BY ERIK SLAVEN
In 2019, Bvlgari introduced the thinnest mechanical chronograph in the world with the titanium Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic. At only 6.9mm thick with a 3.3mm caliber, it even included GMT functionality, because why not? Bvlgari sorcery is apparently limitless. The latest GMT chronograph is a bit thicker and dressed in stainless steel, maintaining the popular style in a more practical, everyday package. This 2022 Bvlgari chronograph follows last year’s steel model with a blue dial, but brings a monochromatic aesthetic that’s proven very popular with the collection.
The new case goes from 6.9mm to 8.75mm in thickness, but is still ultra-thin for a GMT chronograph. It also widens just a bit from 42mm to 43mm in diameter, but increased durability and a big jump in water resistance make the changes worth it. The overall aesthetic and octagonal theme remain intact, and steel allows for a bit more flexibility in finishing. There’s a combination of radial and vertical brushing that combine with polished elements. Some may prefer the muted titanium look, but the steel variant has more dimension. There are sapphire crystals front and back, with the exhibition case back displaying the record-breaking in-house caliber with rare peripheral rotor. The crown screws down and features a polished ceramic insert, and water resistance has jumped from 30 to 100 meters. It’s fitted with an integrated steel bracelet with triple folding clasp.
The dial is silver with vertical brushing to match the case and features the classic tri-compax setup. The GMT sub-dial sits at 3 o’clock with small seconds at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute counter at 6 o’clock. The top half of the GMT sub-dial is dark grey to separate day and night. Applied indices and a 12 numeral have Super-LumiNova inserts, as do the hour and minute hands. This is a change from the titanium variant that sported open-worked hands and no lume. A pusher at 9 o’clock adjusts the local time by one hour at a time.
The in-house caliber BVL 318 automatic features an integrated column-wheel chronograph and is the same movement from the 2019 titanium model. To maintain such a thin profile (3.3mm), elements are arranged horizontally and a peripheral rotor replaces the common (and thicker) conventional counterpart. This is a rarity and provides a clearer view of the movement than even a micro-rotor. It has 37 jewels, beats at 4Hz with a 55-hour power reserve. The steel Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic (ref. 103661) retails for EUR 17,700 and is not a limited edition. That’s surprisingly a bit more than the titanium record-breaker was in 2019, but they do share the same phenomenal movement. Visit BVLGARI here.