Timepieces

What glitters is gold (and diamonds): New Jacob & Co. x Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon watches

The new timepieces merge the aesthetics of a Bugatti car with the brash design of Jacob & Co.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

He's known as "Jacob the Jeweler" or, if you prefer, "The King of Bling". Jacob Arabo, and his business, Jacob & Co. have been name dropped in rap songs and you've undoubtedly seen his work on some of the most famous people in the world, even if you didn't recognize it as such.

One of Jacob & Co.'s newest bling creations is in partnership with super luxury automaker Bugatti. The Jacob & Co. x Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon brings together the feeling evoked by the raw power of the Chiron super sports car and the artistry of its design into a timepiece. Four new editions of the timepiece, which was first unveiled in April 2020, have been revealed.

Jacob & Co. x Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon

Jacob & Co. x Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

The new Chiron Tourbillon watch editions are comprised of 578 components that give the watch the appearance of an engine block. An on-demand engine animation is placed under a huge sapphire crystal. Powering the timepiece is a flying tourbillon movement, inclined at 30 degrees.

Each new timepiece has been created to suit its automotive counterpart. The first model is made of a solid block of sapphire crystal with a sapphire crystal caseback, using sapphire crystal for the crowns and pushers, and secured on the wrist by a rubber strap with a titanium buckle clasp.

Just 72 of the second choice are available. It features an 18-karat rose gold case, with a special anti-reflective sapphire crystal, an 18-karat rose gold open caseback, and black DLC titanium crowns and pushers embossed with the Bugatti logo. This version includes a rubber strap with a black DLC titanium and 18-karat rose gold buckle clasp.

The third options, limited to 52 pieces, features a case made of 18-karat rose gold material, set with sparkling white diamonds, with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, plus an 18-karat rose gold open caseback and crowns and pushers made of 18-karat rose gold and set with baguette white diamonds – again embossed with the Bugatti logo – and secured by a rubber strap with an 18-karat rose gold buckle clasp decorated with white diamonds.

A final piece has a case made of 18-karat white gold set with 391 black and white diamonds (approximately 20 carats). The 18-karat white gold open caseback is matched by crowns and pushers set with baguette white diamonds, with the rubber strap and an18-karat white gold buckle clasp set with 18 white diamonds (approximately 1.76 carats).

The timepieces have been engineered to act in a similar fashion to an engine. Bugatti describes it:

The representation of the iconic Bugatti engine begins once the right-hand crown of the timepiece is pushed. Just like the engine in the hyper sports car would come to life, the 'crankshaft' in the watch – one of the smallest and most complicated watch parts ever manufactured, made out of solid steel – turns and the 'pistons' pump up and down, mounted at varying angles to add to the complexity. A pair of 'turbochargers' on the side of the engine block spin while the powertrain runs, adding to the overall spectacle.

The movement is held in place in four places by miniature Chiron-style shock absorbers. The movement is, in fact, floating inside the case and can be observed moving slightly up and down. This suspension detail created an additional challenge for the watch designers, who had to create and patent a unique automotive-inspired transverse system to ensure the crown posts aren't damaged by the movement in the case.

The crowns are found at the bottom of the case. The left crown sets the time, the middle crown winds the movement and animation for 60 hours of power reserve, while the push of the right-hand crown starts the animation. The power reserve for the animation and timekeeping are separate, yet both are wound through the winding crown – clockwise for the movement (60 hours), counterclockwise for the engine animation (approximately three activations). The power reserve for the movement even features the universal gas pump symbol on the side of the gauge.

Beyond the flying tourbillon with the Jacob & Co. logo, an 'EB' logo from Bugatti adorns the engine compartment. The window to the tourbillon is modeled after Bugatti's horseshoe grille.

Pricing for the watch has not been disclosed.

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The majority of new car buyers paid a markup in January 2022.

