Surprise or not, the Astronomia watch collection was a huge success for Jacob & Co., as watchmakers, their main goal was to wow luxury consumers who thought they had seen it all. There are currently six editions of the “spacey” Astronomia watch on the Jacob & Co. website, some of which are “not listed”, and some new editions will be launched at Baselworld 2017. Now, when I want to go back to Baselworld 2016, I started playing with these two Astronomia watches, the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Black and the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Clarity Baguette. Practical as I am, I have to admit that playing with watches over $500,000 rarely goes out of style, especially when Mr. Jacob Arabo has anything to do with them. I love these new Jacob & Co..
At Baselworld 2016, Jacob & Co. Astronomia watches launched no less than three new products. We got our last hands-on with the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky, which launched with a smaller case and more complications. The “most affordable” of the new Astronomia watches at the time was actually the Astronomia Black, which offered a darker, space-like look in a black DLC-coated 18 ct white gold case.
What the jeweler, Mr. Jacob, implicitly understands, is the art of performance in the display of luxury watches. He knew that if you wanted something conservative, you’d get a Patek Philippe or A. Lange & Sohne. He’s not trying (at all) to compete with such a brand. He is tailoring products for those who wish to enjoy their love of ambitious mechanical creations in an open and fresh way. That’s why Jacob & Co. manufactures watches and jewelry for clients who prefer bolder visuals to elevate their taste, status and aesthetic confidence. It would be wrong to judge whether this is good or bad because it is just a matter of taste.
As someone who can’t afford such a luxury toy, I don’t know what I’m going to do as a consumer. However, as a watch critic, I appreciate the novel concepts and technical execution in the Jacob & Co. Astronomia watch collection. Few modern watches, well-crafted and conceived, are as bold and elegant as the astronomical tourbillon.
The concept of the movement itself isn’t really an astronomical complication – it means that despite ostensibly showing celestial bodies, the mechanism’s design isn’t meant to actually track the actual movement of the various planetary bodies and their relationship to one another. There are other watches (like this Geo.Graham Orrery Tourbillon Astronomical Watch), for those who own it – if the planetarium complication needs to be adjusted, if the movement isn’t damaged for a few days.
The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Black and Astronomia Clarity (both covered in this article) have similar but slightly different movements, but they act exactly the same. The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Black is equipped with the JCAM10 movement, while the Clarity is equipped with the JCAM12 movement. Made of 365 components, these hand-wound movements operate at a frequency of 3 Hz and have a power reserve of 60 hours. The movement is adjusted and wound via a folding crown at the rear of the case.
Most of the movement is made of titanium and treated with a range of finishes. The movement is divided into four arms, which are set on a pivot point and move continuously around the dial, making a full revolution every 20 minutes. On the arm there is an hour and minute dial (it stays upright at all times so you can easily read the time), opposite it is an adjustment system based on a multi-axis tourbillon, and then a small but beautiful representation of the earth (rotating every 24 hours) once) as opposed to a 288-faceted “Jacob-cut” spherical diamond that rotates fully once per minute. I like to refer to the latter element as the “Jacob & Co. Disco Ball”.
The whole movement is about the brilliance of vision and the movement of animation. The interesting thing about Jacob & Co. Astronomia watches is that they are just as fun and enticing for toddlers as they are an experienced watchmaker. This is a pleasing timepiece and movement. If you’re the owner of it, pray you don’t drop it on the floor.
One of Jacob Arabo’s dreams was to make an Astronomia version with a full sapphire crystal case. Currently, most of the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon’s 50mm wide case is sapphire crystal, with the rest being various gold alloys. In 2017, Jacob & Co. successfully produced a full sapphire crystal version of the Astronomia full sapphire crystal. I’ve seen it, but haven’t taken a picture yet. Even with the gold skeletonized case, the structure features a series of sapphire crystal windows in addition to the large domed top. Jacob & Co. Astronomia Clarity has added a sapphire crystal for the caseback, the second clearest astronomical model around.
This special edition of the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Clarity is the Clarity Baguette, which features 80 baguette-cut diamonds in the lugs. This is a nice addition to a stone of about 6.1 carats.
It’s perfectly logical to imagine that these 25.45mm thick watches would be uncomfortable to wear. It’s unavoidable that the 50mm-wide shells are only half as thick, but it would be inaccurate to call them uncomfortable. Despite their avant-garde qualities, I find that most of even the strangest Jacob & Co. watches are designed to be very comfortable on the wrist, wrap ergonomically around the wrist, and provide a perfect fit with the strap firm fit. Thanks to a healthy AR coating on both sides of the sapphire crystal, a very clear and non-glaring view can be seen inside the bubble case. If Mr. Arabo made up his mind, this would be one hell of a dive watch… Currently, the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon is water-resistant to just 30 meters.
When the occasion calls for extravagance and you don’t hesitate to show it off, something like the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon is really suitable. Essentially, this represents places and events where the super-rich gather — unafraid to show off their toys or be criticized for their extravagant decadence. At least, if you find yourself in such a situation and happen to be someone who appreciates the art of ebullient mechanical wrists, the Jacob & Co. Astronomia is a very pleasant choice. Fake watches
This means that when a part of an hour is indicated, the bell rings for 10-minute segments instead of 15-minute segments. This should help the moment repeater to be easier to read. At least, that’s the way of thinking. The hand-finished mechanical movement contrasts with a very modern instance and dial layout that clearly feels “inspired by the racing world”. The reddish flange ring and modern font for the hour numerals aren’t things you’d expect to find on a fancy watch. Having said that, I think there are enough complication watches that follow very classic design philosophies, so it would be nice to see more watches using such complication movements that are more visually modern.
As far as I am concerned, the Twin Turbo Twin Triple Axis Tourbillon Minute Repeater helps to complete the current market. The case of Jacob & Co. It’s made from grade 5 titanium and carbon fiber, and it appears to have textured sections of vulcanized rubber on the sides of this case. The crown, which is used to wind the movement or set the time, folds up like a crank. Unfold it to end the movement, then pull it out a notch to place the time according to any other movement. The case is water resistant to 30 meters, which is no surprise. Too much case material and the chimes of the minute repeater can become too dull. Jacob & Co. tends to produce various versions of its novelty timepieces in a series of limited-edition collections. Black and red accented titanium version of this luxury Jacob & Co.