I know you’ve all heard about the famous car-inspired watches with moving miniature pistons. They cost millions of dollars and have the most flamboyant cases ever. But have you ever seen somebody actually wear one, put it on, and show you how it works? Today, we’re going to check out a Bugatti watch made by Jacob & Co, thanks to the most famous collector of these French hypercars.
We’re talking about Manny Khoshbin, a YouTuber so rich that you wonder why he’s cool enough to even film stuff and post it online. The president and CEO of Khoshbin Company, based in Orange County, California, he immigrated to the United States in the 1980s, when he was 14 years old. In 1992, he got a real estate license and built an empire over the following three decades.
His famed 16-cylinder hypercar sports a distinctive and rather classy shade of Craie paint. When Manny decided to start a watch collection, this seemed like a natural choice of color for the timepiece. Jacob & Co are probably going back and forth with this project right now, but in the meantime, they trusted Manny enough to send him a $1.5 million Bugatti watch to test out.
Can you imagine somebody trusting you enough with that much money? That’s something you’d only see in a movie. It costs as much as half a Chiron… and it goes on your wrist. What if you trip and scratch it?
The Bugatti Chiron watch already has several versions, but general design and movement seem to be shared between all of them. At its core is an “engine block” with the 16 moving pistons, replicating the 1500 horsepower W16 motor powering the actual car.
It also comes with two “turbochargers”, which obviously don’t help the cylinders produce more power. But they spin while the engine runs and allow you to tell people “my watch has turbochargers.” Hopefully, they don’t know that the Chiron has four instead of two.
The movement (time-keeping mechanism) is completely suspended in four places, with what looks like actual automobile shocks from the Chiron. It’s basically damped, which protects it from shock.
Manny also shows us how you operate this $1.5M timepiece. There are “crowns” at the bottom of the blue sapphire case, each embossed with the Bugatti logo. The one on the left sets the time, the one in the middle winds the movements, which has 60 hours of power reserves (yeah, it’s not battery-operated). And the right-hand dial starts the animation when you press it.
About the sapphire case
There are precious metals in this thing, of course. 51 jewels spread throughout the movement. However, the most impressive is the actual watch body, the Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire Crystal Case.
Will it break? Probably not. It measures 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness while an actual diamond is rated a 10. So they had to use diamond-cutting tools to machine this out, which is both expensive and time investment.
As you probably guessed already, naturally-occurring sapphires don’t come in that shape. It actually began life as a colorless powder and gets this stunning blue shade via a mix of 17 metallic elements. Then they subject it to extreme temperatures and create a large single Sapphire “the size and shape of a coffee can.”
It’s then cut into discs and machined into the right shape. It takes a skilled craftsman 120 hours to polish a case by hand. It’s probably a nerve-racking experience. One wrong move and it’s worthless.