THE UNPUNISHED JOKER
TIME Master restorer and watchmaker Michel Parmigiani takes on the extreme challenge of creating the Bugatti Type 390 timepiece to mirror last year’s stupendous Chiron.
The mechanics in the new Bugatti Type 390 by Parmigiani Fleurier ( RM1.2 million) are concentrated in a tubular shape that’s inspired by last year’s stunning Bugatti Chiron, one of the world’s fastest street-legal hypercars in production. The use of a hand-wound coaxial movement makes the timepiece the brand’s most complex movement.
“There are similarities between the automotive and watchmaking industries, and the Bugatti collection by Parmigiani is an expression of extravagance. It’s like a joker who goes unpunished, where he can do anything he wants,” says master watchmaker Michel Parmigiani. “Creating a watch inspired after an engine block to be worn on a wrist is not easy, so proportions must be spot on.”
On a case of either white or rose gold, you find large openings covered with concave sapphire crystal displaying the heart of the watch, inspired by the Chiron’s W16 engine. While the Bugatti Type 390 and its predecessors are known for their unorthodox designs, Parmigiani’s other timepieces follow a traditional style, taking inspiration from nature and architecture. The design influence of the Toric, for example, comes from the base of the columns found on ancient Greek temples. For the Tonda, it visualises the old paintings made by Michelangelo.
Parmigiani’s source of invention comes from a hard-earned past in restoring old timepieces during the 1970s quartz crisis. “Restoration is harder compared to creating something new from scratch. For originality, I can’t be creative during restoration, so I channel my creativity into creating my own timepieces at night.”
Bugatti, however, will be his only collaboration with an automotive marque. “There are similarities between both brands — the exclusivity, technicality and engineering of our Bugatti watch is shared with the actual car. It can’t be applied to any other makes. Parmigiani Fleurier and Bugatti just fit.” www.parmigiani. com ≠
“I channel my creativity into creating my own timepieces at night.”