They say “the man who looks at the watch is also a car man”. It might be a stereotype, but it’s a stereotype for a reason—people who look at watches usually also like cars. These mechanical marvels are infused with life by artisans and ensouled by the nerds/geeks/collectors/enthusiasts/connoisseurs who are obsessed with them. Inevitably, this connection has led to numerous collaborations between the luxury watch and automotive worlds – think Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin, Hublot and Ferrari, and A. Lange & Söhne and Concorso d’Eleganza. The collision of these two different but similar industries has often resulted in exciting new timepieces, but perhaps none quite as exciting as the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon.
Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon White Gold
Unsurprisingly, when two notoriously discreet premium brands come together, the results can only be explosive. From the creators of Astronomia Tourbillon watches and the world’s fastest road-legal car, the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon is a unique timepiece inspired by the iconic Bugatti 16-cylinder engine. After a year of development, the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon debuted in 2020 as a tribute to the Chiron supercar. There have been many variants since then, but probably none as elegant as Platinum (well, as elegant as an engine on your wrist). Here we bring you detailed information and real thoughts about the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon White Gold.
Case, Dial and Hands
With a case size of 55mm x 44mm, the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon White Gold is not for the faint of heart. It’s crafted in 18K white gold and has sleek lines inspired by the Chiron itself. The top, bottom and sides of the case are fitted with sapphire crystal glass for maximum viewing of the movement. Unlike most timepieces, the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon has three crowns, all located on the bottom of the case. The leftmost crown is for setting the time, the middle winds the movement (clockwise) and the automatic (counterclockwise), and the rightmost crown is more like a push button that activates the automatic.
But what is this automaton we keep referring to? It is the heart of the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon: a replica of the Bugatti W16 engine. When the right crown is activated, the crankshaft turns and the 16 pistons pump up and down, just like a real internal combustion engine. Two “turbochargers” on one side of the engine block (there are four in the actual Chiron engine) spin when the engine is running, adding to the visual impact. If you are able to take your eyes off the fascinating automatic, you will realize that this watch also tells the time! The time display is located directly above the reproduction engine and consists of two skeletonized hands and 8 hour markers. Directly above the time display is the flying tourbillon tilted at 30 degrees (a first for the brand when the model debuted). Making one full revolution every minute, the tourbillon doubles as a seconds display. Last but not least, there is a power reserve display at 9 o’clock, graduated in the colors of the French tricolor.
Driving the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon Platinum watch is the Caliber JCAM37 made of 578 parts and 51 jewels. The movement has a 60-hour power reserve and runs at a majestic 3 Hz. Continuing the automotive theme, the movement is fully suspended in four positions, with replicas of the Bugatti Chiron shock absorbers. While stunning to look at, the suspension of the movement does present complications in that it can damage the crown post as the movement moves up and down in the case. To alleviate this, a special automotive-style transverse connection system was patented and used. The finish on the Caliber JCAM37, while not at the absolute highest level, is attractive, with a nice mix of polished and brushed surfaces.
Bugatti and Jacob & Co. know a thing or two about standing out from the crowd, and that’s why they introduced the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon. This is the only watch with an automatic movement inspired by an engine. The Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon is more of a kinetic sculpture that tells the right time than a watch in the traditional sense. Over the course of two years or so, many variants of the watch have emerged, but the most limited (loosely used term) variant remains the Platinum.
The Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon White Gold will be worn on your wrist. This is one watch you can’t — and shouldn’t — keep up your sleeve.
The Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon is certainly impressive, but we must pay tribute to the original engine-inspired watch: the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari. The highlight of the MP-05 LaFerrari, which resembles the nacelle of a real LaFerrari, is the 11 mainspring barrels stacked in a single column across the center of the timepiece, providing an absurd 50-day power reserve. Winding the watch requires the use of a drill-like tool provided with the watch (as manual winding takes too long). Did we mention that the watch also has a tourbillon? Since its launch in 2013, the MP-05 LaFerrari has seen many variants.
There aren’t many watches on the market with suspended movements like the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon, but one definitely deserves a mention: the Richard Mille RM53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough. Incredibly, the Caliber RM53-01 that drives the watch is actually suspended by cables. These cables outline a three-dimensional structure in their path through 10 pulleys, held in place by 4 tensioners. There is also a special sapphire laminated glass that absorbs shocks without breaking. Why all this impact protection? Richard Mille’s goal was to create a watch that could be safely worn at a polo match – or more specifically, could withstand a mallet hit and still be intact. Oh, and like Jacob & Co. and Hublot, this beautifully designed watch tells the time and has a tourbillon regulator.
Like every confident fashion watch on the market, you’ll love or hate the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon White Gold. The white gold version is as reserved as the collaboration timepieces – other versions can be as bold as having a full sapphire crystal or diamond case. That said, we believe there’s a lot to like about this watch. It’s beautifully designed and crafted and offers something new in the form of its engine automatic and sport suspension. In today’s derivative world, any novelty in the luxury watch market is welcome.