Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT is perfect evidence that there is room to grow the collection and honor the initial concept. This is simply a great watch. It looks amazing, has a great movement, and wears incredibly well.