Introducing the Jacob & Co. Jean Bugatti

Introducing the Jacob & Co. Jean Bugatti

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.

The Low-Down

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.

Type 57SC Atlantic
Type 57SC Atlantic
Type 57SC Atlantic

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.

Jacob & Co Jean Bugatti
Jacob & Co Jean Bugatti

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.

Jacob & Co Jean Bugatti
Jacob & Co Jean Bugatti

IMHO

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.

Type 57SC Atlantic

Tech Specs

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

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Felix Scholz

Felix Scholz has spent the last decade covering watches from his home in Australia. Given this, it's surprising that he still struggles with time zones. Over the years he's become a firm believer that less is more when it comes to watch design – except when a rainbow bezel is involved. He's written for numerous titles including Hodinkee, GQ, A Collected Man and more. These days he looks after the Australian edition of Revolution and takes a break from writing about watches to talk about them, as the co-host of OT: The Podcast.

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