World Firsts Under the Hood
Of course the finest examples of the horological arts possess stunning exterior design, but they also incorporate an appropriately sized and shaped movement. At the highest levels, movements and cases are literally made for each other. Most timepieces today use movements that are the wrong shape, wrong size, or both. In a world of size 6 movements in size 12 cases, the Parmigiani Calibre PF 372 inside the Super Sport is entirely bespoke: every part is crafted to the exact size and shape needed not only to do its job, but to create a whole designed for this timepiece.
If you know watch movements, looking at the Super Sport may cause momentary confusion. The design has an M.C. Escher quality. Through the top of the case, you see the plate on one plane, but the time display is on another, then there is the position of the crown… how do they do that?
The manually-wound Calibre PF 372 was designed in two planes to match the contours of the case, and to orient the dial in the “driver’s watch” position. If the watch is laid flat, the movement is at a 30° angle. Parmigiani flips all the mechanical components of the new calibre PF 372 onto a vertical axis, while retaining a lateral time display for the driver.
One of the major challenges this design presented is time setting. Parmigiani solved the problem with a world first – a 90° time-setting system. The dial is positioned perpendicular to the display axis by integrating a system of double pinions with bevel gearing. A slight pressure applied to the crown is sufficient to retract the winding stem from its housing and make it accessible for setting.
At the top of the case, where one might expect to see the time display, we find instead the main plate. The balance and escape wheels are visible in what we might normally call the 6 o’clock position. The power reserve sits at 12 o’clock with a graduated scale representing the movement’s 10 day power reserve. The movement has 10 bridges, and it is made up of 337 components. The movement is entirely fabricated by Parmigiani in-house, and this timepiece enjoys a 10 year warranty.
Turning the watch to view the dial, complexity becomes simplicity. In an homage to the Veyron Super Sport’s exterior finishing, orange hour and minute hands turn above a carbon fiber dial. The Parmigiani and Bugatti trademark logos remind you that you’re wearing something very special.
The Parmigiani Bugatti Super Sport shown here is a numbered limited edition of 30 pieces. Its colors and materials compliment the Veyron Super Sport: black-gold finish on the plates and bridges, orange hands and power reserve indications, and a carbon fiber dial and hour wheel. The buyer of the first Veyron Super Sport has the opportunity to purchase Number 1 in this series. WatchTime understands that several Veyron Super Sport automobiles have already been ordered, so Number 1/30 is probably spoken for. Orders are being accepted now, and deliveries will begin in early to mid 2011. Parmigiani can produce only 1 to 2 pieces per month. The USA price is $259,000.
Click here to view images from the official launch of the Parmigiani Bugatti Super Sport
Click here to view images from the official Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport launch at The Quail, plus shots from the Pebble Beach Concours and the Bugatti Grand Prix at the Laguna Seca Historic Races.