Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance

Angus Davies gets hands-on with the Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance

This detailed review of the Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance includes live pictures, detailed specification and pricing.

Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance - timepiece with flyback and titanium case

Performance is the function of capability and skill. Automotive capability is manifest with a powerful engine, carefully crafted to deliver colossal power. Skill is a necessary prerequisite to carefully harness this power by deftly applying the throttle and turning the wheel with due care.

In watchmaking, performance shares the same importance as in the field of high performance cars. Capability is illustrated with the numerous functions a timepiece possesses, while skill is the culmination of adroit hands finishing and assembling minute components to a matchless standard.

There are many similarities between the car and watchmaking industries resulting in many collaborations between both groups. It is for this reason Parmgiani Fleurier joined forces with Bugatti, ‘the extraordinary car manufacturer’, in 2001, forming an alliance which has led to the creation of several highly imaginative timepieces.

Earlier this year, at SIHH 2017, Parmigiani Fleurier unveiled the Bugatti Aerolithe Performance, a flyback chronograph with a distinctive mien, brimming with character. This watch is not only festooned with a myriad of details which reference speed, but it is also capable of recording elapsed periods with stylish aplomb.

The dial

Open-worked, luminescent Delta-shaped hour and minute hands impart the prevailing time. Their design is shared with several other Parmigiani Fleurier watches and they prove incredibly readable. Triangular shaped hour markers encircle the dial canvas, denoting the hours with their highly legible appearance.

Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance - timepiece with flyback and titanium case

The date is shown via a crescent shaped aperture positioned at 6 o’clock. The maison from the Val-de-Travers has chosen to portray the first day of the month in a vibrant shade of red. 

Positioned adjacent 3 o’clock is a 30-minute chronograph register with blue and red scales showing imperial and metric speeds, respectively. Located opposite, a twin-tipped hand collaborates with a semi-circular scale to communicate the running seconds.

Encircling the dial vista is a tachymeter scale with indications in km/h shown in red and speeds in mph displayed in blue. The dial flange is marked 100 km/h, 200 km/h, 300 km/h and 400 km/h with the equivalent values expressed in mph.

The central area of the dial features a lattice-work motif, conferring texture and interest. It is also reminiscent of the diamond shaped knurling sometimes found on car controls.

The main hour and minute display is highly legible, courtesy of the Delta-shaped hands and lucid hour markers. At first the double tachymeter and 30-minute chronograph register seem a little confusing, but with familiarity they soon become simple to use.

The case

The teardrop lugs of the Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance subscribe to the same design language found on several other timepieces from the maison. However, coincidentally, the lugs also resemble the rear wings of the Bugatti Atalante and, as a result, exude the same abundance of beauty and grace. Parmigiani Fleurier has cleverly referenced the aesthetics of Bugatti cars, both vintage and modern, to stylish effect. The shape of each chronograph push-piece also echos the outline of the lugs, reinforcing the cohesion of the design.

Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance - timepiece with flyback and titanium case

However, this remains a modern timepiece, crafted in grade 5 titanium and cleverly honed into a distinctive shape using state-of-the-art laser technology. This cutting-edge know-how was used as existing machining technologies were incapable of delivering the high level of finish found on the Bugatti Aerolithe Performance.

The case-band is delightfully decorated with a series of indented squares which confer an amazing tactile feel few wearers will be able to resist touching.

Measuring 41mm in diameter, the Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance is optimally sized for a broad array of wearers. Furthermore, the shape of the lugs coax the strap to envelop the wrist, granting an incredibly comfortable union with the arm.

The movement

The Calibre PF335 is delightfully appointed and upholds the Swiss brand’s reputation for crafting movements par excellence. The oscillating mass is open-worked and features colimaçon, while the bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève motif. Furthermore, the bridges feature polished sinks and are exquisitely hand-chamfered.

Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance - timepiece with flyback and titanium case

Located below the balance wheel, the mainplate is decorated with petit perlage with each overlapping circle faultlessly presented. Each visible wheel is circular grained and the spring barrel cover gleams with a sunray motif.

This is not merely a chronograph but a flyback chronograph. This allows the wearer to press the pushpiece at 8 o’clock and in one step, stop, reset and restart the chronograph function. The benefit of a flyback chronograph becomes apparent when repeatedly timing consecutive elapsed intervals. The additional complexity of a flyback chronograph is understandably reflected in the asking price of the watch.

Closing remarks

The prowess of the Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance as a wristworn stopwatch soon becomes apparent with the briefest period of association. The functionality of the watch is also augmented with the inclusion of a flyback function. Indeed, this is a timepiece ideally suited to the measurement of performance.

However, like many Bugatti cars, the Bugatti Aerolithe Performance is capable of garnering appreciative glances when in near static conditions. This is a beautiful watch and the smatterings of blue and red detail enliven the horological vista to comely effect.

The grade 5 titanium case is comfortable to wear, courtesy of its low mass, hypoallergenic properties, neutral sizing and nuzzling union with the arm.

Exalted craftsmanship is evident to those who look at the Calibre PF335 with a loupe in hand. It is clear to see the uncompromising creation of this sublime movement. Indeed,Parmigiani Fleurier excels in the finishing of its movements.

Ultimately, the Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance shares much in common with the Bugatti Chiron. The performance symbolism is omnipresent. This is a timepiece imbued with capability and skill, the culmination of a finely honed movement and towering craftsmanship.

Further information

Technical specification

  • Model: Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Aerolithe Performance
  • Case: Grade 5 titanium; diameter 41mm; height 12.77mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back; water resistant to 3 ATM (30 metres)
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; flyback chronograph; small seconds; date
  • Movement: Calibre PF335; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 68 jewels; power reserve 50 hours
  • Strap: Black calf strap supplied on a grade 5 titanium folding buckle
  • Price: £18,300 inc VAT (RRP as at 20.11.2017)

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