Jacob Arabo’s namesake brand is forging a clear path to horological legitimacy. men watches brands
I’ve been racking my brains trying to put into words the influence of Jacob & Co. on the world of haute horology. Because there really is no one like Jacob Arabo in this industry. Arabo came to New York from Russia when he was 14. He started helping support his family at the age of 16 as an apprentice jeweler. While making jewelry for other brands, he sold his creations as a side business before hanging out his own tiles in York 1986 in New York.
His designs soon caught the attention of singer Faith Evans, who turned her husband, Notorious BIG, to Arabo’s work. Soon, he became the immortal “Jacobs the Jeweler” in hip-hop lyrics. But it’s not just celebrities that Jacob & Co. attracts – collectors are also taking notice of his luxury timepieces, as Arabo focuses on highly complex timepieces that are iconoclastic in precious materials such as rare gems design.
A self-made man, Arabo treats watchmaking in the same way that he chooses the best gemstones: technical sophistication, with a certain respect for decadence. Some might say that’s overkill, but at the same time, there’s something dizzying about Jacob & Co.’s work. The following five timepieces perfectly illustrate this iconoclastic watchmaking industry.
Jacob & Co 3-D Astronomical Minute Repeater
Truly an otherworldly watch. 3-D astronomy was first introduced at Baselworld in 2014, and it gets more exciting and sophisticated every year. This year, Jacob & Co. launched the Minute Repeater version just to up the ante on this ultra-rare watch.
It features a carillon repeater with three gongs and hammers (instead of the usual two). The gongs are stacked vertically so you can better see their action through the side of the sapphire case. The chime chimes with the familiar Doh Re Mi tones to mark hours, minutes and 15-minute intervals. An innovative safety feature protects the mechanism by preventing the wearer from winding the watch while the watch is beeping. Four arms radiating from the center support a three-axis tourbillon.
On the icy side, the 3-D Astronomia is set with a 15.44-carat sapphire in two shades of blue, with baguette diamonds on the baseplate and case. The display also shows a 1-carat spherical diamond and a lacquered dial spinning globe. The coolest part? Flying astronauts revolving around the axis of the 3D Earth!
Jacob & Co. Twin Turbo Furious: Twin Turbo Furious Bugatti Edition
In an equally disruptive business move with Jacob & Co.’s luxury timepieces, the manufacturer announced in March a long-term partnership with automaker Bugatti on a range of exclusive co-branded products. According to the press release, the partnership hopes to push “the limits of what is mechanically possible.”
The news marks the end of Bugatti’s long-standing relationship with Parmigiani Fleurier, who also produced some great timepieces. But with Twin Turbo Furious: Twin Turbo Furious Bugatti Edition, Jacob & Co. is once again looking to up the ante on technology. The watch is driven by two three-axis tourbillons (to ensure precise timekeeping). Other extras under the hood include a column-wheel chronograph and a decimal minute repeater that sounds at 10-minute intervals.
The appearance is also a bit flashy. Its turquoise blue bezel is a tribute to Bugatti’s 110th anniversary blue Chiron. It also features the Bugatti logo in the center of the dial between the chronograph counters. The power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock is called the “fuel” indicator.
Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chronograph Limited Edition 100 Years
The second piece from the Jacob & Co./Bugatti collaboration, the Chrono Edition Limitée 100 Years, is less exclusive. In homage to Ettore Bugatti’s 100th anniversary in 1909, only 110 will be produced.
Also inspired by Jacob & Co.’s original Epic X Chrono, this watch features a column-wheel movement. This version is made of forged carbon, with a matte black dial and the colors of the French flag running vertically between the subdials. It comes with a rubber strap that also pays homage to the Chiron. Because it’s not diamond-encrusted, its price (for the brand) is a respectable CHF 36,000, and it could even be considered an entry-level Jacob & Co.
Jacob & Co. and Messi: Epic X Chrono Messi
2019 was a big year for Jacob & Co. In January, the brand signed a deal with football legend Lionel Messi – nine-time champion of the Spanish Football League, four-time Champions League winner, five-time – best player in the world Ballon d’Or winner, five-time winner of the Golden Boot for the top scorer in Europe, and Olympic gold medalist.
In recognition of Messi’s outstanding achievements, Jacob & Co has teamed up with the football god to create a series of equally legendary timepieces. The Epic x Chrono “Messi” model features 47mm polished grade 5 titanium, titanium and rose gold or titanium and white gold, diamond-set case, anti-reflective sapphire glass, ceramic chronograph bezel and pushers, and rubber lugs, and crown.
The light blue and white colour scheme draws on Messi’s Argentine heritage. The timepiece also features his famous red No. 10 on the flange ring, the “Messi M” logo at six o’clock on the dial, and the signature on the glass sapphire caseback, while also displaying the automatic dual composite skeleton chronograph Watch movement.
Jacob & Co. Billionaires
If I first heard about the jeweler Jacob through Jay-Z’s “Money Ain’t a Thing,” it wasn’t until Baselworld 2015 that I was truly blown away by the billionaire.
This is unique, created by Arabo in association with Flavio Briatore and his Billionaire Lifestyle SARL company. Media at the time described it as “a dazzling representation of the brave and rebellious Jacob & Co. spirit”.
This handcrafted and exclusive Jacob & Co. Skeleton manual winding tourbillon movement JCAM09 is enough to take your breath away. But the real glory is the 18K white gold 58 X 47.5mm case and bracelet set with 260 carats of emerald-cut diamonds. Every stone is important, and some of them individually weigh up to 3 carats. They are all individual beads to maximize brilliance.