Astronomy: Reshaping Time
When Jacob & Co. introduced poetic interpretations of the Moon and Earth in 3D astronomy in 2014, the brand could not have foreseen the impact the watch would have on the collectors world*
The Astronomia watch from Jacob & Co. debuted in 2014 and has wowed the world, both aesthetically and technically. In retrospect today, the first 3D, constantly moving complication watch seems a bit simple in relative terms, as astronomers have gone through an incredible series of evolutions since then. But rest assured, it’s actually far from simple.
At launch, the Astronomia features a massive domed sapphire crystal case with sapphire sides and a captivating panoramic rendition of time, the Earth and the moon. To be clear, it is not an astronomical watch in terms of displaying accurate sky maps and astronomy. Instead, it’s a three-dimensional piece of art and technology that makes you stop and take a second or even third look. Equipped with an extremely complex tourbillon-type adjustment mechanism with a four-arm stand, this watch has been in the research and design phase for several years. To create the hand-wound JCAM10 movement, Jacob & Co. perfect teamed up with Studio 7H38.
Basically, the four arms rotate around the dial every 10 minutes. One arm holds the one-minute three-axis tourbillon, which rotates on its own axis every 60 seconds, in addition to circling the dial for 20 minutes. It also rotates around the arm that carries it every five minutes. Opposite this arm is the arm with the dial (with hour and minute indication). The dial also turns to ensure that the 12 o’clock marker is always on top as the arm moves around the dial (thanks to a patented gear system). The other two arms – one for the aforementioned Moon and Earth – rotate around their axes every 60 seconds as they move around the dial. This watch is so striking and so intricately crafted, it’s impressive.
This is a watch that couldn’t be made decades ago. This case alone requires special machining techniques that were simply not available until modern micromachining techniques were used. Furthermore, the watchmaking techniques inherent in this piece – with lightweight materials and such precise CNC milling – did not exist before. To this day, most of the original technology and aesthetics carry over into the new version, but there are also many offshoots.
One of the latest releases is the Popular Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Five-Minute Watch, launched in 2020 and limited to nine pieces. The watch is powered by an advanced hand-wound movement, the JCAM40 movement, which consists of 339 parts and offers hour and minute dials that use a patented gear system to keep the 12 o’clock vertical at all times. The first axis rotates every 60 seconds and the second every 1 minute 15 seconds, but the tourbillon makes a full revolution around the central axis every 5 minutes, making the stroke a little faster and thus more catching the eye and mind. In addition, representing The moon’s spherical Jacob Cut Diamond has evolved and now has 288 facets that rotate every 15 seconds.
As if all that wasn’t enough, Jacob & Co. (in typical Jacob & Co. style) adorned the Astronomia Tourbillon Five Minutes with over 17 carats of invisible-set baguette-cut diamonds. The entire background of the movement is meticulously set with 257 baguette-cut diamonds, and another 120 baguette-cut diamonds adorn the front and lugs of the 18K rose gold case. All in all, this online watch is a sparkling poetic interpretation of watchmaking, artistic sophistication and celestial beauty.