Baselworld 2019: Bulgari debuts the world’s thinnest mechanical chronograph
Here’s the skinny on the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic, which at 6.9mm is as gaunt as stopwatches come.
Blame it on Bulgari’s kinship with the fashion and film worlds. The Italian jeweller and watchmaker is obsessed with developing timepieces that are borderline anorexic. Fat-shaming? There’s none of that here; please direct your guilt trips towards other watchmakers.
It all started in 2014 with the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, which smashed records to become the world’s thinnest tourbillon. Then came 2016’s Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater, also a record-buster. In 2017, the Octo Finissimo Automatic briefly snagged the title of thinnest automatic watch, only to be pipped by Piaget’s 910P just a few months later.
But Bulgari fired a salvo in 2018 with the Octo Finissimo Automatic Tourbillon, reclaiming the medal for thinnest automatic watch and swiping the crown for thinnest tourbillon watch in one fell swoop.
This time, a new record is being set by the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic. As you can probably guess, it’s the world’s skinniest mechanical chronograph. With a case just 6.9mm in height, the model is a true waif.
Powering this wisp of a watch is a wafer-like movement, BVL 318, which is a mere 3.3mm in height – the thinnest automatic chronograph calibre ever manufactured. To achieve this level of skinny, Bulgari’s watchmakers used a solid platinum peripheral rotor instead of a typical oscillating mass to drive the engine. You can witness the rotor in motion through the see-through case back.
For travellers, there’s also a useful GMT (or second timezone) function, indicated by the 24-hour counter at 3 o’clock. This is adjusted via the pusher at 9 o’clock. Cased in titanium, the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic gives off a cool, urban, technical vibe thanks to the sandblasted finishing on the dial and bracelet.