If Jacob & Co. watches are not renowned for their discretion, there’s one thing that can’t be denied: they are spectacular, visually and mechanically. There’s something fascinating about these miniature animations or movements that play music… Like them or not, but in watchmaking terms, these are impressive pieces. Something that the brand’s latest creation, actually a collaboration with the equally flamboyant car manufacturer Bugatti, is not going to change. Meet the new Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon, with an animated W16 on your wrist (yes, really).
If you think ultra-high-end car, the car that cumulates all possible superlatives, this has to be a Bugatti. The fastest, the most powerful, the most exclusive… The brand’s latest model, the Chiron, is a dream-machine boasting 1,500bhp from one of the largest engines on the market, capable of 260mph in such comfort that your daily sedan would be jealous. But this isn’t a prototype but a fully-functional, reliable, VW-tested piece of engineering. With that pedigree, what would be the watch to match it?
There’s an undeniable link between automative and watchmaking since both fields rely on mechanical engines to put wheels or hands in motion. These objects of passion are often shared by the same persons but a watch can hardly reproduce the style of a car engine, and even less the visceral sensation of the iconic Bugatti 16-cylinder engine. Well, it was until Jacob & Co. developed the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon. Indeed, it is a watch, it displays the time, it is regulated by a one-minute tourbillon… and it features an automaton that reproduces the Chiron’s engine.
So although this engine has no timekeeping function and is there merely for show, there’s something fascinating in its motion. Push the right-hand crown of the timepiece and the engine comes to life as the crankshaft turns and the pistons pump up and down just like a real internal combustion engine. Two turbochargers (instead of four in the Chiron) on the side of the engine block spin while the engine runs, adding to the visual impact. The miniature engine is encased in a sapphire block and the crankshaft – made out of one solid steel piece – was one of the smallest and most complicated watch parts ever manufactured by the brand.
The case of the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon is large and surrounded by sapphire crystals to free the view on the movement. It pays tribute to the car it is named after in so many ways, including the horseshoe-shaped front grill. The case is made of titanium. The “back” of the case is also an ode to the automotive world, has three crowns: the left crown sets the time, the middle crown winds both the movement (60 hours of power reserve) and the animation, and a push of the right-hand crown starts the animation.
Besides the animation, the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon also indicates the time and features a movement that is regulated by a 1-minute inclined tourbillon, pointing in front of the wearer. The movement, again as a reference to the automotive world, is suspended in the case in four places with shock absorbers. While very cool to look at, this movement moving up and down came with its own issues, as it meant creating (and patenting) a special automotive-style transverse system so the crown posts aren’t damaged by the movements of the calibre. The final touch is the power reserve at 3 o’clock, shaped like a fuel gauge…
The Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon is worn on a ventilated black rubber strap with a titanium deployant buckle. No words regarding a limited production, but at USD 280,000, don’t expect to see this very often. More details at www.jacobandco.com.