I know there’s a lot of overlap between car people and watch people. I get why; watches are full of the complicated mechanical cams and meshing gears and all sorts of metal bits doing things to other metal bits that get us all so weirdly aroused. I do get it. So, you’d think that a watch with a little model W16 engine in it would be just fantastic, and, while it is very impressive technically, once I learned the price of this watch—$280,000 motherfucking dollars—I can’t help but see it as idiocy. Especially when you could buy a real 16-cylinder engine—with a car wrapped around it—for less.
The watch is the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron Tourbillion and, sure, it’s a mechanical marvel made from 578 parts, at least 16 of which are actual little tiny pistons connected to a crankshaft and set into an “engine” block made of sapphire.
The little model W16 engine can run for all of 30 seconds from the energy your fingers wind into its spring, activated by a little pushbutton on the rightmost of the three stems at the bottom of this big dumb thing.
Here’s an animation of the little engine in action, posted to Jacob & Co’s Instagram:
It’s not like I have anything against useless machines—I actively love useless machines, even Swiss useless machines. But the thing is, this is not really a useless machine, this watch. It’s not a machine designed to tell time, either, at least not primarily.
This is a showy machine you can wear on your wrist that produces the knowledge that you somehow spent $280,000 on a fucking watch.
The output of this machine is just that: you spent house-buying money on a watch, and it’s sure as hell hard not to see that as a deeply, almost immorally stupid act. Sure, it’s your money, you can do what you want with it, but, conversely, come the fuck on.
Look, if you really, really love W16 engines and knowing what time it is, you can save well over $250,000 by just buying, oh, any other watch in the world that’s less than the price of a Nissan Versa and also this stupidly overpriced $9,300 Bugatti W16 engine model.
If you did that, you could buy 20 Apple watches or whatever and that super-accurate model of the engine, so you could set an alarm so you’ll never forget to watch your W16 engine model run and have a wank to it.
Or, even better, you can get a real 16-cylinder engine, with a whole entire car to carry it around, for $70,000 less than that stupid watch: this all-original 1931 Cadillac V16 with less than 10,000 miles on it could be yours for $209,500.
That’s a whole very well-equipped Tesla Model Y cheaper than the Bugatti watch, and it’s way the hell faster and runs for a lot longer than 30 seconds and has the very crucial advantage of not making you look like a colossal dipshit when you’re anywhere near it.
I think the best you can really honestly hope for with that Bugatti watch is to show it to someone and they respond, hey, look at that, that’s pretty cool, a response I can all but guarantee you can get out of a watch and save $279,860 by showing someone this mint 1980s Nelsonic watch that plays Q*Bert.
Actually, I bet most people would find the Q*Bert watch a bit cooler, or at least more fun.