TOP SPEED: Swiss independent watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurieri hosted an event at the exclusive Automobile Club de France in Paris on Wednesday to celebrate the launch of its Bugatti Type 390 watch, timed to coincide with the first deliveries of the car manufacturer’s $3 million Chiron super sports car.
Billed as a horological interpretation of the Chiron, the fastest production car in the world with a top speed of 260 miles per hour for road use, the timepiece is the fruit of four years of development and features a unique design inspired by the car’s engine, interior and bodywork construction.
Steve Amstutz, vice president and chief commercial officer at Parmigiani Fleurier, said the brands share the values of innovation, authenticity and exclusivity. The latter is certainly true: The watchmaker will produce only three limited editions of 10 watches each.
The white gold and rose gold versions, available now, are priced at $295,000, while the titanium edition coming out next year will retail for $270,000, said Amstutz, who told WWD the brand will unveil an exclusive personalization service for the timepiece at the upcoming Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie trade fair in Geneva in January.
“Today we celebrate the delivery of the Chiron, but we are also celebrating 13 years of partnership between these two houses. This makes it, incidentally, the longest partnership between a watchmaker and a car manufacturer in history, which is relatively solid, since you see some car brands jumping from one brand to another, like certain Italian brands,” he said. “For us, longevity is a must.”
The executive was likely referring to Ferrari, which has had partnerships with watch brands including Cartier, Girard-Perregaux, Panerai and most recently, Hublot.
Parmigiani Fleurier president Michel Parmigiani’s collaboration with Bugatti has been characterized by exceptional timepieces featuring 3-D “engines.” The Type 390 also has a cylindrical movement but is the first in the series to feature a flying tourbillon.
The tubular structure is connected to a dial placed in a vertical position to make it readable while driving — an unusual configuration housed in a patent-pending articulated case, which can pivot 12 degrees to adapt to the wearer’s wrist. The alligator leather strap is from Hermès.
“The new Type 390 is an example of automobile engineering that we are bringing into watchmaking,” Parmigiani said.
Wiebke Stahl, Bugatti’s head of licensing and marketing, said it has sold 300 of its planned output of 500 Chiron cars, equipped with 1,500 horsepower. Cristiano Ronaldo took to Instagram in late September to show off his gray version of the car, for which there is a three-year waiting list.
“Like all Bugatti cars, Parmigiani Fleurier watches are designed in pursuit of excellence, true excellence in the art of performance, and the new Type 390 is an horological interpretation of the Bugatti Chiron, and a further testimony of our identical ambitions,” Stahl said.
“Bugatti has very special customers. They are achievers in life, most of them entrepreneurs and most of them also billionaires,” she added. “The average Bugatti customer owns 42 automobiles, 2.7 private jets, 1.2 yachts, 3.2 helicopters and 4.6 real estates. More than 50 percent are also collectors of art.”
Though Stahl admitted she had not collected the data, she added: “I know they love and collect watches, too.” Parmigiani is betting as much with its “supercar on your wrist.”