16 Cylinders On The Wrist: The Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire

16 Cylinders On The Wrist: The Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire

Let’s take a peek under the hood of a one-of-a-kind, sapphire-cased tourbillon timepiece.

By Rhonda Riche
Editor-At-Large

In 2019, Bugatti and Jacob & Co. signed a multi-year partnership to collaborate on what we can only describe as ultra-luxe timepieces. Neither company can be called minimalist, so naturally, the pairing has proven quite interesting.

The first two offerings, based on the Twin Turbo Furious and the Epic X Chrono, were inspired by the shape and spirit of Bugatti hypercars. In 2020, Jacob & Co. and Bugatti pushed the partnership even further with the Twin Turbo Furious collection and the Bugatti Chiron, a completely new line. Both continued to interpret the look of a Bugatti.

Now, the brands are taking it to the limit with a timepiece designed to replicate the feel of the iconic Bugatti 16-cylinder engine with the Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire Crystal.

Turbo Lover

For this unique piece, Jacob & Co., together with Bugatti, spent almost a year developing what they are calling an “engine on the wrist.” But this tribute to the powerful Chiron starts with the timepiece’s outer aesthetics.

The sleek tonneau-shaped case is inspired by the flowing lines of the now sold-out Chiron hypercar. But, as its name implies, the Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire Crystal case goes one step further by creating the body of the out of sapphire crystal.
 

To create such a case is complicated and costly. Jacob & Co. used computer-aided design and manufacturing processes and traditional hand polishing to execute ultimate transparency. However, the brand went a step further and added an extra level of difficulty by tinting the crystal to make it mirror the look of the Chiron Skyview.

Again, adding color to the sapphire crystal is a complicated process. The sapphire crystal begins as a powder, and the blue hue is created by combining 17 metallic elements to the mix during a procedure known as “doping.” Then the powder is heated under extreme temperatures to create one big chunk of raw sapphire. And it is from this mass that the case is machined.
 

However, because the color affects the sapphire’s chemical composition, shaping the piece takes an incredibly steady and dexterous hand. Thus, the most challenging part of the production is the last part of the process: hand-polishing. This process, which in addition to the case includes the see-through caseback, top, and three crowns, must be done in a slow and delicate way that took about 120 hours to complete.
 

The process is arduous. But, for Jacob & Co., it was necessary to showcase the Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire Crystal’s movement.

Under Glass

Inside this huge 57.8mm x 44.4mm x 21.5mm case is a fully operational recreation of the iconic Bugatti W16 engine.

Every aspect of the JCAM37 manually wound tourbillon calibre is visible. And when the automation is activated, you can see the “engine” come to life with its 16 pistons pumping and two turbochargers spinning. Furthermore, this ode to automotive excellence boasts two separate barrels and ratchet wheels: one that animates the 16 pumping pistons and two spinning turbochargers, and one is for timekeeping. Overall, the JCAM37 mechanism features 578 hand-decorated and hand-assembled components.
 

The Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire Crystal is also the first-ever Jacob & Co. timepiece to feature an inclined 30º tourbillon. In a case of function-following-form, the tourbillon was positioned this way so the complication could be seen more easily through the Bugatti-inspired horseshoe-shaped grille.
 

Additionally, the movement is suspended in four places, much like automotive shock absorbers. Meanwhile, framing the engine block within the watch are two “exhausts.” Finally, to cap off the references to car culture, the power reserve display for the timekeeping function (at 9 o’clock) resembles a fuel gauge, including the universal gas pump symbol.
 

Pricing & Availability

Unsurprisingly, all of this extravagance comes at a cost. Presented on a white rubber strap with an 18K rose gold deployment buckle, the one-of-a-kind Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire Crystal is priced at $1.5 million.

For more information, visit the Jacob & Co. website.

(Images © Jacob & Co.)

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