Some watches are beautiful to look at, some exhibit a level of technical sophistication that would probably leave a nuclear physicist flabbergasted and there are some, like the Astronomia Tourbillon from Jacob & Co., that words simply cannot define.
Jacob Arabo, known to many as ‘Jacob the Jeweller’ is the visionary behind the eponymous brand Jacob & Co., famous not just for creating jewellery that is simply breathtaking, but also for timepieces that are truly out of this world.
A pillar of the Jacob & Co. brand is the Astronomia collection of watches; born from a desire to create a 3-dimensional watch with a 360˚ view of the movement, and intrinsically linked to space, just like the name suggests.
This revolutionary timepiece with a Gravitational Triple Axis Tourbillon that started it all, was launched in 2013 at Baselworld, placing the brand and its founder in a rarified space of its own. The complex movement, developed and manufactured in collaboration with renowned watchmaker Luca Soprana of Studio 7h38 ensures that the watch is as technically advanced and precise as it is beautiful to look at.
Unsurprisingly, the Astronomia Tourbillon is not a small watch, measuring 50mm in diameter and rising to a height of 25mm, but every part of its imposing size contributes to the outstanding effect of the piece. At the heart of the exquisite timepiece sits a 4-armed carrier, which is so perfectly weighted and balanced for accuracy, that it would give any Olympic gymnast a run for their money.
The 4 arms of the carrier hold the triple-axis tourbillon across from the hours and minutes display and a magnesium ‘Earth’ opposite a 288-faceted ‘Jacob-cut’ diamond moon, with each element performing a delicate dance across the open-worked, face of the Astronomia Tourbillon.
In order to maintain the perfect balance and functioning of the Astronomia Tourbillon, each of the 4 ‘satellites’ must have the exact same weight as the one that sits on the opposite arm of the carrier.
The Triple-Axis Tourbillon appears virtually weightless and ‘floats’ in the star-studded universe of the watch. The movement rotates on its horizontal axis once every 60-seconds and on its vertical axis once in 5 minutes. The tourbillon cage also orbits the dial of the watch once every 20-minutes and sits across from the hours and minutes sub-dial. The sub-dial features a special system of gears that causes the display to rotate on its own axis as it orbits the dial-face so the time-display is always in the upright position.
Similarly, the Grand Feu crafted life-like Earth on the third arm of the carrier weighs exactly 1 carat, the same as the diamond moon that sits on the opposite arm. The Earth revolves on its own axis once in 60-seconds and travels around the dial-face of the Astronomia Tourbillon every 20-minutes.
The moon, which sits across from the Earth is a meticulously cut 1-carat diamond. The precious stone has 288 facets, normally unheard of in diamonds, which typically have approximately 57 facets. The cutting technique has been patented by Jacob & Co.; called the ‘Jacob-cut’. In order to achieve a perfect round, 288-faceted Jacob-cut 1-carat diamond, a single 4-carat stone is cut. The facets of the diamond reflect incoming rays of light in every direction, creating a stunning effect on the night-sky of the watch’s dial.
The case is crafted from 18K rose gold and the watch sits on a hand-stitched black-alligator leather strap fastened by a rose gold buckle. The watch is encased in a domed-sapphire crystal, with ‘window’ panels of sapphire crystal around the sides, providing a multi-dimensional view of the celestial panorama from all sides.
A completely diamond-set version of the Astronomia Tourbillon – the Astronomia Tourbillon Baguette has a dial set with 342 baguette-cut diamonds with a total of 16 carats.
The Astronomia Tourbillon was launched as a numbered limited-edition of just 18 pieces and is water-resistant up to 30m.