Every Bugatti badge is just a little bit different
Not only is the Bugatti Macaron more unique than you'd think, but it's the one component in a Bugatti where reducing weight isn't even contemplated.
While many car manufacturers will change up their logos over the years – Nissan, Volkswagen, and both BMW and Mini are all recent examples of manufacturers going from 3D to 2D designs to embrace the digital era, for instance – the Bugatti Macaron, as it's known, is one design that has been almost completely unchanged since founder Ettore Bugatti stuck an enamelled metal badge bearing it on the front of the Type 13, the first official car the brand produced.
Ettore's intentionally flat but high-quality design for it was very specific – the shape was formed by cutting a cylinder with a 45mm diameter at an angle of 30 degrees, the Bugatti name was in a legible white against the red background while Ettore's initials were in black above it, and it was surrounded by 60 red dots on a white background around the edge to resemble pearls in the "Art Noveau" fashion.
Even the colour choices themselves are deliberate, with the red representing power and passion, the white for elegance and nobility, and the black displaying excellence and courage.
But while this history of the Macaron you might have already known, this next bit is something you mightn't. Remember how I said the Bugatti emblem, unlike many others, has gone practically unchanged for over 110 years? In reality, it actually turns out that every single Bugatti badge atop the horseshoe grille on all of the company's models is just a little bit different from the next one.
That's because each of these badges – unlike those on most cars – aren't simply stamped out by the millions in factories across the globe, but are instead uniquely made by hand by Poellath, the only company worldwide that is capable of producing this badge with the 3D effect from enamel, in Schrobenhausen, Bavaria.
Noted by Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti, as being "one of the very few components on our vehicles where weight does not play a role," the badge weighs in at 159 grams in total and requires a combined 10 hours of work between 20 workers in different departments at Poellath to produce.
Starting with 970 sterling silver as the base metal that is embossed several times for sharper contours than casting would achieve and that has the lettering raised by 2.1mm at the level of the border, each Macaron then goes through the enamelling process.
Using a procedure that is free of toxic materials – half of the enamel typically used before consisted of lead – the inorganic compounds used now will permanently fuse with the silver when melted which makes the process more demanding and challenging. However, the enamel does cause the convex curvature of the badge to occur on its own.
Finally, it's then polished by hand as no machine would be capable of working with the Macaron's unique curvatures. The fine, unavoidable pores still found in the enamel at the end of the process are noted as not being a defect, but instead a sign of the uniqueness of the manufacturing process which helps make each individual badge a true one-off.
Having been employed to produce the iconic Bugatti Macaron since Volkswagen took ownership of the marque and put the Veyron into production in 2003, Poellath is also responsible for producing smaller versions of the badge found on the back of each Bugatti key fob as well.
The attention to detail put into the production of this badge is clearly indicative of just how much thought is put into a car as expensive and over-engineered as a Bugatti, and it's this level of attention to detail that the company clearly prides itself on.
"The importance that the Bugatti Macaron still has for our brand today is shown by its unrivalled quality, the loving attention to detail, and also the weight," says company president Winkelmann.
"The deep-red and unmistakable oval on the vehicle has transported the famous name Bugatti out into the world ever since the company began, and embodies the symbolic power of our brand myth."