INTRODUCING: The Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT is sportier and tougher with a panda dial INTRODUCING: The Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT is sportier and tougher with a panda dial

INTRODUCING: The Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT is sportier and tougher with a panda dial

Zach Blass

Last year, the time-only Octo Finissimo watches received a major upgrade in the form of a screw-down crown and improved depth rating of 100 metres. They also received contrasting finishes to the highly faceted surfaces of the case and bracelet. This resulted in a greater play with light and a watch that became both more elegant and sporty – two traits that are often mutually exclusive. In short, it was a real triumph with many lauding the fact that the specifications were much more in line with its original billing as a sports watch. Today, the Chronograph GMT finally joins in on the fun with the new Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT, which features a blue lacquered dial with silver registers.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT

The striking sunburst blue dial is dispersed with silver concentric textured chronograph and GMT sub dials. The panda-like aesthetic definitely pairs well with the sporty design of the watch, which makes sense considering this is the most robust Chronograph GMT yet. While its tougher than ever, it is equally supercharged in elegance. The radially brushed bezel and contrasting finishes to the facets of the case and bracelet are a masterclass in design.

To join the “S” series of Octo Finissimo watches, a trade-off had to be made in order to make the watch more of a sports watch. The case has been increased from 42mm to 43mm, and its thickness increased to 8.75mm thick from 6.9mm. The extra thickness is likely for two reasons. The most obvious reason is the increased depth rating. In order to mitigate greater pressures and depths, the time-only models had to increase by fractions of a millimetre in thickness to accommodate stronger gaskets and a larger screw-down crown.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT

The less obvious reason, which may actually be the bigger culprit in this matter, is the applied indices and luminescent hands and markers. While a seemingly small change, it can make a millimetre’s difference in a watch’s thickness to switch from printed to applied markers. In short, every bit of real estate counts. The good news is that the SuperLuminova® in the hands and applied hour indices means this is one of the few Finissimo watches that is truly legible in darkness – a trait of a true sports watch.

The extra millimetre in diameter won’t make too much of a difference in terms of fit, especially if you found the size of the 42mm to your liking. The trade-off in thickness that removes its record-breaking thinness may worry some, but that concern looks far “worse” on paper. On the wrist, where it matters most, it is still very thin for a sports watch – somewhere between a time-only Nautilus or Royal Oak. Considering the level of complication, however,  it is still very thin for what the watch is offering.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT

The in-house caliber BVL 318 is only 3.3mm thick in diameter, and is the same movement found in the original record-breaking Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT. It is an ultra-thin and complicated movement, powering both the chronograph and GMT complications found on the dial. While technically powerful, it is also incredibly laid out and decorated. The movement is finished with nice Geneva stripes and bevels, all of which are on full display thanks to a peripheral 950 platinum rotor. The heft of the platinum makes the rotor wind the watch more efficiently and it’s peripheral design allows you to maintain full view of the balance wheel ticking away and anchored by a full balance bridge.

While the Octo Finissimo line was known for its record-breaking thinness, maintaining such a dimension in the Chronograph GMT to make it a sportier watch was not a realistic expectation and, as I mentioned earlier, 8.75mm is still very thin for a sports watch. In my opinion, the benefits justify the jump to a slightly increased case size and thickness as the watch is now armed with a screw-down crown and 100m depth rating like its time-only siblings.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT

Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT pricing and availability:

The Bulgari Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT will be available in Bulgari boutiques and online via Bulgari.com. Price: $16,500 USD