Imagine yourself waking up on a Sunday morning, stepping out of bed, taking a shower and starting your day in peace. You make yourself a fine cup of espresso and a nice breakfast. You check the time, kiss your partner goodbye, grab the keys and head off to the garage for a drive in your new car. You open the door, sit down in the leather seat and enjoy the silence for a minute or two. You check the time again, start up your watch’s engine and turn the key in the ignition to bring life into the car. Two W16’s running in perfect harmony, one on the wrist and one only inches behind you, with 1,500 horsepower ready to launch you towards the horizon. In case you’re wondering, you’re wearing the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Sapphire Crystal and fired up your Bugatti Chiron. And for seven lucky people, this dream-like scenario is not that far from reality.
Given the fact Bugatti will make only 500 of the ultra-powerful Chiron, you’re more likely to run into one of these than to spot a Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Sapphire Crystal in the wild. Only seven lucky men or women will enjoy owning such a watch; Jacob & Co. will make no more than that. And while it’s not exactly the most restrained piece in watchmaking history, it surely is an impressive thing to behold. The complexity of the miniature W16 automaton is a testament to the craftsmanship of Jacob & Co.’s watchmakers. Just like its Astronomia collection, it is a bold and expressive display.
Since the release of the first Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon, some things have changed, most notably the case, of course. Now made in full sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, by the way, it measures a whopping 57.8mm in length, 44.4mm in width and 21.5mm in height. The case looks quite simple as it flows around the movement, but the shape is extremely delicate to machine. Spending a bit of time with it, there are curves and lines all over, and of course, the signature Bugatti horseshoe-shaped grille at noon upping the challenge.
The crown and pushers to activate the working sapphire crystal W16 engine are made of sapphire crystal and titanium. From left to right, we have the crown to set the time, the crown to wind both movement and automaton, and the pusher to start the animation. Located in the bottom half of the watch, the sapphire crystal engine has an actual miniature crankshaft milled from a solid piece of steel. This tiny crankshaft drives all 16 pistons up and down, just as it would in the real car.
While previously it lacked any form of a dial, this version has a suspended hour ring to help read the time a little easier. Some elements of the watch, like the hour indices, shock-absorbers and tourbillon cage, have been given a touch of red, matching the red details on the outside of the case. The power reserve indicator shows the French national colours (Bugatti is located in Molsheim, France) on the left-hand side.
Jacob & Co. has literally exposed the entire JCAM37 movement, which is made in-house. While from a technical perspective it is the same movement as in every Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon, it looks a little different here. The bridge topping the movement, for instance, has a different shape to it, as does the tourbillon cage (now with a diamond on top). The power reserve indicator has also been given a new appearance, and the hands have changed shape a little. The view of the back of the movement remains unaltered.
Evocative as it is from the outside, the complexity certainly matches the visual impact. The level of detail of the entire movement, the timing side and the automaton, is proper Haute Horlogerie. The manual wound movement uses no fewer than 578 components, including 51 jewels. Suspending the movement using working shock-absorbers posed a challenge for Jacob & Co., as you run the risk of damaging the linking to the stationary crowns upon impact. The solution was to use a patented automotive-style transverse system to allow for a bit of play while keeping everything connected neat and tidy. When fully wound through the left crown, the watch has a running time of 60 hours. This far exceeds the 20 minutes it takes the Bugatti Chiron to empty its tanks at full throttle, mind you, so plan your drive in advance.
On par with the watch’s hypercar credentials, the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Sapphire Crystal is worn on a ventilated white rubber strap fitted to a titanium folding buckle. If you are concerned about such trivial things as a Bugatti Chiron owner, the price is USD 1,300,000. No, that’s not a typo. This watch will cost you $1.3 million to go with your multi-million euro hypercar. Seems fitting, right? As mentioned, Jacob & Co. limits production to seven pieces only. The watch was shot at the Jacob & Co Boutique in Geneva, Switzerland.