The high point of the presentation of Parmigiani Fleurier's new models, which will be showcased at SIHH 2013 in Geneva, is the Bugatti Vitesse. It confirms the radically different design of the Bugatti Super Sport, with its dial positioned at 90° with respect to the normal dial. This makes it visible while driving without having to move your wrist.
"Often a relationship between a car marque and a watch brand is not natural," said Pierre-Henri Raphanel, official driver for Bugatti, present at the evening in Milan. "In this case, it is a perfect match. For example, many people said that Michel Parmigiani's idea for a 90°-slewed movement could never work. The same was said of Bugatti's 1,200-horsepower car. In both cases, the product functions to perfection. Both brands are pushing the limits. Both are for connoisseurs."
The Bugatti Vitesse therefore underlines the ongoing agreement between Parmigiani Fleurier and Bugatti. Of course, there are many partnerships between fine watch brands and high-end car manufacturers – examples include Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin, Panerai and Ferrari (initially the Italian car brand worked with Girard-Perregaux), Breitling and Bentley, Tag Heuer and Tesla, and so forth – but the Bugatti-Parmigiani Fleurier collaboration is exceptional for its depth and quality.
The Vitesse watch has many visual references to the car, such as the use of high-tech-finish titanium, and the dial in Texalium, an advanced material in glass fibre and aluminium. The distinctive side view of the watch is a direct reference to the car's flank with its unmistakable air intake design. It is also part of the Parmigiani Fleurier DNA, because the marque's watches feature lugs with the same shape.
The movement maintains the same principal features of the preceding model, the Bugatti Super Sport, with its conical gear train that transforms the movement's drive by 90°. The movement itself has an architecture that reflects that of a car engine, with gears cut to resemble alloy wheel hubs. Finish is superb throughout, in 'black or,' Côtes de Genève and satin-finish bridges.
The movement, PF 372, is manually-wound, with a power reserve of ten hours, and a frequency of 3 Hz (21,600 oscillations/hour). Its functions are hours, minutes, and power reserve. There are two colour variants, the first with white Texalium dial, blue cabochon on the crown, and a strap in blue alligator; while the second has an orange Texalium dial, and a red-orange cabochon and strap. (The straps, one of the few components not made in-house, are made by Hermès, Paris). The series number of each piece is engraved on the caseback. Sections of the movement can be seen through six sapphire crystals. The dial is marked with the Bugatti logo, while the Parmigiani Fleurier name is under the 9 o'clock position, and on the cabochon.
The bottom line is that the Parmigiani Fleurier Vitesse is an exclusive watch, not a watch for everyone, but one that is inherently practical, and simple to use. Just like the Bugatti Vitesse car: it has a huge performance, but the technology is so exceptional that anyone can drive it, keeping it under perfect control. The prices of both reflect the same idea of exclusivity: customers who can pay two million euro for the car will have no problem with the watch's pricetag!