Automaker badges are important brand symbols, but the physical emblems installed on cars are often ordinary plastic. That's not the case with Bugatti.
The "Macaron" badge that graces the prow of every Bugatti Chiron is made from 150 grams of sterling silver, and takes 10 hours to make, the automaker explained in a press release earlier this month.
Bugatti's red oval badge debuted in 1909 on the automaker's first production model—the Type 13. Founder Ettore Bugatti came up with the design himself, according to the company, basing it on the logo of previous employer Deutz. He preferred the flat emblem (originally rendered in plain metal, not silver) to the hood ornaments that were popular at the time, feeling they spoiled the design of cars.
Bugatti chose red to symbolize power and passion, and white for elegance and nobility, according to the company. The design also includes 60 red dots on a white outline, thought to symbolize pearls as part of the then-fashionable "Art Nouveau" style.
Bugatti Chiron 110 Ans Bugatti special edition
Over a century later, the design is essentially unchanged, but the method of making this Macaron is a lot more elaborate.
Since 2003, Bugatti has sourced its badges from a company in Bavaria, which handcrafts them using tools made in-house. When Bugatti switched from the Veyron to the Chiron, it specified a larger size and a 3D effect, with the lettering and dots raised above the background. Most badges still get a red background, but special editions like the Chiron Noire and Chiron Super Sport 300+ get black badges.
Coloration is achieved with enamel. This material normally contains large amounts of lead, but Bugatti said it specified a non-toxic version, using alternative materials. The enamel is heated at high temperatures, which causes it to fuse with the silver in the badge.
The latest model to wear the Bugatti Macaron badge is the Chiron Pur Sport, a more handling-focused version of Bugatti's superlative supercar. Recently, the automaker also teased a mystery model, publishing a teaser photo showing X-shaped taillights, then offering another image of a very racy car in camouflage paint on a racetrack. Look for that model, which is likely a track-focused Chiron, to be revealed on Wednesday.