At last week’s SIHH 2017, the house of Parmigiani Fleurier introduced several new watches for 2017. One of their most talked about models was the new Bugatti Aerolithe Performance Titanium. Priced at $22,900, the new Parmigiani timepiece is inspired by the 1930’s concept car called Bugatti Type 57 Coupe Aerolithe.
Introduced at a car show in 1935, the Bugatti Aerolithe was created by a French automotive designer Jean Bugatti. Hiding his work from his father Ettore, he created the car from a revolutionary material called Elektron. Extremely lightweight, Elektron is a magnesium alloy that makes welding impossible. Because of this, the body of the car needed to be designed in two parts and joined by a unique riveted dorsal seam. This was also the first Bugatti to introduce the legendary Type 57 body style. However, as much as it was innovative and revolutionary, the 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Coupe Aerolithe had one fatal flaw – it was highly flammable. It is reported that the car had only one actual media road test. Shortly after it was introduced in 1935, it was removed from any further public appearances and either hidden or destroyed. Today, there are only few drawings and photographs to tell the story of one of Bugatti’s most interesting and unique models ever made.
Inspired by this remarkable concept car, the new Bugatti Aerolithe Performance Titanium has a round 41mm case that is entirely made of titanium. The case is water resistant to 30 meters and features a transparent sapphire back. To create the finishes on the watch, the brand’s engineers used special laser technology. Beneath the crown and pushers is the intermediate ring featuring a an “inverted diamond point” pattern, a decoration that is almost impossible to create by removing material with the conventional methods.
Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance Titanium features a black dial with Rhodium plated appliques and delta-shaped hands. Both the hands and appliques are filled with luminous material. The dial is decorated with a diamond-shaped, textured pattern in which the ends of the diamonds are polished in order to give the centre of the dial a subtle brilliance. As opposed to its centre, the dial’s exterior is sand-blasted. The chronograph counters at 3 and 9 o’clock feature keen angles and have circular satin grain finishes. According to Parmigiani, all these finishes were created with lasers. The date window is positioned at 6 o’clock. Completing the dial we have the double tachymeter scale. Running around the edge of the dial, it has km/h indications in red and mph in blue.
The latest Parmigiani timepiece is powered by the brand’s in-house made Caliber PF335. Featuring a fly-back chronograph module, the self-winding movement beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour and offers a power reserve of 50 hours. The movement features a classic Côtes de Genève finishing. The Bugatti Aerolithe Performance Titanium is finished with a black calfskin leather strap. The strap is decorated with the same diamond-shaped pattern used on the dial.