VW

It's no secret that new car prices are climbing every year, as new technology and features make their way into even the most basic models. The issue is compounded by massive supply chain issues that have caused vehicle shortages for nearly every major automaker. Some dealers are taking advantage of record low inventory levels by marking up prices, and unfortunately, the problem isn't limited to a handful of bad apples. In analyzing recent sale price data, automotive publication Edmunds found that buyers paid a markup in a whopping 82.2 percent of all new vehicle purchases in January 2022, compared to just 2.8 percent a year before. Overall, the average transaction price rose to $728 above MSRP for new car purchases.


Tesla factoryTesla is looking to expand production in the U.S. beyond the confines of its Fremont factory. Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

Cadillac buyers saw the largest markups, to the tune of $4,048 on average in January. Land Rover and Kia weren't much better, with average markups of $2,565 and $2,289, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, Alfa Romeo buyers got discounts that averaged $3,421, while people who bought Volvo or Lincoln vehicles got smaller discounts of $869 and $510, respectively.

Some automakers have taken a stand against dealer markups and the general lack of transparency seen in pricing across the board. Ford and General Motors have been vocal in recent months, threatening to withhold inventory from dealers found to be slapping markups on new vehicles. As Edmunds notes, both automakers have important vehicle launches on the horizon that neither can afford to flub, and inconsistent pricing or markups is a good way to alienate new customers out of the gate.


Cadillac EscaladeCadillac buyers paid the largest markups of any brand. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

If you're thinking of shopping for a new car, the best way to avoid paying a markup is to wait. The pandemic and ongoing supply chain issues have thrown kinks into every automaker's operations that will take time to iron out. That said, it's clear that some brands are committed to having no funny business when it comes to dealerships' pricing and communication. It's possible to get a vehicle at MSRP, or even below in some cases, so if you're in a position that requires you to buy a new car, shop around to get the best deal.

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Updated premium crossover

2022 Infiniti QX50 picks up new standard features

The new QX50 gets more tech and safety features.

Infiniti

Infiniti is one of a handful of automakers that have continued developing and building cars instead of focusing only on higher-profit and much more popular SUVs and trucks. That said, Infiniti's catalog is crossover- and SUV-heavy. Its smallest and least expensive crossover, the QX50 gets a handful of new features for 2022, and today Infiniti announced pricing.

Infiniti offers the 2022 QX50 in five trims: $40,025 Pure, $43,375 Luxe, $47,825 Essential, $52,525 Sensory, and $57,975 Autograph. All trims get Infiniti's variable compression (VC-Turbo) engine that makes 268 horsepower and returns up to 26 mpg combined. The advanced engine shifts its compression ratio to match the driver's behavior. When more power is needed, the compression changes, and when efficiency is the priority, it changes again. It's a marvel of engineering, but it's not as fuel-efficient as a hybrid. Power reaches the front or all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission.

2022 Infiniti QX50Pricing starts at around $40,000.Infiniti

Beyond the new standard features for 2022, buyers of the new QX50 will have to step up to the Luxe trim to get the most desirable features such as auto-folding exterior side mirrors, power lumbar support, and perforated leather upholstery. Standard comfort gear includes eight-way power front seats, dual-zone climate controls, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Infiniti stuck with its dual-screen infotainment configuration with the 2022 QX50. The top eight-inch screen handles wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto duties, as well as navigation. The bottom seven-inch screen handles vehicle controls, radio stations, and other settings. Though the system looks great and adds a high-tech feel to the cabin, two screens can be distracting and confusing while driving. The good news is that the QX50 gets an excellent 16-speaker Bose stereo starting with the Luxe trim.

2022 Infiniti QX50ProPilot Assist and Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are now standardInfiniti

The 2022 QX50 hasn't been crash tested by either major ratings organization yet, but the 2021 model performed well. It earned Good ratings in crash testes and a Superior score for its standard crash prevention systems. The 2022 QX50 comes standard with Infiniti's ProPilot Assist system, which brings advanced adaptive cruise control functions that can center the car in its lane, brake, and accelerate. Other standard tech includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, rear automatic braking, predictive forward collision warnings, and forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.


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