Architecture, imaginative watchmaking.
Jacob & Co. luxury is known for making jewelry – true “bling” – popular with the biggest names in entertainment and sports. While the New York jeweler’s watch isn’t for the faint of heart, its complications are technically and conceptually interesting, and it’s rare in modern watchmaking that top-of-the-line designs are accompanied by equally inventive mechanisms.
At this year’s Baselworld, Jacob & Co. added not one, but two minute repeaters to its long list of Uber complications. The first is the aptly named Twin Turbo Furious, a decimal minute repeater with a pair of three-axis tourbillons (six axes in one watch) and a monopusher chronograph, while the second is the Astronomia Maestro. While both watches are visually stunning and impressive, the drama of the Astronomia is quite different.
The Maestro is the latest in the Astronomia collection, which has become a Jacob & Co. icon. Oversized watches feature various orbital complications under a panoramic sapphire crystal, and the latest Astronomia combines a three-axis orbital tourbillon with a carillon minute repeater.
Conceived for two years by watchmaker Luca Soprana and his complication studio Ateliers 7h38, which develops and assembles all of Jacob & Co.’s gorgeous complications, the Astronomia Maestro measures 50mm in diameter and 26mm in thickness. It’s huge, but it should be the biggest; the watch looks good.
The case is a rose gold case, and the strap has a sapphire aperture, allowing you to admire the movement and striking mechanism at a glance—and there’s a lot to see.
The basic premise of this watch is the same as other Astronomia watches: in the center of the movement is a four-arm support system that completes one revolution in 10 minutes, with various complications on each arm.
But in Maestro, the complex composition changes. The dial showing the hours and minutes is positioned above the central axis, rather than the typical position on one of the arms, providing a more intuitive time readout. On one of the arms is a lunar phase disc, which rotates on two axes, a 10-minute rotation of the carriage, and a self-rotation over the course of 31 days. The moon is depicted as a 288-faceted “Jacob-cut” diamond consisting of two halves: a black diamond on one side and a white diamond on the other. Discount watches
On the next arm, is essentially a highly refined seconds hand in the form of a lacquered magnesium ball that rotates on its own axis every 30 seconds, like a rotisserie fork, while revolving around its main axis. The other arm carries a tiny astronaut that spins on the same 30-second axis. Both also continue to revolve around the dial for 10 minutes.
On the last arm is the three-axis tourbillon, which has two cages, each making one revolution in 60 seconds and 5 minutes, while completing a 10-minute rotation around the central axis.
In addition to the various complications, the spacious case is the perfect place for the carillon minute repeater. Ventilated spaces within the chassis allow for loud, crystal-clear sound, but the prototype’s chimes need to be adjusted.
Although the wholesale watches replica is large, the minute repeater is surprisingly flat, blending into the back of the watch, with the gongs rising toward the crystal.
The minute repeater is activated by a slider mounted on the left side of the case. Unlike traditional minute repeaters with two sets of hammers and gongs, the carillon has three sets of hammers and gongs. The hour is low, four minutes is three bells, and the hour is high.
The gongs are cathedral gongs, nearly twice the length of traditional gongs, producing a richer, deeper sound and longer reverberation. One of the challenges of making cathedral gongs is to wrap around the movement without touching each other, the case and the movement. The three gongs of the Astronomia Maestro gracefully hover above the titanium baseplate, offering an extraordinary view from the side of the case.
Additionally, the minute repeater mechanism is powered by a patented tapered sesame box and ratchet pawl system. It also features a patented double safety system that protects the mechanism during striking, disengaging the time-setting mechanism, preventing damage to the movement when the crown is pulled out.
The case back has a pair of hinges for winding and setting the watch, and a rotating wheel at the bottom for setting the moon phase. When fully wound, the watch will run for 60 hours. Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky AT110.40.AA.AA.A