Cars & motorsport

The New Jacob & Co. Bugatti Tourbillon Redefines the Brand Collaboration Paradigm

Today, Jacob & Co. unveils its latest collaboration with Bugatti – the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Tourbillon – and sets a new, very high bar in meaningful, timepiece-automotive partnership.

By Mike Espindle
Executive Editor

The partnership between Jacob & Co., a highly inventive watchmaker, and Bugatti, an automaker that pushes the limits of design and engineering, is intriguing.

Yet, the source of this intrigue is not solely due to the relatively lofty position and bombastic reputation the two companies enjoy in their respective industries. Rather, the intrigue springs from the common well from which all superb watch-automotive mashups drink: the relationship between Jacob & Co. and Bugatti.

However, unlike other watchmaking-automaking collabs, the relation partnership between Jacob & Co. and Bugatti has resulted in growth for both companies as they explored the intersection of edgy watch design and exotic hypercar technology and the relationship of haute horology to the more vintage and story-telling aspects of performance automobile heritage.

And, to think, this has happened over the course of only just over four years.

Past Collaborations

In 2020, we saw an ode to a nearly mythical “lost” Bugatti car from the 1930s, the design for which was revisited by the automaker in 2019 in the form of an all-black, one-off Chiron-meets-Divo masterpiece that sold for 11 million Euro.

Jacob & Co’s response? The bejeweled, all-black Twin Turbo Furious “La Monte Noir” Bugatti Edition timepiece.

The next year gave us the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon, a fantastic piece of timekeeping wrist art based on the already fantastic object of the $3 million hypercar’s turbo-charged, 1,500 horsepower-plus W16 engine.

Then, in 2022, Jacob & Co.’s immaculate Jean Bugatti timepiece pivoted to a more restrained, romantic, high-horology approach for an apt homage to the Bugatti Type 57, masterfully picking up that legendary pre-war-era automobile’s unmistakable design DNA in watch form.

Design Inspiration? Try Design Integration

Today, the ongoing cross-pollination between the collaborators reaches a new high point: Bugatti’s latest hypercar unveiled last Friday and the new Jacob & Co. timepiece revealed today share the same name: Tourbillon.

But that’s only the beginning of the story.

“Jacob & Co. is ushering in a new age of car watchmaking,” said Benjamin Arabov, Jacob & Co.’s CEO, in a press release. “We’re building upon the incredible success of our Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon timepiece and on a shared frame of mind with Bugatti automobiles. This high-complication, high-octane watch sets the highest bar for innovation, design integration, and exhilarating watchmaking.”

Hypercar Informs Watch

The debuting Bugatti Tourbillon (watch) takes the exquisite engine design metaphor from 2021’s Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon and, well, super-charges it.

For starters, with an “engine block” crafted from a single block of transparent sapphire that replicates the construction of the 1,800 horsepower V16 in the new $4.3 million Bugatti Tourbillon (hypercar), this watch’s beating heart enters the realm of an engine automaton more than mere engine-mimicking movement geegaw.

Activated by a pusher and wound using the massive bi-directional crown (which also powers the movement) at the bottom of the case, this piece of kinetic art, powered by the hand-wound Calibre JCAM55 movement, authentically shares the same architecture as the car’s engine in micro-form: tiny titanium pistons; a long, elaborate crankshaft; decorated “exhaust manifolds;” the whole megillah. The on-demand drama lasts 20 seconds.

Above the “engine,” a decidedly more dashboard-like design (perhaps because it’s a replica of the hypercar’s dash) includes a 30-second flying tourbillon on the left (the fastest Jacob & Co. has ever made), a doubled-up power reserve sharing the same axis (a first for the brand) on the right that tracks the movement’s and automaton’s power levels (the movement carries a 48-hour reserve and you can spark off the engine animation 20 consecutive times on a full wind).

Of course, a large central hour and minute counter rides at the helm of the dash, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill two-hander. Both hours and seconds are detailed across a 270-degree retrograde arc, and both hands “jump” back to zero upon each interval’s completion. Um, tachymetric wrist theater, anyone?

Curb Appeal

The 52 x 44mm black DLC titanium case receives a new level of car exterior connection, as well.

Distinctive details like a front grille, side radiator inlets, and large sapphire “windows” giving a side view to the movement details are all recessed and drawn together by an etched automotive grid pattern. It’s all pure Bugatti, down to the “body shape” of the case.

On the wrist, it becomes clear that the Bugatti Tourbillon timepiece is the perfect next chapter in this collaboration. First, it takes the visually dynamic engine approach of the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon, then passes it through the story-telling filter of the Jean Bugatti timepiece to ultimately create a more authentic time-keeping ode to the carmaker.

Even its colorway combining black, blue, and red carries more performance hypercar authenticity. You could probably even mount the case of the Bugatti Tourbillon watch to the dashboard of the Bugatti Tourbillon car; it would probably feel perfectly natural there.

Watch Informs Hypercar

On the Bugatti Tourbillon (car) side, the shared vision and integration project has brought elements of superbly balanced dial design, the extreme visibility of its exhibition caseback, and other watchmaking elements to the four-wheeled world into sharper focus.

“We have taken great inspiration from watchmaking, both in terms of materiality and complexity,” said Mate Rimac, Bugatti CEO, in the same release. “In the interior, we opted for a very transparent design that allows a view of the technical details and emphasizes the precision craftsmanship and exclusivity of the vehicle.

“It’s like a very high-quality watch where you can see the movement. In the art of watchmaking, the tourbillon [represents] the highest form of complication, and this is exactly what we want to show with the Bugatti Tourbillon.”

Pricing & Availability

Like the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon, the $340,000 new Bugatti Tourbillon watch will be limited to the eventual full-run of the correlating Bugatti automobile production, which is 250 with 150 pieces of the timepiece being immediately available. We look forward to what Jacob & Co. will produce for the remaining 100 pieces.

You can learn more about the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Tourbillon on the watchmaker’s website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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