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Jacob & Co. Bugatti Tourbillon: A Fusion of Automotive & Horological Prestige

June 24, 2024

Jacob & Co. and Bugatti have once again joined forces to bring forth a new extraordinary timepiece, the counterpart to Bugatti’s new hyper sports car by the same name, Tourbillon. Seamlessly integrating aesthetics, mechanics and functionality, the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Tourbillon creates a never before seen resemblance between a timepiece and automobile. Both experts at their craft, the two-world renowned brands have repeatedly broken barriers through their meticulous cutting-edge design and innovation.

Embodying design integration rather than mere inspiration, Jacob & Co. and Bugatti designed a timepiece that reimagines the achievements, complexity and appearance of Bugatti’s latest hyper sports car. This remarkable timepiece features a V16 engine block automation, a 30-second flying tourbillon, and a twin power reserve. With retrograde hours and minutes that start at zero to mimic an RPM counter, this design is first-of-its-kind in the world of horology. Bugatti also drew inspiration from watchmaking when designing their new hyper sports car, showcasing its technical details and precision craftsmanship akin to the intricate visibility of a high-quality watch’s movement, emphasizing exclusivity and complexity, hence the name of the car: Tourbillon.

The 52 x 44 mm watch case mirrors the car’s body with design elements like the front grille, side radiator inlets and large sapphire side openings reflecting the car’s iconic features. Replicating Bugatti’s iconic engine architecture, the timepiece showcases a visible engine block, 16 pistons and a 30-second tourbillon - the fastest ever made by the Jacob & Co. With ten distinctive design elements derived from the car, the timepiece reinterprets the extraordinary design brought to life by Bugatti. 

In September 2022, Bugatti privately announced to Jacob & Co., who is a leading licensee partner, the development of a new hyper sports car to succeed Chiron, featuring a new engine, design and unprecedented levels of engineering and luxury.

By January 2023, Jacob & Co. visited Bugatti’s design studio where founder Jacob Arabo, CEO Benjamin Arabov and their team collaborated with Bugatti’s design team, led by Achim Anscheidt and Jan Schmid. Together, the meeting resulted in a seamless integration of car and watch design, culminating in the Bugatti Tourbillon, an extraordinary timepiece created and developed over 18 months, showcasing the innovative synergy between two of the world’s most luxurious brands.

The Parallel Design

The idea of the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Tourbillon is to share the same achievements, the same complexity and the same appearance as Bugatti's latest hyper sports car. Mirroring the two brand’s approach to design - which is rooted in materiality and complexity - this is not design inspiration, this is design integration. Jacob & Co. has created a timepiece that looks like no other, wears like no other and works like no other; Instead, it looks and works like Bugatti's latest hyper sports car.

Shaped as a Bugatti, the Bugatti Tourbillon case measures at 52 x 44 mm and has a 15-mm thickness. The spear-heading front grille is flanked by two side radiator inlets. All three are lodged in recesses of the case and covered with a laser-etched grid pattern. The case sides show two large sapphire openings, shaped and tinted like the car's side windows. They open a lateral glimpse on caliber JCAM55's 557 components.

To achieve a pure and more emotional experience, the Caliber JCAM55 has the same architecture as the car's engine: its engine block is visible through an opening behind the wheel. The upper crystal offers a panoramic view on the engine block, its sapphire construction, its 16 pistons and the underlying crankshaft. Under the case, a sapphire crystal creates a through and through transparency effect. The 30-second tourbillon regulating the movement is the fastest Jacob & Co. ever made.

The Dashboard

The dashboard of the Bugatti Tourbillon is designed like the one in Bugatti's hyper sports car. On the left side, it showcases the 30-second flying tourbillon. On the right side, a sub-dial indicates both the movement's and the engine's (i.e. the V16 engine block automaton) power reserve. In the center, the hour and minute sub-dial is a near replica of the RPM and speed counter. All three subdials are covered by a single sapphire crystal, with a unique shape.

A unique feature in contemporary watchmaking, the Bugatti Tourbillon displays the power reserve of its automaton. The engine block automaton can execute an incredible 20 consecutive animation sequences on a single, full wind. The remaining autonomy is indicated by the smaller hand in the Power Reserve counter.

Caliber JCAM55's overall power reserve of 48 hours is indicated by the larger, red hand in the same subdial. They share the same center. In just as rare a configuration, both parts of the movement are wound by the same crown. Shaped like a control knob from the car's dashboard, it works in both directions. Time setting is operated by a flip-out bow on the caseback.

 

Jumping Retrograde Timekeeping

In the center of the dashboard, the hour and minute counter is completely unique and extraordinarily complex. Both the hour hand and the minute hand are retrograde. After they complete a 270-degree arc, when they finish their own cycle, they jump back to zero and start anew. The hour scale doesn't start at 12 like the usual dials, but instead starts at zero, like an rpm counter.

What's more, each hand is jumping. Every 60 minutes, the blue hand jumps to the next hour and stays there until the next one is up. In the space left open by the jumping hands, between 0 and 60 minutes, lies the legendary Bugatti logo.

 

The V16 Engine Block Automaton

To celebrate the new and unique engine architecture of the Bugatti Tourbillon, Jacob & Co. has crafted a new miniature engine block. Gone, the Chiron's W16 structure. Now, a V16 engine block induces a new level of excitement and exhilaration for Jacob & Co.'s customers.

The engine is made of a single block of transparent sapphire, a material notorious for being costly and difficult to shape. Yet, Jacob & Co. uses an extremely large piece, in which 16 cylinders are drilled and used to house many pistons, crafted out of high-grade titanium.

They're driven by an incredible achievement of watch manufacturing: a single-axis crankshaft. It is one of the longest, most elaborate and most delicate watch parts ever crafted. Mimicking the Internal Combustion Engine, it has to be perfectly straight, light, and arranged so that the cylinders can fire with the appropriate sequence. When the automaton is activated, the crankshaft spins and all 16 cylinders move up and down.

Pushing the resemblance with Bugatti's full-size engine, the engine block automaton has its own set of exhaust manifolds. Gathered by groups of 4 cylinders, polished or gold-finished steel piping is connected to the engine. After the pusher within the crown is activated, the V16 engine block automaton sequence lasts 20 seconds.

Exclusivity

Just like Bugatti's Tourbillon is the Chiron’s fully redeveloped successor, Jacob & Co.'s Bugatti Tourbillon is the successor of the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon, also completely redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up. Yet these two extremely sophisticated timepieces share specifics. Both are designed to emulate and reinterpret Bugatti's extraordinary design and engineering achievements in watchmaking form.

Both timepiece collections are limited to as many pieces as Bugatti's planned production. The Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon has reached 450 units manufactured in barely four years, out of the 500 that will ever be made. It will coexist with the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Tourbillon, which is limited to a total of 250 units, the same as the namesake automobile. The first, black DLC titanium version being limited to 150 pieces, leaves ample room for Jacob & Co. to apply its mastery of colored and precious materials as well as high jewelry to the Bugatti Tourbillon.

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