Bugatti is renowned for creating some of the most iconic hyper cars ever, right from the likes of the Veyron, to the Chiron and Divo. The automobile brand’s association with watchmaker Jacob & Co. has thrown up equally impossible designs, and the latest in its partnership is the Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire Crystal.
The idea behind the timepiece was to replicate a mini version of the famous W16 engine (a combination of two V8 engines) in a high-end timepiece. Taking close to a year to be developed, every component of the Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire Crystal speaks of the prowess of the Chiron. The 55mm x 44.4mm x 21.5mm case takes inspiration from the flowing lines of the Chiron, and the movement powers both the timekeeping and the famous Bugatti engine placed inside the sapphire crystal and open to be viewed.
The engine starts when the wearer pushes the right-hand crown. Once the crankshaft turns, it pushes all 16 pistons up and down. The watch has two turbo chargers, instead of four, on the side of the engine which spin, while the engine is running. For the first time, the watch features a 30º inclined flying tourbillon at 12 o’clock, while the movement is suspended in four places with what looks like a suspension set up from the Chiron - the movement basically floats inside the case and the wearer can see it move up and down. Framing the engine block are two ‘exhausts’, completing the engine theme of the design. The challenge for the designers was not only to create but also patent a special hypercar-styled transverse system so that the crowns are not damaged by the movement that are moving up and down.
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Powering the engine, as well as the timekeeping function is the JCAM37 manual wound caliber, visible through the transparent sapphire caseback in the Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire Crystal. Featuring 578 hand-decorated and hand-assembled components, the movement includes two separate barrels and ratchet wheels: One for the engine and one for timekeeping. The power reserve albeit is separate for the animation and timekeeping, both connected through a winding crown - clockwise for the movement and anti-clockwise for the engine animation. The wearer will find the power reserve for timekeeping at 9 o'clock – 60 hrs - which also has a gas pump symbol on the side of the gauge.
Jacob & Co created a case from a blue sapphire crystal, a material fairly difficult machine and incorporate in a timepiece. The case and caseback are made from a single sapphire crystal; the watch has a water resistance of 30 metres. While the crown and pushers are made from titanium and sapphire. The bottom of the case sports three crowns with the logo of EB - initials of the founder Ettore Bugatti. While the left crown sets the time, the middle crown is for the movement and the animation, and a push of the right-hand crown starts the animation of the engine. The Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire Crystal comes with a rubber strap with a titanium deployant buckle clasp.
In 2019, Bugatti and Jacob & Co. signed a multi-year partnership to create unique, never-before-seen timepieces. For Bugatti’s 110th anniversary in 2019, Jacob & Co created the Epic X Chrono Bugatti (Ref. EC333.29.AA.AA.A), followed by Twin Turbo Furious (Ref. TT200.21.AB.AB.A) in 2020 limited to just 18 pieces, and Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon (Ref. BU200.21.AE.AB.A) limited to 126 pieces. And paying tribute in 2019 to the Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic Coupe was the Jacob & Co Twin Turbo Furious Bugatti La Montre Noire as a Pièce Unique.
The Jacob & Co Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire Crystal is a unique piece, valued at US$ 1.5 million.
All images: Courtesy Jacob & Co