Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon watch contains tiny W16 engine

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In early 2019, Bugatti ended its 15-year watch partnership with Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier and inaugurated a new collaboration with New York watchmaker and jeweler Jacob & Co. — the latter firm once known for helping define the bling-bling era in American music. When announcing the new tie-up at the global timepiece showcase Baselworld in March last year, Jacob debuted two new limited-edition watches, both based on extant Jacob models. The $545,000 Twin Turbo Furious Bugatti Edition reworked the watchmaker’s Twin Turbo Furious timepiece, and the $37,000 Bugatti Chrono Edition Limitee 100 Ans celebrated Bugatti’s 110th anniversary and was based off Jacob’s Epic X Chrono. Yet, as the partnership promised to push “the limits of what seems mechanically possible,” a new and incredible watch would be needed, so Jacob spent a year developing this, the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon. Behind its sapphire crystal there’s an automaton suspended inside the case mimicking the movement of the Chiron’s W16 engine.  

 

The animated engine serves no timekeeping purpose, it’s there for show — and it’s quite the show. Pressing the pusher crown at the base of the case sets the engine in motion for about 20 seconds; a stainless steel crankshaft milled from a single ingot pushes stainless con-rods and pistons inside a sapphire crystal block, and two spinning turbochargers can be viewed through a window on the side of the case. After three runs, the engine’s barrel needs to be recharged by turning the center crown counterclockwise, then it’s ready for another three goes. The setup consists of 578 pieces, and is so tiny and complicated that it took more than three days to program the CNC machines milling the stainless steel, and the animation designer wasn’t sure it would work. Those two factoids are perhaps the best connection to the improbable wonder that is the Bugatti Chiron. 

 

We meant the phrase “suspended inside the case” literally. The watch’s movement sits on four coilover dampers at the corners, allowing the movement a hint of up and down flotation which necessitated an Incabloc shock protection system. Other Bugatti-themed touches include the titanium case, the Chiron Blue hands, the watch movement’s 60-hour reserve dial that looks like a gas gauge, a window onto the tourbillion shaped like a Chiron grille, the black rubber strap, and the customization possibilities that include an owner be able to choose what color the coilovers should be.   

Jacob & Co. will make 250 of the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillion, each priced at $280,000. That particular watch isn’t available on eBay, but if you’re still really looking to show off, you can pick up the old Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Atalante Flyback Chrono here for a cool $15,450. If you’re just trying to look cool without breaking the bank though, you can check out our list of 12 affordable watches for gearheads, right here.

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Saurabh Shukla

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