It all began with a concept developed by Jacob & Co. in collaboration with Bugatti: to recreate the visceral sensation of the renowned Bugatti 16-cylinder engine in a wristwatch.
The Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon, which had been in development for nearly a year, was the answer. In a timepiece, everything is designed to glorify the Chiron. The case is inspired by the Chiron’s flowing lines, and the movement, or “engine block,” which is designed to replicate the Bugatti engine, is housed behind a large sapphire crystal that is visible to all.
What’s The History?
Bugatti and Jacob & Co. announced a multi-year collaboration in 2019 to manufacture one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen timepieces. These timepieces capture the ethos of both organizations while pushing watchmaking to new heights.
Two clocks were produced to kick off this performance-driven relationship. The look and spirit of Bugatti hypercars were directly inspired by these watches, which are based on the Twin Turbo Furious and the Epic X Chrono. Jacob & Co. and Bugatti debuted the Twin Turbo Furious timepieces in 2020, as well as the Bugatti Chiron, a fully new range.
The engine comes to life when you press the right-hand crown of the timepiece: the crankshaft revolves and the 16 pistons pump up and down, just like a real internal combustion engine. While the engine is running, two “turbochargers” on the side of the engine block rotate (reduced from four on the actual Chiron engine), adding to the visual impact.
The Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon timepiece has achieved something no one has ever attempted before: blending engines and watches perfectly.
ALL ABOUT THE TOURBILLON
The Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon uses a 30o inclined tourbillon, which is the first time Jacob & Co. has employed one. The tourbillon’s “flying” component means that the regulating organ is only supported on one side, making it even more fascinating. The 30o angle makes it easier to appreciate this astounding feat of engineering.
The movement is fully halted in four spots, thanks to what appear to be genuine Chiron shocks. It is visible inside the case and can be seen moving up and down. Two “exhausts” frame the engine block, completing the design’s engine concept.
The animation and timekeeping power reserves are separate, although both are wound through the winding crown, clockwise for the movement and counterclockwise for the engine animation. The universal gas pump sign is even on the side of the gauge at nine o’clock on the power reserve indication for timekeeping.
The watch’s crowns are located at the bottom of the case: the left crown sets the time, the middle crown winds both the movement and the animation (60 hours of power reserve), and the right-hand crown initiates the animation.
The movement’s suspension was a further challenge for the designers, who had to devise (and patent) a unique automotive-style jointed transverse system to prevent the crown posts from being harmed as the movement rose and fell inside the case.
A CRYSTAL CASE
One of the pinnacles of haute watchmaking is a watch casing constructed entirely of colored sapphire crystal. The Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon Sapphire Crystal is the result of months of computer-aided design, manufacturing, and hand polishing. It’s a difficult, multi-faceted project that will take several months to finish. It’s a couple of levels up the exclusivity and difficulty ladder to make it out of orange sapphire crystal.
The tonneau-shaped Chiron case, for example, is made up of a variety of geometric surfaces rather than a single one. Then there’s sapphire’s hardness. On the Mohs scale of hardness, it is a 9. Few materials are harder than diamond, which has a hardness of 10. As a result, the case is made with diamond cutting and polishing equipment. Producing a case with the same proportions and transparency that the Chiron exhibits are both costly and time-intensive, but it is absolutely necessary.
The sapphire crystal starts out as a powder that is heated to tremendous temperatures and then grows into a single huge round piece of raw sapphire the size and shape of a coffee can. This procedure can take anywhere between three and fifteen days to complete. This enormous piece of sapphire being carved into a slice that will become the Bugatti Chiron’s casing. The piece is machined and polished by hand.
Jacob & Co.’s Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon is a world-first: a genuine engine on the wrist!