Bugatti power on the wrist

After the hypercar brand’s official watchmaker stepped aside, another famous name comes forth with a radical W16 design


I’m struggling to believe that 15 years have passed since I travelled to Milan for the unveiling of the Type 370 watch, a radical timepiece created by niche maker Parmigiani Fleurier in honour
of the Bugatti Veyron.

Designed by horologist and antique clock restorer Michel Parmigiani, Type 370 was made in the style of 1920-30s driving watches, worn on the side of the wrist so they could be read without having to let go of the wheel.

Costing £139,000, the watch contained a unique movement arranged horizontally, and it could be seen in action through a series of transparent crystals. The case was in two parts, and the body rested on a separate ‘chassis’ supported by rubber shock absorbers.

To give the crown the 100 turns required for 10 days of autonomous running, each Type 370 was supplied with a motorised tool which would wind it in five seconds – slightly longer than the Veyron 0-100mph time.

Parmigiani continued its partnership with Bugatti until last year, creating variations on Type 370, as well as unveiling the £225,000 Type 390 in 2017 to complement the Chiron.

Now a new maker has taken on the mantle of Bugatti’s official watch maker in Jacob & Co, an independent brand famous for selling multi-million-pound gem-set pieces to celebrities. Jacob & Co has already launched special Bugatti versions of its Twin Turbo Furious and Epic X Chrono models, but the newly-released Chiron Tourbillon is remarkable, making even the Type 370 seem pedestrian.

It aims to reproduce the 1500bhp Bugatti 16-cylinder engine by including a miniature representation within the movement.

The performance takes place beneath a sapphire crystal, giving a clear view of the 578-part flying tourbillon movement, a ‘clean sheet’ design that took over a year to perfect.

The tiny crankshaft is hewn from a single piece of steel and the entire mechanism is suspended on four car-type shock absorbers.

The 60-hour power reserve is monitored by a car-type fuel gauge, complete with ‘gas pump’ symbol, while a window allows a clear view of the tourbillon regulator, modelled on the horseshoe shape of the Bugatti grille.

Despite measuring 54mm by 44mm, the fully customisable watch is deceptively light, due to a blackened titanium case, while a rubber strap with titanium buckle should keep everything in place as extreme G-forces pin the wearer to their Chiron’s seat.

Jacob & Co. X Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon.
From $280,000

The historic Mille Miglia rally usually passes through scenic Italy in May, but coronavirus means this year’s event has been postponed. But Chopard – a Mille Miglia sponsor since 1988 – has released the first of its 2020 Mille Miglia special editions through two new models called ‘GTS Azzurro’, with rich blue dials.

There will be 500 steel and rose gold power reserve versions and the steel chronograph, of which there will be 750. No GBP prices yet, but in Swiss francs, it is CHF 9690 (about £8000) and CHF 7400 (£6100) respectively.

Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro.

TAG Heuer is marking 160 years since Heuer’s founding with a special version of one of its Carrera driver’s watch, launched in 1964. Jack Heuer, great-grandson of Heuer founder Edouard, created the Carrera after learning of the Carrera Panamericana. ‘Carrera Silver Limited Edition’ combines the silver dial design and vintage original ‘Heuer’ logo with the brand’s latest Heuer 02 movement, which is thinner, more accurate and has an 80-hour power reserve. 1860 examples go on sale in June.
TAG Heuer Carrera Silver Limited Edition.

You may also like

Related products