In 2000, the well-known French super running brand Bugatti (Bugatti) has been looking for a watchmaking brand that can meet its strict standards and develop a strong cooperative relationship. The partner must be a young brand, and its founder can be personally involved and involved in its production process. In addition, this brand also needs to have the enthusiasm to climb the peak of craftsmanship, but at the same time have a keen artistic appreciation, and attach great importance to the elegance of design and appearance. Finally, the brand also needs to have an independent watch factory in order to provide the necessary production space for unlimited creative potential. All these conditions led Bugatti to choose Parmigiani because the brand met and exceeded all its expectations.
Parmigiani Bugatti Aérolithe
Since 2001, the Fleurier-based watchmaker has continuously created watches for the Bugatti collection. Unlike other brands, these watches only carry the logo of the car brand-they are more like It’s a car reborn in the form of a watch. This year, Parmigiani launched the latest collaboration watch of the two major brands-Bugatti Aérolithe.
A legendary history of extraordinary models
No car is more mysterious than the Bugatti Aérolithe. Following by Etori in 1935. Shortly after Ettore Bugatti’s first launch at the Paris Motor Show, the model disappeared from people’s field of vision, leaving only one photo, a few sketches, and memories of its extraordinary pale green. However, no one can forget the material used in this model: a magnesium alloy called ELEKTRON. ELEKTRON magnesium alloy caused a huge sensation that year, and even this avant-garde model was sometimes nicknamed ELEKTRON. The body of the Bugatti Aérolithe is extremely light, but it is so strong that it does not dent, and at the same time is extremely susceptible to fire and extremely volatile. Therefore, the assembly of automobiles has become a very delicate process. In the welding process of components, an alternative to the traditional process must be found. So Etori’s son Jean. Bugatti devised an ingenious assembly method. This solution had a huge impact on the formation of the car’s “futuristic” artistic appearance; in this solution, the body was designed into two longitudinal sections, and the two sections were riveted together by a “ridge seam” structure , And this ‘ridge seam’ extends from the front of the car to the back.
Therefore, it can be said that it is the instability of the magnesium alloy-such an obstacle and a challenge that gave birth to the revolutionary design of the Bugatti Aérolithe model, and finally created a ‘futuristic’ artistic style of curved lines and a harmonious bump , Become a typical representative of the ‘streamline’ design trend. And, to this day, its noble elegance still makes you marvel. Although this first and only prototype has disappeared mysteriously, its inspiring creative inspiration will never die. The successor model of Bugatti Atlantic follows the prototype’s magnesium alloy body and ‘ridge seam’ structure, faithfully reproducing this genius idea of the Molsheim family. Parmigiani has decided to build a Bugatti Aérolithe watch based on this long-lost mysterious image as a tribute to the pioneering work of this extraordinary series of models.
How to apply the essence of a car to a watch?
It is this problem that constantly drives Parmigiani to study the design of the watch while creating the Bugatti series. This process is mainly about how to isolate the most amazing and unique feature of the car-whether it is shape, color or craftsmanship-and then apply this feature to the watch, regardless of any craftsmanship and space encountered during this period The problems must be overcome one by one. This depends on the ability to break through thinking.
The distinctive feature of the Aérolithe model is the riveted structure that runs through the front and rear. It is the riveting structure that makes the body as a whole, solving the problem that magnesium cannot be welded. It is also the riveting structure that gives the car a unique personality and a smooth, futuristic, streamlined appearance. In view of this, it was finally decided to transplant this ‘ridge seam’ to the watch, and reproduce this feature on the four lugs respectively. In order to be consistent with the visual style of the Parmigiani brand, the contour of the lugs has not changed, but the surface is decorated with a ‘riveted structure’, which reflects the image. Bugatti’s genius design-the essence of the craft that made this model popular about 80 years ago.
LES ARTISANS BOÎTIERS watchmaking factory
Whenever Parmigiani starts designing new Bugatti watches, Les Artisans Boîtiers in La Chaux-de-Fonds is ready to take on new challenges. They know that before starting the project, before the designer’s ideas are converted into drawings, there are hours and hours of technical discussions waiting for them, and there are countless decisions waiting for them, but for this reason, the ideas on the drawings It can blossom and bear fruit, it can be transformed into a real watch, and it can be transformed into a free ride that breaks through any imagination.
