Designed as a tribute to the futuristic 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe Coupe, a legendary vehicle that still serves as a source of inspiration to many industrial designers, the 2013 Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe (ref. PFC329-3400600) carefully mixes design cues taken from the vintage sports car with their traditional elements producing an object of an almost stunning beauty.
Being a truly premium watchmaker (probably because of being a fairly young brand that can’t use its pedigree to sell dull and uninspiring timepieces and thus forced to make them interesting and almost always different,) Parmigiani Fleurier can sell their watches in almost any price range that they please, so they almost never limit their fantasy when it comes to the choice of colors, materials, and textures.
This Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe, for example, features a nice combination of titanium and white gold that combine mirror polished and finely brushed surfaces. The ice-cold beauty of both alloys is nicely matched by a deep blue dial and calfskin Hermes strap. The latter two are, too, well matched to each other thanks to bright red accents on the dial, the strap and its adjustable clasp, which is, too, crafted from titanium.
Equipped with their new Caliber PF335 self-winding movement (it comprises 311 components and is built in-house), the watch features a comfortable flyback chronograph complication that allows you to measure numerous events pushing just one button and using the other to stop the chrono. As you have probably already noticed, the elegantly shaped chronograph push-pieces are placed at the other side of the winding crown at 8 and 10 hours respectively that makes it even more comfortable to operate than a chronograph with normally positioned pushers.
Of course, the chronograph here serves a completely decorative purpose, so there was no need to equip the watch with a serious chronograph complication with a dedicated 12-hour counter. Instead, the watch features a more classic bi-compax design with a 30-minute totalizer placed at 3 hours, and a small seconds indicator positioned at 9 o’clock.
Together with the counters, the white, arc-shaped date aperture at 6 o’clock forms a happy face with two eyes of a different color (now that you see it, you will never be able to unsee it) that gives it a friendly appearance.
All these great things come at a price though. So far, Parmigiani Fleurier plans to sell the timekeeper at impressive €22,000, which puts it out of reach to, perhaps, around 90 percent of enthusiasts, but that only makes it even more desirable, doesn’t it?
Photos: Parmigiani Fleurier
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Chronograph (ref. PFC329-3400600) specification
Price: €22,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber PF335, in-house, 311 components, 30.3 x 6.81 mm, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 68
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 50 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, flyback chronograph
Case: Titanium and White Gold
Size: 41.00 mm
Case height: 12.55 mm
Hour markers: Applied
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Blue leather calfskin strap by Hermes with folding adjustable clasp in titanium
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire