Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon

Equipped with an impressive upward and outward rising movement, the Jacob & Co. Astronomia is a two-axis tourbillon, a complication watch with arrogant showmanship.

Jacob & Co. is known for its gorgeous jeweled timepieces, beloved by musicians and athletes. In contrast, Astronomy is a completely different kind of watch. It is an orbital biaxial tourbillon, combined with an orbital time display, powered by a three-dimensional movement rising from the base plate.

Visually impressive on the wrist, the Astronomia movement is constructed vertically rather than horizontally like traditional movements. Unique and imaginative construction, developed by Studio 7h38, a professional movement developer who is also responsible for completing the entire watch. Led by watchmaker Luca Soprana, the company’s other creations include the Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon.

The movement sits in the center of the perfect watch, surrounded by a faceplate of aventurine, a type of quartz with shimmering mineral inclusions that mimic the night sky. Located at the bottom of the movement is the barrel, which contains the mainspring that powers the movement. The gear train is at the top, and the entire display mechanism branches out from the center.

The four functions are displayed in three dimensions, each in a fixed position relative to each other, but the entire mechanism rotates for 20 minutes. It relies on planetary gears to keep everything moving around the casing at the same time.

The simplest element is the earth, made of aluminium and painted blue. With each revolution, it acts as a second hand. Directly across from the globe is a 1-carat diamond that serves as a counterweight. The perfectly spherical diamond is cut with 288 facets, a patent of fashion Jacob & Co.

The tourbillon is a two-axis tourbillon, or a three-axis tourbillon if you count the 20-minute revolution of the entire mechanism. The tourbillon cage makes one revolution per minute on the same axis as the balance and five minutes on the axis perpendicular to the balance.

Also, perhaps more interesting is the time display mechanism. A subdial showing the time, with a skeletonized chapter ring for the hour markers, is always face-up even as it moves around the case during its 20-minute revolution. This means that the “XII” marking is always at 12 o’clock, no matter where the sub-dial is inside the case.

The dynamic and accessible movement is housed in as much sapphire crystal as the rose gold case. Panoramic windows on each side, including between the lugs, reveal the entire movement. It is topped by a huge domed sapphire crystal.

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All of this means that the planetarium is huge – a perfect Jacob & Co. watch is hardly anything else. It has a diameter of 50mm and a height of about 25mm. Few watches are this big, but this one definitely needs to be bulky enough to get the full visual impact.

The novel movement structure means that there are no crowns on the sides, but two crowns on the case back, one for time setting and the other for winding. Despite its relatively small barrel, it still offers a respectable 60-hour power reserve in full wind.

The Astronomia is limited to 18 pieces in rose gold, and 9 pieces are set with 16 carats of diamonds, notably 342 baguette-cut diamonds.