Introducing the Jacob & Co. Jean BugattiBy Felix Scholz
For their latest expression of horological masterwork, Jacob & Co takes inspiration from the heady, fuel-injected and supercharged world of the automobile. Except the source of inspiration in this instance isn’t the world of Formula 1, or even some sort of theoretical hypercar. No, Jacob & Co has dug into the history books for one of the most interesting and inspired car designers: Jean Bugatti.
Son of Bugatti founder Ettore, it’s unsurprising that automotive design loomed large in his future. But few could have imagined that Jean Bugatti’s designs, like the duotone Type 50, the Type 41 Royale and the incredible Type 57SC Atlantic would become some of the most iconic industrial designs of the modern age, an aerodynamic design of elegance and speed.
It’s this spirit that Jacob & Co has evoked with the Jean Bugatti watch. Created in two versions, white or rose gold, each limited to 57 pieces, this chronograph stands out not just because of the twin flying tourbillons that dominate the bottom of the dial but for the unusual chronograph layout. Rather than the standard array of registers, Jacob & Co has looked to the dash for inspiration. So it is that we’re treated to a retrograde chronograph display, the shorter hand indicating elapsed seconds, and the larger measuring tenths of a second, resulting in a display of whipping retrograde hands across the dial whenever the chronograph is actuated.
On top of that, there’s a digital jumping minute disc nestled between the two tourbillons to record up to 30 minutes. And what about the regular time? Well, that’s handled via the red indicators at the periphery of the dial. As you might have guessed, this level of engineering genius isn’t a simple task, a hunch quickly confirmed by a quick glance at the epic JCFM09 calibre which has the unenviable task of managing energy, torque and tension while keeping accurate time. It took them 470 components and a whopping 92 jewels, but this calibre is an engine that lives up to the Bugatti name.
Comparing yourself to the incomparable Type 57SC Atlantic is not for the faint of heart, and certainly, for a car manufacturer, it would be madness. But for Jacob & Co, it’s a spiritual evocation rather than a literal one. And on this front, they have done a fine job of honoring the designs of Jean Bugatti while keeping true to the spirit of Jacob & Co. Technically peerless and aesthetically accomplished, the Jean Bugatti delivers.
Movement: Hand-winding caliber JCFM09, column wheel, bi-retrograde and digital chronograph with twin flying one-minute tourbillons
Function: Peripheral hours and minutes, retrograde chronograph with retrograde tens and seconds hands, jumping 30-minute counter at six.
Case: 46mm by 16mm in rose or white gold, water-resistant to 30M
Dial: Cream white or blue, Arabic numerals, smoked sapphire tourbillon covers
Strap: Blue or black alligator
Price and availability: 57 pieces in white gold, 57 pieces in rose gold, USD 250,000