BY ERIK SLAVEN
Bvlgari has done something rarely seen in the industry. In just ten years, the brand introduced a design that’s become an icon and won several world records along the way. The Octo Finissimo collection is Bvlgari’s take on the always popular integrated sports watch, but incredible engineering and ingenuity have elevated it well beyond the majority. In 2017, the Octo Finissimo Automatic became the thinnest automatic in the world at only 5.15mm thick. Two years later, the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic became the thinnest mechanical chronograph at 6.9mm thick. That represented the brand’s fifth world record.
Alongside this latest pair, Bvlgari also introduced the thinnest mechanical watch in the world (again), the mind-boggling Octo Finissimo Ultra at only 1.8mm thick. Some coins are thicker! To celebrate the 10th anniversary, the new Automatic and Chronograph GMT are getting specialized dials that recreate the original design sketches from Fabrizio Buonamassa, the Product Creation Executive Director. Looking at the automatic, you can see imperfect pencil sketches establishing the shape of the dial, Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock, small seconds sub-dial, indices and more.
The same is true with the chronograph, showing three sketched sub-dials with a 30-minute counter, small seconds and independent second-time zone. Everything is traditionally monochromatic and It’s a fascinating look “behind the scenes” of two incredible watch designs. Human artistry, not computer rendering. The hour and minute hands are open-worked and all are black PVD treated on both dials. As expected, there’s no lume.
The new models are made entirely from sandblasted titanium (dials included), maintaining the featherweight status of record-breaking, ultra-thin Bvlgari watches. The cases are 40mm in diameter and 5.15mm thick for the Automatic and 6.9mm thick for the Chronograph GMT Automatic. The crown features a polished black ceramic insert and is flanked by flat, angular pushers on the chronograph. The ultra-thin, stealthy design is unchanged from the standard models, but is both futuristic and ultimately timeless, and joins hands with icons like the Royal Oak and Nautilus. There are sapphire crystals front and back with the latter having special anniversary text. Water-resistance is not impressive, but for such insanely thin models, it’s certainly forgiven. 30 meters for the Automatic and just 10 meters for the Chronograph GMT Automatic. I wouldn’t swim with either. The integrated bracelet perfectly matches the case aesthetic and features and integrated folding buckle.
Powering the watches are the in-house caliber BVL 138 for the Automatic and caliber BVL 318 for the Chronograph GMT Automatic. The BVL 138 micro-rotor is only 2.23mm thick, beats at 3Hz and has a 65-hour power reserve (thanks to the slower 3Hz rate), while the BVL 318 is still ultra-thin at 3.3mm and features a rare peripheral rotor, comes with a column wheel and vertical clutch, beats at 4Hz and has a 55-hour power reserve. Finishing is exemplary and both are fine examples of haute horology.
Prices are high as expected, but not at all outrageous for such record-breaking, limited edition pieces. The Automatic (ref. 103672) retails for EUR 15,600 and the Chronograph GMT Automatic (ref. 103673) retails for EUR 15,600.
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