Jacob Arabo and Luca Soprana at the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon, sparkling little universes on their wrists Jacob Arabo, founder of Jacob & Co., is known for his jewelry and diamond-encrusted fine jewelry watches.
Jacob Arabo, founder of Jacob & Co., is known for his jewelry and diamond-encrusted fine jewelry watches. He is also known for being the first to mine the intersection between high luxury and pop culture, and while celebrity has been an adjunct to luxury marketing for as long as there have been celebrities, it was Jacob who really made luxury watches desirable. Cloth has featured pop music celebrities and their fans -- as well as movie stars, supermodels and other major media personalities. However, in the past 10 years, he has also entered the watch industry in a more technical way, making mechanical timepieces with unusual complications that are really different from what everyone else has made.
Jacob & Co.'s first major mechanical complication was the Quenttin Tourbillon, which set a record for the longest power reserve in a watch at the time: 31 days. Subsequent complications included the SF24, a 24-time zone watch with a split-flap display for the second time zone, based on the information boards that were once ubiquitous in train stations and airports. However, his most notable release over the past few years has been the Astronomia Tourbillon.
The Astronomia Tourbillon debuted at Baselworld in 2013, and it was, to put it mildly, a sensation. The watch is huge: 50mm in diameter with a domed sapphire crystal 25mm high. Under the sky-like dome is a four-armed vehicle. One arm ends with a three-axis tourbillon, and opposite the tourbillon is the movement (which moves the hour and minute hands) and a skeletonized dial. The other two arms feature an enamelled globe representing the Earth and a 288-faceted 1-carat diamond representing the Moon. The idea is not to make an astronomically accurate representation of the orbits of the Earth or the Moon, but to create a visual display that evokes the same sense of wonder as looking up at the night sky. The background of the whole show is aventurine.
There's clearly a lot going on visually (to put it mildly), and there's no doubt that this watch was technically challenging to make. Development was carried out at Studio 7h38, the watch design studio in Neuchâtel, under the supervision of founder Luca Soprana. The two biggest issues are strength and balance. Tourbillons always have problems delivering enough energy to get a good balance amplitude, so good timekeeping as the mainspring has to move, not only the balance, but the entire tourbillon cage as well as the escape wheel, lever, Balance wheel, hairspring and hairspring each time the escapement is unlocked. In the case of the Astronomia Tourbillon, the problem is compounded by the extra mass of the quad-arm bracket and all the other decorative and functional components mounted on it.
The second challenge - balance - is more properly called balance. In order to maintain good timekeeping, it is important that the balance wheel of a normal watch has no point; it should be perfectly balanced. Likewise, the tourbillon cage also needs to be balanced. In the Astronomia Tourbillon, it is not only necessary to balance the balance wheel and tourbillon cage, but also to ensure that each element on the four arms of the carrier balances each other.
Because the watch isn't meant to be astronomically accurate, the rotation times for each element can be set fast enough to keep the whole thing visually compelling (Arabo says he wants the watch to look different every time the wearer looks at it. The same). The earth and the moon rotate around their axis once a minute, and the tourbillon rotates every 60 seconds, 5 minutes, and 20 minutes from the innermost axis to the outermost axis (the outermost axis of the tourbillon is of course the carrier itself, and it takes 20 minutes). The time display is mounted on a differential gear system so that 12 o'clock on the chime dial is always oriented towards 12 o'clock on the entire watch (i.e. always 'face up').
Now, you get a watch like this for a shoot, and naturally, you try it on. Oddly enough, it's a watch that's fairly comfortable to wear. In fact, despite the size, a lot of the watch is empty, so it's much lighter on the wrist than you'd expect from the numbers, although the Astronomia Tourbillon won't kick anyone's no-date Sub as an everyday wearer A watch that you can actually wear at the start of a big night and still feel comfortable in it 12 hours later (or longer, depending on how fun your big night ends up being). To my surprise, it's also water resistant to 30 meters, which I guess means you can shower in it if you really want to (not that you should, but you can).
Personally, I have to say that while the Astronomia Tourbillon is in almost every way the exact opposite of all the appeal I usually find in a watch, it's completely over the top and shows off it so strongly Strength I finally found the whole thing irresistible belief.
For example, between 2000 and around 2010—the launch of the Ulysse Nardin Freak on the one hand, and the financial crisis on the other—the luxury watch industry expanded at supernova speed with huge amounts of money invested in R&D, coupled with watch Product development cycles that seemed to be fueled by methamphetamine produced almost unheard of wealth in innovative watchmaking. Now, a lot of it was pure novelty, and a lot of it proved to be very forgettable, and in some cases, the consequences were ugly. And, of course, the fact that nobody really regrets is the fact that the industry seems to be stuck in a bind where making sturdy, reliable, more or less classic-style watch designs that the average person might actually be able to afford is becoming the new normal. But there is a part of the population that misses the clean (and not-so-clean) fun of going to Baselworld and seeing one odd thing after another. That's why I'm glad Jacob & Co. is still out there, fighting to make watches that are actually there, and not afraid to follow wild ideas to beautiful conclusions.
Astronomia Tourbillon. Astronomia Tourbillon measures 50mm x 25mm and is water resistant to 30m; Triple-Axis Tourbillon; Four-Armed Stand with Magnesium Globe representing Earth, a 1-carat diamond with 288 facets (patented Jacob&Co. cut), time display and tourbillon. Rewind and Rear. Sapphire case panel; aventurine panel set below the carrier.