AN ORIGINAL UPDATE
TIME The radical movement that made Parmigiani’s Bugatti Type 390 a star has been brought back in a more functional and wearable case.
In 2004, Parmigiani Fleurier’s newly unveiled Bugatti Type 370 created a sensation among watch collectors with its radical rethinking of movement architecture. Instead of wheels and plates lying flat on the wrist, the Type 370 presented a construction elongated by columns that sat transversely across the wrist. It looked like a car engine, an especially apt design for a product tied to the Veyron supercar from the revived Bugatti marque. Nevertheless, while the design was revered and produced in limited numbers for over a decade, it was also technically inflexible. Parmigiani’s engineers found they could only complete major design updates with a new, somewhat more conventional movement and a dial oriented at 90 degrees through conical gearing – a solution first shown in 2010’s sinuously curved Super Sport.
The latest Bugatti timepiece from Parmigiani, the Bugatti Type 390 brings back the transverse movement architecture in a more modern and adaptable package. Housed in a cylinder, the movement stacks a flying tourbillon at one end followed by a going train in planetary gears, two winding barrels and a conical-geared power-reserve indicator at the opposite end. Time indication is on a perpendicular plane from the cylinder, with the power transmission performed by a column of worm gearing (the action is a little like a spinning corkscrew). In fact, the whole case articulates around the movement, adding comfort for the wearer and, according to the company, taking a direct cue from the car.
“The engine in the Bugatti is attached to the cockpit in the centre of the car, and the two rear wheels are supported by the engine itself,” says Florin Niculescu, vice president of product development at Parmigiani Fleurier. “We wanted to mount the movement in a similar manner.”
Also like the car, the watch is produced to the specifications of the owner in different combinations of colours and materials. But more importantly, the movement package is designed to allow far greater creative licence in forthcoming versions. “The 390 opens a new dimension for the future,” says Niculescu, “because I can put the movement wherever I want around the wrist, pick up the energy and use it for any type of time display.” www.parmigiani. ch ≠