Bulgari is one of those luxury watch brands that I feel has to work twice as hard as the competition, just to get the respect their products very clearly deserve. Whether or not the market-wide perception of Bulgari as a jewelry-first brand still persists is hard to say, but I would wager after several years of horologically significant releases, characterized by huge strides in the field of movement thinness, that the tide has finally turned in their favor. As the most visible competitor for Piaget in terms of creating the world’s slimmest calibers, Bulgari is very much on the front line of this relevant and commercial technology.
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic
Let’s begin with the real talking point. It is the movement that enables this watch to be so incredibly slim (measuring just 6.90mm cased up). The movement itself comes in at 3.30mm. That is truly startling when you consider Bulgari have managed to squeeze a column wheel chronograph, GMT functionality, and a peripheral rotor weight into that space.
This is (astoundingly) Bulgari’s fifth world record in their pursuit of super slimness. The previous record for the world’s thinnest chronograph was in the hands of Piaget. Considering that Piaget’s (laudable) effort was 8.24mm when cased up and 4.65mm when stripped back to the movement, the competition can’t really be said to be close at the moment. To top off this significant achievement, Bulgari has also wrapped their mind-blowing tech in an aesthetic that is entirely their own, and certainly one for the modern day and beyond.
While Piaget are known for their elegant, classic styles, Bulgari has carved its own lane with aplomb. Their elegant while industrial character is an absolute triumph, aesthetically speaking. And better still is the identifiability it gives not only the brand, but also the Octo Finissimo collection.
For a watch that is so thin, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic is surprisingly masculine. Its wide, flat case, and simple bi-chromatic colorway makes it wear a lot bigger than one would expect. As a result, is is perfectly able to deliver on both comfort and wrist presence.
I’ve seen a little bit of confusion in some of the other reviews regarding the absence of a GMT hand on this GMT watch. The sub-dial at 3 o’clock has been assigned to this task, while the sub-dial at nine takes care of the going seconds, and the central seconds hand and six o’clock sub-dial are reserved for the chronograph function, recording the seconds and minutes (by way of a 30-minute scale respectively).
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice the extra pusher at nine o’clock, which is used to adjust the local time. That function is tied to the central hour hand (which skips forward one hour with every depression of the nine o’clock pusher), while the home time is constantly shown on the 3 o’clock register. With its 42mm sand-blasted titanium case, easily ranking as one of the most wearable and versatile exteriors in the whole of watchmaking, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic pulled out all the stops to take the Baselworld crown. And you know what? This year they might have just deserved it.
*All images courtesy of Bulgari