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Parmigiani - Bugatti Aérolithe Performance

Parmigiani Bugatti Aérolithe Performance

This high-tech watch draws inspiration from the extraordinary Bugatti Aérolithe car from the 1930s.

Hiding his work from his father Ettore, Jean Bugatti built the Bugatti Aérolithe, creating it from a highly flammable magnesium alloy that made welding impossible. The body was designed in two parts joined by an ingenious riveted dorsal seam. Shortly after it was unveiled in 1935, this incredible car which fell from the sky – hence its meteorite-inspired name – disappeared from the surface of the earth, its brief passage marked by just a few photographs.

When creating the Bugatti Aérolithe Performance, Parmigiani Fleurier was inspired by its beauty and mystery; the 41mm case is made entirely from titanium, using laser technology to apply finishes beyond the capability of conventional machining. Underneath the crown and the pushers, the intermediate ring displays an “inverted diamond point” pattern, which is impossible to create by removing material with the usual methods.

Bugatti Aérolithe Performance
The dial is split into two parts, and this continues onto the angled section of the bezel, where the indications are a nod to the exceptional performances of modern-day Bugattis. Its textured central section creates a beautiful sense of depth. The ends of the diamond points in the pattern are polished to give the centre a subtle brilliance, while the exterior of the dial is selectively laser sand-blasted.

The counters at 3 and 9 o'clock have keen angles and are finished with a circular satin grain. Once again, lasers were used as satin-finishing within a recess would be impossible. The stepped counter at 3 o'clock is formed of three half-levels, each of which has a different textured effect. Finally, the rhodium-plated indications were formed using a technique which builds up the material by focussing a high-intensity laser beam on it.

There is a nod to the world of high-speed pursuits in the double tachometer, which has km/h indications in red and mph in blue, in reference to the signature colours of Bugatti. The double tachymeter (km and miles) on the minute chronograph counter runs continuously in periods of 30 minutes. So, if you wish to calculate the pace for 1 kilometre during one hour of walking, the figure indicated by the dual-colour hand must be multiplied by two.

Bugatti Aérolithe Performance

The Delta-shaped hour and minute hands, the red “1” numeral on the date and the double hand at 9 o'clock all bear the stylistic hallmarks of Parmigiani Fleurier. Other striking elements contributing to the personality of this timepiece are the famous lugs featuring the dorsal seam of the Bugatti Aérolithe, the strap inspired by the embossed pattern of the manufacturer's seats, and the deployant buckle, which is textured to match the dial.

The Bugatti Aérolithe Performance is driven by the proprietary PF335 automaticmovement, which boasts a flyback chronograph module and a 50-hpur power reserve. It is decorated with “Côtes de Genève”.

Bugatti Aérolithe Performance

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One of the more recent success stories of the Swiss watchmaking industry, Parmigiani Fleurier emerged from the close relationship between watchmaker Michel Parmigiani and the Sandoz Family Foundation.

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