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In 2001, bugatti was on the look out for a watch partner – one it could match in technical excellence, creativity and technical development, and Parmigiani, being a brand with a reputation of pushing the limits, was an excellent choice. In many ways, bugatti’s partnership with Parmigiani grew out of a shared passion for precision and creative flair, both being masters in their respective fields. as an independent manufacture, Parmigiani maintains its freedom to explore and innovate, which created an environment for both brands to work side by side, and in an atmosphere conducive to creativity.
In 2004, the partnership produced its first watch, borne from michel Parmigiani’s visit to the bugatti manufacture in molsheim. he was struck by the immensity of the car’s engine, which he understood was the true heart and soul of the car. Thus, he designed and created a watch in tribute of this remarkable engine, and so began this remarkable series of timepieces that are certainly not for the faint hearted.
The bugatti Type 370 overturned many conventions in the watchmaking world by assembling the plates and gears of an immense movement along a horizontal, rather than vertical axis. This allows for the time to be displayed clearly and in easy view for a race car driver, who has his hands planted firmly on the steering wheel. This transverse design meant that the watch could not be wound in a conventional way and instead, a device had to be created on the back of the piece, which would be regulated using a winding tool that resembles a pen. This tool emits a force, which can wind the movement and set the time – another world first which has since been patented.
This year, in celebration of that groundbreaking watch, Parmigiani created three limited edition models: the bugatti mythe, bugatti Victoire and the bugatti Révélation. It has to be said that these pieces are a departure from the watches the two powerhouses have launched together over the last decade, in that they step away from the technological innovations and futuristic spirit that has, to some extent, characterized the brand. Instead, these pieces showcase traditional watchmaking techniques in a return to the classics, giving the manufacture the opportunity to highlight its skills and celebrate its history, as well as michel Parmigiani’s background as a watchmaker.
The first of this collection, the bugatti mythe, takes inspiration from the bugatti Type 57 and its iconic grille formed with lines, rather than mesh, which graced the very first bugatti cars. These lines can be seen in the design of the watch, which extend downwards beyond its perimeter in tribute to the grille’s art Deco roots. To highlight the partnership between artisan and industrial traditions, the bugatti mythe features a dual-color case of mottled anthracite grey for the “industrial” side, and a burnished gold surface to reflect the “artisan” side, which fuse seamlessly together for an unforgettable appearance. This first of the three 10th anniversary pieces sets the stage for a new era of collaboration between the two brands, and a tribute to fine craftsmanship.
The Bugatti Mythe is inspired by the the Bugatti Type 57, in particular, its iconic grilles