For several years, the pioneering independent watch company Parmigiani Fleurier has maintained an enduring collaborative relationship with exotic sports car manufacturer Bugatti. Whilst being very disparate creators in their own spheres, in their exclusivity, complexity and spectacle, as well as being largely crafted by hand, the two companies share many values, and the Bugatti Aerolithe by Parmigiani Fleurier recalls one of the most beautiful and exotic automobiles of all time in a quite superb wristwatch.
With its flowing contours the 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe epitomised the era of art deco design, becoming an icon of motoring legend, and for the wristwatch which continues that same legacy, some of the car’s most defining features have been reimagined and incorporated to create this exceptional chronograph which evokes the Aerolithe’s spirit of speed and elegance.
Encased in 41mm of polished titanium, and topped with a bezel of 18Kt white gold, the Parmigiani Fleurier Aerolithe features teardrop shaped lugs, which are reminiscent of the Bugatti’s wheel arches. The chronograph pushers, located on the left side of the case, and with the same shape, are integrated into the lugs in a really cool nod to the original design.
Underneath the round sapphire crystal, the dial is a shimmering abyss blue with a recessed centre section in opaline. It features two subdials for the small seconds at the nine and the 30 minute chronograph display, which, like the big chrono seconds is defined in red. The date is displayed in a crescent aperture below the Bugatti logo in the bottom half of the dial. The rhodium plated hour indices and hours and minutes hands are accented with Super-LumiNova for excellent legibility.
Inside, the automatic, self winding PF335 movement with integrated flyback chronograph has been manufactured in house, and the sapphire caseback reveals the solid 18Kt gold oscillating mass and the meticulous watchmaking for which Parmigiani Fleurier is renowned. With polished, rounded anglage defining its bevelled edges, screws which are deeply seated in polished chatons and Côtes de Genève striping it is an exquisitely appointed construction of mechanical horology, and with its two barrels delivers 50 hours of reserve when fully wound.