The newest Bentley is a beast (no surprises there). The Bentayga is an SUV, but it’s an SUV in the same way the battleship USS Missouri is a boat. It’s what you get when Bentley does the SUV, in other words; which is to say it is lavish with a capital L in every aspect from its sheer size and weight, to its almost absurd power (the darned thing has a twin turbo W12 engine and will do 187 mph, according to Bentley, so if you’ve been lying awake at night wishing your heart out for a chance to go faster than an F-18 at takeoff in an SUV, you can stop wishing).
Naturally, you don’t build a machine that can probably follow a main battle tank through Nature’s roughest terrain, and do 187 mph, and that has a champagne fridge in the boot (for real) without taking considerable pains with every other aspect of the vehicle, and in order that you may better tell the time whilst flattening careless wildlife with scarcely a detectable rattle in the opulently turned out cabin, Breitling has partnered with Bentley’s in-house custom coach workshop, Mulliner, to make what is, all kidding aside, a pretty darned unusual dash clock.
The Mulliner Tourbillon is a self-winding (yes, yes, we know, we’ll get to that in a minute) tourbillon clock; it’s going to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The heart of the clock is a one-minute flying tourbillon in a titanium cage, beating at 28,800 vph. There’s a fifty hour power reserve, and it runs off twin mainspring barrels, running in series; there’s a free-sprung, variable inertia balance with gold timing weights and the movement’s had the full high end finishing treatment.
The trick, however is of course getting the clock wound because unless you plan on rolling the car over a few times every time you need to top off the power reserve, you are going to want some way of changing the clock’s position relative to the force of gravity. The clock is actually in a mount that allows it to be rotated by an electric motor, and the winder mechanism has three modes in addition to normal winding. In demo mode, a single button press rotates the movement three revolutions, at a speed of 15 rpm. Time adjust mode is entered by a three second press, and this rotates the clock through 45 degrees to expose the crown, which lets you set the time. Finally, if a jolt should knock the clock out of position it will automatically return to the neutral position within 3 seconds. The oscillating weight winds in one direction, and the clock makes exactly 1,080 counterclockwise rotation at 15 rpm (every 15 minutes).
We suppose you could, if you felt so inclined, say that the tourbillon helps ensure that the clock’s rate is not disturbed as it turns but let’s face it, ultimately this is not a clock that’s about an appeal to purely rational engineering. It comes in a solid 18k gold case (white or yellow gold are offered as options, although if you wanted I suspect the folks at Mulliner would be happy to do it for you in, say, green gold or platinum) and the dial is available in either white or ebony-black mother-of-pearl; naturally, the indices are diamond. There is a cut-out in the rotor to allow light to pass through the tourbillon cage and the whole thing is back-lit so you don’t have to miss the show when driving at night, or passing through a tunnel or something. And get this: the illuminated halo on the demo button, as well as the spotlight shining on the reflecting bowl in which the clock sits, are integrated into the car’s mood lighting and brightness control features, so you always have the exact right amount of illumination.
The Bentley Bentayga will be released by Bentley in 2016; visit Bentley for more details.