With six world records in six years, the Octo Finissimo legion marches forward to consolidate Bvlgari’s ultra-thin watch empire. The Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT, which smashed the world record as the thinnest chronograph watch in 2019, returns in 2021 with a new black opaline dial and an on-trend sporty black rubber strap. And we’ll have a closer look at it today.
a Sextet of Lean Machines
Bvlgari’s conquering campaign of ultra-thin watches initiated in 2014 and was commandeered by the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon with its 5mm thick case. Determined to cover the gamut of classic complications, the tourbillon was followed in 2016 with the thinnest minute repeater, and in 2017 by the world’s slimmest automatic watch (recently upstaged by Piaget’s Altiplano Ultimate Concept). In 2018 the Octo Finissimo Automatic Tourbillon was released, the thinnest automatic and tourbillon watch at just 3.95mm, succeeded by the Chronograph GMT of 2019. Last year marked the sixth conquest with the world’s thinnest tourbillon chronograph.
But, as Bvlgari clearly understood, a collection cannot survive on ultra-lean credentials alone. The bold, contemporary, urban Italian design language of the Octo Finissimo family is a triumph offering a fresh alternative to more tired and traditional approaches to watchmaking.
The Thinnest Automatic Chronograph, now in black
As Frank points out in our video, The Secrets Behind the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT, this lean machine is a three-time record holder: it is the thinnest chronograph, the thinnest automatic (and manual-winding) chronograph and the thinnest GMT in the world. And we’re talking about an integrated chronograph movement, potentially the most difficult calibre to produce after minute repeaters.
Like the first Octo Finissimo Chronograph, the sandblasted titanium case measures 42mm across and has a height of 6.90mm. Viewed from the side, you can appreciate the complex stepped architecture of the octagonal case middle surmounted by the round bezel. The chronograph pushers are artfully integrated into the case and the pusher at 9 o’clock, which counterbalances the crown, is used to adjust local time in one-hour increments.
The novelty here is the incorporation of a black dial with silver markings. Breaking the monochromatic hegemony of the grey dial versions, the black opaline dial provides more contrast and looks sharper. The dial layout is identical, with central hours, minutes and chronograph seconds hand, running seconds at 9 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 6 o’clock and the additional function of a second time zone provided for in the 24-hour counter at 3 o’clock.
The second novelty is the substitution of the integrated titanium bracelet with a black rubber strap. Matching the colour scheme of the case and dial, the black textured rubber strap and sandblasted titanium pin buckle result in a sportier look.
None of the record-breaking thinness above deck would be possible without the prodigious engineering feat achieved with Bvlgari’s in-house automatic calibre BVL318. Thanks to the incorporation of a peripheral rotor, the automatic winding does not add any additional bulk to the unimaginably thin 3.30mm thickness of the movement. Another height-saving solution is found in the large diameter (37.20mm) of the movement, meaning that there is more space horizontally to fit the classic column-wheel architecture and horizontal clutch of the chronograph. Beating at a frequency of 4Hz, the 55-hour power reserve is sturdy. The movement is decorated with thin Geneva stripes and machine-bevelled bridges and can be seen through the sapphire crystal caseback.
The Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT is not a limited edition and retails for EUR 17,400. Availability expected for end of January 2021. More information at Bvlgari.