After releasing such superlative watches as the Chiron or Twin Turbo Furious Bugatti, all of which relate to the contemporary history of Bugatti, Jacob & Co. decided to explore another facet of the hypercar brand’s legacy. Compared to the rest of the Jacob & Co. timepiece collection, the Jean Bugatti stands out. It feels classical and to some, even tame. It is the result of the deep relationship between Bugatti Automobiles and Jacob & Co., which is based on an horological interpretation of automotive design. So The Jean Bugatti feels like the dashboard of a collectible Bugatti car. And the openings at the bottom of the dial feel like the grille and headlights of a 1930’s coupé from Molsheim.
Jean Bugatti was the eldest son of founder Ettore Bugatti. Born in 1909, the same year when Ettore set up his new company in Molsheim, Alsace, in north-eastern France. As a child, Jean loved to watch his father and the draftsmen designing and developing. He often secretly ran through the production facilities watching the drawings come to life. Young, curious and experimental as he was, the post-war French “Années Folles” (crazy years) had a huge influence on him. He would visit his grandfather Carlo, who was a member of the Académie des Beaux Arts in Paris since 1875, as often as he could in the French capital. Carlo Bugatti loved mixing materials, cultures and styles in his furniture and decorative artefacts, inspiring Jean to do the same in his automotive designs.
This led to such masterpieces as the duotone Type 50 series, the Type 41 Royale with the longest wheelbase ever and the Type 57SC Atlantic, the most expensive collector’s car in the world. The Atlantic had an extremely long bonnet and an oval-shaped rear end extending almost to the ground, from which six thin tailpipes protrude. The outstanding design feature was the Atlantic’s raised seam which ran vertically from the hinge in the split bonnet to the tail. Proportions unknown in the automotive world at the time.
In 2019, Bugatti and Jacob & Co. signed a multi-year partnership to create unique, never-before-seen timepieces. These watches are true to the spirit of both companies, while taking watchmaking to impossible heights. To inaugurate this partnership led by performance, two timepieces were created. These watches, based on the Twin Turbo Furious and the Epic X Chrono, were directly inspired by the unique design and spirit of Bugatti hypercars.
In 2020, Jacob & Co. and Bugatti introduced new watches in the Twin Turbo Furious collection, and the Bugatti Chiron, a completely new line. In 2022, this partnership adds a historic, classic and still high performance facet with the Jean Bugatti. The Jean Bugatti presents itself in the guise of an elegant, refined timepiece with a pronounced retro feel. This is the latest offspring of the fruitful partnership between Jacob & Co. and Bugatti Automobiles.
Jean Bugatti’s sense of automotive design was definitely outside the box. So is the appearance of the eponymous timepiece. It may look classical, but as was to be expected from Jacob & Co., it really isn’t. With two large openings at 5 and 7 o’clock under discs of smoked sapphire, with hands pointing in a direction that makes no apparent sense, with a vertical large opening at 6 o’clock, the Jean Bugatti is puzzling, misleading perhaps.
Pointing inwards, located on the outside rim of the dial, two short, red hands tell the hours and minutes. The pair of short, blued hands anchored in the middle of the dial are the chronograph hands. The first, longer one stands for the chronograph’s second’s units. The other is in charge of the chronograph’s second’s tens. The two openings on the dial, at 5 and 7 o’clock, harbour a pair of one-minute flying tourbillons.
Furthermore, when the chronograph is stopped and reset, the seconds’ hands don’t jump backwards instantly. They slowly continue their course to their final position, and only then can they make their final retrograde leap. This is one of many unique features of the Jean Bugatti.
The two openings on the Jean Bugatti dial harbour a pair of one-minute tourbillons. Lying underneath a smoked sapphire crystal, they integrate a design feature that further enhances the Buatti-esque nature of this timepiece. A Jacob & Co. tourbillon cage can be modified in a host of ways to convey a design message. In this case, it’s been given the shape of the Bugatti EB logo. This component is manufactured in perfectly polished steel.