Parmigiani × Bugatti cross-border collaboration with ‘Aérolithe’ watch
Taking this project as an example, after digital simulation, it was found that the titanium case of Bugatti Aérolithe could not be polished in accordance with the original design standards. The closed structure of the watch does not allow the tool to achieve the level of friction required to obtain the highest quality surface. This is by no means a small problem, because it is clear that the coordination of the entire watch, especially whether the lugs with riveted structure are highlighted (this is a reflection of the characteristics of the car), depends on the subtle changes in light, and only the appropriate Polishing can ensure this effect. Therefore, Les Artisans Boîtiers came up with an ingenious solution: to make a case with a circle of clearance on the base so that it has the required amount of friction to achieve all high-quality surfaces, and then use the ‘decorative’ ring The gaps are hidden to ensure that the watch fits tightly.
In this way, the original problem has become the aesthetic characteristics of the watch. Thanks to this titanium ring, more changes can be made in the texture and color of the watch, and at the same time, the process of perfecting the surface can be completed. Just as the birth of the riveted structure on the car was originally to solve the welding problem, but it has become a unique feature of the model-the birth of the titanium ring was originally to solve the problem that cannot be polished. The aesthetic highlights are truly the same.
Dark blue and bright red
‘Dark blue’-the most mysterious and charming color, and of course the most difficult to obtain. For an extraordinary and unique watch like Bugatti Aérolithe, how can it resist the temptation of this charming color-the watch dial uses this deep blue. The task of creating ‘dark blue’ finally fell to the Quadrance et Habillage watch factory, which is a professional dial craft factory. They immersed the dial in a galvanic bath to obtain this shade under highly sensitive conditions. After electrolytic reaction (actually ion exchange), a salt is obtained, and this salt is deposited on the dial material, which finally forms this hard-to-find dark blue. The real challenge is to ensure the repeatability of the entire process, as the plating bath changes after each exposure. In order to perfectly repeat this process and ensure the consistency of all watches in the entire series, the most critical thing is to calculate and control the principles, but also depend on the level of craftsmanship and sensitivity, which can only be obtained through experience accumulation . That’s why no factory outside of Quadrance et Habillage can reproduce this deep blue.
On the dial of infinitely deep color, bright red hands match the red and black Bugatti logo at 6 o’clock. This contrast effect is further reflected in the Hermes embossed calfskin strap, the stitching of which uses the same bright red as the dial hands, and the gemstone blue of the strap itself complements each other. Finally, the buckle has also been completely redesigned, adopting the shape of the car grille-thus, the gene of the Bugatti car is fully displayed on the wearer’s wrist.
Flyback is a sophisticated and unique feature from aviation that allows the wearer to pause, reset and restart the chronograph stopwatch with a single touch. Initially, pilots used this function to accurately calculate the flight time for a specific voyage without losing even one second of precious flight time by operating the watch (on a traditional chronograph stopwatch, the same operation requires a total of two buttons) Press three down to finish). Like the car it mirrors, the Bugatti Aérolithe is equipped with a flyback module, offset by 180 degrees, which makes it easier to use. The buttons are located at 8 and 10 o’clock, instead of the traditional 2 and 4 o’clock position, because it can be operated with the thumb instead of the index finger, which is more convenient to use.
The case of the Bugatti Aérolithe is thinner than the case of other chronographs of the brand. The contour line has been redesigned to become slimmer and more elegant, echoing the car’s charming curve. The Bugatti Aérolithe watch refines the essence of the car, while retaining the essence of the Parmigiani watch; it not only shows the feat of craftsmanship, but also the spectacle of aesthetic creativity. The contour of this watch is the same as that of all other watches in the entire series, and the quality of its modified components also meets the brand’s strict standards. The Bugatti Aérolithe watch fully demonstrates all the potential of an independent watch factory. The development process of the watch fully reflects the legend of such a watchmaking center that was born after a perfect vertical merger and constitutes a physical enterprise of the watchmaking center. Always maintaining dialogue, mutual assistance and exchange of inspiration, this is also the source of Parma Gianni’s strong development.