The following article was produced in partnership with Bulgari.
Watchmakers love to lean on their long histories and their iconic models: designs that have stood the test of time and continue to be produced long after their designers put pen to paper.
Bulgari has a long history too, with the Italian luxury house having been founded almost 140 years ago – but their most iconic model, which has quickly become one of the icons of modern watchmaking, has a far shorter history… Although that history has been anything but jam-packed.
First introduced a decade ago, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo has firmly established itself as one of the market’s most distinctive and exciting watches. Its uniquely architectural, striking design is immediately recognisable.
The Octo Finissimo has also become a canvas upon which Bulgari has produced some of the most impressive technological innovations in watchmaking, primarily when it comes to ultra-thin watches. The world’s thinnest mechanical watch, the world’s thinnest tourbillon, the world’s thinnest minute repeater…
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT is another record-breaker. It might also be the most versatile Octo watch Bulgari has ever produced, as well as one of its most luxurious. The perfect marriage of form and function, it’s inarguably one of the most intriguing watches on the market.
First of all, let’s talk about the movement that powers it: the in-house BVL318 calibre. As we alluded to above, it holds the record for the world’s thinnest chronograph movement (only 3.3mm!) – which is impressive on its own but is made even more impressive when you consider it also has a GMT module as well.
At first glance, you might think the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT is a classic tri-compax chronograph, but it’s anything but classic. That right-most subdial? It’s actually a second time zone indicator. It’s an elegant way to integrate dual time-zone functionality while maintaining those iconic chronograph design codes.
Yet other elements of the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT disrupt established design codes. Case in point: its peripheral automatic rotor, which dances around the watch’s finely finished, horizontally-arranged movement, on display through an exhibition casebook.
The Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT is a masterclass in design. Its chronograph pushers are elegantly integrated into the right-hand side of the case in a way that makes them virtually invisible, while a single pusher on the left-hand side of the case advances the hour hand, making adjusting the time while travelling between time zones a cinch.
Ultra-thin watches are mechanically incredibly impressive but sometimes they can be a bit intimidating to wear. While Bulgaria’s thinnest watches are all crafted from titanium and are actually quite tough, you sometimes get a bit of cognitive dissonance when wearing one.
The Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT doesn’t have this problem. Yes, it’s really quite thin (11.6mm), but it’s not so thin that you feel it’s going to snap. It feels reliable and practical. It gives you peace of mind – as does its 100m of water resistance and 55-hour power reserve.
While the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT is available in stainless steel, we road-tested the rose gold version of the watch, which features a rather unique brown lacquered dial and comfy brown alligator strap. In rose gold, it just oozes luxury – yet because it’s so thin, it’s not distractingly heavy on your wrist.
Of course, Bulgari is famous for its jewellery, and its sumptuous 18ct rose gold perfectly complements the architectural, avant-garde case design of the Octo Finissimo, It’s the horological equivalent of driving off into a Roman sunset. In a Ferrari Roma. Talk about la dolce vita…
In short, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT is the perfect blend of technical sophistication and aesthetic refinement. It’s on the cutting edge of mechanical watchmaking without sacrificing wearability and elegance.
It’s a watch that will stand the test of time – and a watch that will, time and time again, impress you.
Discover more about the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT at Bulgari’s online boutique here.