When it comes to truly out of this world supercars, only a handful of models make the cut; there’s Koenigsegg’s One:1, Pagani’s Huayra and of course Bugatti’s Veyron Super Sport, just to name a few. Gorgeous, aerodynamic lines combined with raw, unadulterated power make these high-speed machines simply irresistible, although for many the closest they will ever get to one is on display at an auto show. Extremely limited production numbers combined with astronomical price tags ensure that these cars remain the exclusive playthings of the super-rich and even then there are no guarantees.
These supercars are not just sources of great envy though, they can also be sources of great inspiration, which brings us to today’s timepiece; the Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Super Sport. No prizes for guessing which car in the above list was the catalyst for this miniature mechanical beauty, if the name didn’t already give it away, the unique case design certainly would. Like the car itself this is not a watch for the faint hearted.
Parmigiani x Bugatti
If you’re not already familiar with the Parmigiani name – and I’m sure a few of you won’t be – check out this article I wrote a few weeks ago, which details a bit of the history of the brand and why you should be paying them some attention. Although the company has produced several notable timepieces in its relatively short history none have achieved quite the same level of fame as the exceptional Bugatti series, and with good reason.
Created in direct collaboration with the supercar maker, Parmigiani’s Bugatti series is quite unlike anything else on offer in the brand’s line-up. In fact the Bugatti series is quite unlike anything else on offer period. The partnership between the two brands began back in 2004, born from a shared love for excellence without compromise.
To celebrate Parmigiani created the incredible Bugatti Type 370 featuring a cylindrical or drum-shaped case complete with exposed three-dimensional movement and vertical dial for easy reading whilst driving. The series proved to be incredibly popular with collectors and the brand continued to release new variants of the Bugatti Type 370. In fact the Type 370 Mythe was unveiled just last year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the successful partnership.
For me though it wasn’t until 2010, when Parmigiani introduced the first Bugatti Super Sport in white gold at Pebble Beach (alongside the launch of the actual car itself), that things really started getting interesting. Sure, the Bugatti Type 370 is still exceptionally cool, not to mention extremely impressive from a technical standpoint but it still lacks the svelte aerodynamic feel of the supercars it is paying tribute to. The Super Sport changes all of that.
The Parmigiani Bugatti Super Sport
The first thing you notice about the Super Sport, before you even pick it up, is the highly unusual design of the case. It’s smooth and streamlined and yet at the same time bold and aggressive, commanding attention wherever it goes without so much as lifting a finger. Much like the car itself, this is a timepiece that instantly elicits envious stares from all those who see it. They admire the confidence of the wearer and yet at the same time secretly wish it was them instead. It sounds strange I know but the Super Sport – in both watch and car form – just seems to have that effect on people.
The black opaline dial itself is a fairly simple affair, displaying the hours and minutes only. The central area of the dial is open-worked, creating a visually impressive backdrop highlighted by the hour wheel which encourages the wearer to look a little closer than they perhaps otherwise would. Like the Bugatti Type 370, the dial is vertical to ensure you don’t need to take your hands off the wheel when driving to view the time; rather you just glance over at your wrist.
My favourite view of the Bugatti Super Sport however has to be from the side. You could be forgiven for thinking that the sleek, sloping lines of the case have been taken from the car the watch is named for however this is not actually the case. Rather it is one of the brand’s own notable designs – the tear-shaped lugs that appear on the Tonda and Kalpa models – that have served as the inspiration here. Beautifully elongated they form two perfect tear drops on either side of the case, a style which is replicated by the two smaller lugs at the front of the watch which attach one end of the Hermes leather strap (the other end is seamlessly integrated into the end of the case.)
On the inside is the manually-wound calibre Parmigiani 372, a wonderfully complex movement comprised of some 333 components, many of which can be admired through the multiple sapphire glass surfaces that adorn the case (there are 6 in total in case you were wondering). As you would expect from a movement this exposed the level of finishing is really sublime; Cotes de Geneve finishing on bridges, sandblasted mainplate, hand drawn bevels, the list goes on. Also visible on the back side of the watch is the power reserve indicator, which keeps track of the impressive 10-day power supply made possible by twin barrels. Below that the balance wheel, escapement and bridge-plates form arc-like formation, supposedly emulating the Bugatti logo.
On the wrist the rose gold case is extremely comfortable, just don’t expect to be able to hide the Bugatti Super Sport away inconspicuously under your jacket sleeve. But then again, why would you want to? Like the car itself you don’t buy this type of watch if you don’t want the attention that comes with it…