The company founder Ettore Bugatti, born and raised in Milan, Italy, succeeded in uniting this artistic approach with his technical innovations, thus creating the foundation of a design language that was to mould the Bugatti marque. The result has been a series of vehicles far ahead of their time, and which are today numbered amongst the most valuable classic cars in the world. The brand’s central philosophy of “Art, Forme, Technique” is a description of its mystique.
Still based in Molsheim (Alsace, France) where the brand was founded more than 100 years ago, the maker of ultimate luxurious sports cars now belongs to the Volkswagen Group. As a brand, Bugatti combines the artistic roots of its Italian founder with French savoir-vivre, and German engineering ingenuity.
between Parmigiani Fleurier and Bugatti took place in 2001. At this time, the prestigious Molsheim-based firm was seeking to build a strong association with a watch company that fulfilled very precise criteria. It needed a brand with a propensity for technical excellence, but also artistic flair, a heightened awareness of design and the elegance of forms. This brand would also need its own independent manufacture, giving it the kind of manufacturing freedom conducive to boundless creative potential.
It was therefore a logical move for Bugatti to link its destiny with Parmigiani Fleurier, as the brand met and exceeded all its expectations. The partnership was formalised in 2004. Since then, the Fleurier-based manufacture has striven to create timepieces for the Bugatti collection which are far more than a watch stamped with a car marque logo; they are cars reborn in watch form.
Three Editions to celebrate one decade
To celebrate the 10th
anniversary of the partnership, in 2014, Parmigiani Fleurier is unveiling three limited editions of the Bugatti timepiece. The brand has decided to take the iconic Bugatti 370 model, and its transverse tubular movement, as its basis. This watch, which marked the creation of the partnership in 2004, demonstrates the brand’s cutting-edge creative spirit and the quest for technical excellence that underlies it.
The Bugatti Mythe, the Bugatti Victoire and the Bugatti Révélation are the new versions of this Anniversary Limited Edition. Each of these three pieces sheds a different light on an aspect of the partnership or a particular facet of the automotive world that influenced its creation.
The Bugatti Mythe is where industry meets the craftsmanship inherent in the automotive world; the Bugatti Révélation embodies the search to find a link between the Car and the Watch that has guided the entire partnership; lastly, the Bugatti Victoire conveys the notions of speed and power that have defined Bugatti cars since the company was founded.
The creation of an immense tradition
It was the Bugatti Veyron, a super car whose bodywork reveals an imposing engine, that inspired the first watch created in the Bugatti collection.
After six years of research and development, in 2004 the Parmigiani Fleurier manufactures presented the unthinkable. The timepiece, christened "Bugatti 370", contains an immense tubular-shaped movement that is worn like an engine block on the wrist, with the time being displayed laterally.
This movement, which can be clearly viewed by the wearer, takes after automotive mechanics more than their watchmaking counterparts as it is assembled on a transverse axis rather than being placed on the flat surface of a single main plate. The movement’s various different modules – the regulating organ, gear train, power reserve and double barrel – are built in sections on no fewer than five main plates, which line up in the tubular extension of the block. These modules or "floors" communicate in synergy thanks to a drive shaft that crosses the entire watch from one end to the other, allowing actions to be synchronised, following the exact principle of a car engine.
Creating this absolute world first involved the reconsideration of all watchmaking conventions and required several challenges to be overcome. For example, the barrel is no longer accessible as its module is found at the centre of the block. Forced to renounce the traditional crown-operated winding and adjustment system, the Parmigiani Fleurier manufactures developed a world-first pen-shaped tool that accesses the double barrel via the crystal case back. This tool stores a force which it transmits to the movement so that it can be wound or the time set, constituting another world first inherent to the Bugatti 370, an elegant solution which is completely new in the watchmaking world and has since been patented.
The wearer of the Bugatti 370 can observe every minute detail of the 337 components comprising the engine block on his wrist thanks to the six sapphire crystals that surround the piece. These crystals mostly have a shape known as "warped", which follows the contours of the movement without corresponding to a pure geometric formula. The production of these atypical sapphire crystals is unusually complex.
The Bugatti 370, which celebrated the creation of the partnership in 2004, truly is a car reborn as a watch. It alone illustrates the potential of a brand whose watchmaking centre is independent and verticalised. Each of its entities communicate and combine their expertise in order to overcome the challenges that arise when we dare to stray from the beaten track and succeed in bringing the most immense of creations to life.