Above Time… Above Earth
Jacob & Co. and founder Jacob Arabo have created a magnificent new timepiece that combines the highest level of watchmaking craftsmanship, and the horological decorative arts. A treat for the eyes, the new ASTRONOMIA TOURBILLON’s orbiting display is mesmerizing, taking horology fans on a new and unique journey…transporting you above time, as if above Earth.
The Astronomia Tourbillon is a poetic visual rendering of the celestial world –with every element in constant, visible motion, all under the control of the oscillator at the heart of the tourbillon – that captures the very essence of the wonder with which we gaze upon the heavens.
The heart of the Astronomia is a four-armed carrier, which rotates once every twenty minutes. On one arm is the tourbillon, which in addition to rotating once around the dial every twenty minutes, also rotates around the axis of the arm carrying it once every five minutes, and around its own axis once every 60 seconds. The tourbillon cage is constructed with a large, screw-poised balance beating at 18,000 vibrations per hour, with an overcoil balance spring featuring a mathematically correct Phillips terminal curve.
Opposite the balance is the dial showing the hours and minutes. The openworked dial makes for a beautifully visually balanced counterpoint to the revolving tourbillon carriage, and its Roman numerals lend a touch of classicism and formal beauty to the overall design. The dial is mounted on a unique and specially designed differential system, which causes it to rotate as the central carrier turns –this ensures that the 12:00 marker is always uppermost and that the time can always be easily read.
Two celestial objects complete the composition: the Earth, and the Moon. The Moon is represented by a spherical, briolette-cut diamond which, in addition to rotating around the dial once every 20 minutes on the carrier, also rotates on its own axis once every sixty seconds, with each of its 56 facets constantly catching and refracting the light, produce a spectacular kinetic display of the diamond’s fire.
The Earth, which rotates once every sixty seconds on its own axis, is represented by a globe made of white gold, with the oceans represented by the deep blue, translucent grand feu (fired) enamel that requires the extremely demanding technique of applying and firing enamel on a spherical surface.
The orbiting display floats above a dial of deep blue aventurine –a precious stone that gives an incredible three-dimensional depth and the appearance of a midnight sky dusted with stars. With all these elements turning and spinning, the display of the watch will never be the same each time you marvel at it on your wrist. The entire dazzling mechanical display takes place under a complex, highly domed sapphire crystal, almost hemispherical in shape, which emphasizes the universe-in-miniature flavor of the watch.
The 47mm case is kept both light, and strong, through the use of a sophisticated polycarbonate composite strengthened with diamond dust resulting in a material as hard and resistant as steel, while being four times lighter. The case is enhanced with 18k rose gold, its general architecture was inspired by another architectural masterpiece, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The watch is wound and set via its 18k rose gold case-back, which features lift-out rotating bows that allow the owner to set the watch, and comfortably and easily wind the large mainspring, which fills the entire diameter of the case.
Behind the overwhelming visual impact of the Astronomia Tourbillon is tremendous horological sophistication. Watchmaking connoisseurs know that even a simple tourbillon must be made to very high precision to work well. The triple-axis tourbillon, carrier, dial, and two celestial bodies in constant motion place enormous demands both on the watchmaker’s craft –each watch requiring a master’s touch in assembly and adjustment –and on the mechanism itself; the entire construction must, despite its size, be perfectly poised and as light as possible, both to avoid damage due to shock and to maintain a stable rate.
For the development of this highly complex mechanical system, Jacob & Co. is proud to work with the horological atelier of Studio 7H38 –its collaborator in the development of last year’s SF24 dual time-zone watch.