At Baselworld 2016, Jacob & Co. introduced a new version of its delightful Astronomia large watch called the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky Celestial Panorama Gravitational Triple Axis Tourbillon. The “Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky” is not intended as a replacement, but as a complement to the original Jacob & Co. Astronomia (hands on here), adding some sophistication and actually having a smaller case size.
The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky has shrunk from the standard planetarium’s 50mm wide size to “only” 47mm wide and 25mm thick. No one would wear a watch like this because it’s so slim, but Jacob & Co. was asked to make a more wearable version of its fun Astronomia. Please also note that our image of the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky Celestial Panorama Gravitational Tri-Axis Tourbillon is a pre-production prototype. One of the key elements missing from this prototype watch is the lack of an anti-reflective coating on the sapphire crystal. This makes legibility rather poor and watch details almost impossible to capture through the crystal. Just to mention that since the “final” version of the watch won’t have these crystal glare issues.
The debut version of the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky Celestial Panorama Gravitational Triple Axis Tourbillon features an 18k rose gold case with a large domed sapphire crystal on top and a central sapphire crystal ring on the side of the case. It makes viewing the inside and movement of the watch very simple and attractive. And, yes, there is a pen to go with it. Well, these pens are actually pens that go with the Astronomia series of watches as a whole, and they are produced by the Italians Visconti in collaboration with Jacob & Co. These are also pre-production prototypes, and they will come in 18k rose and 18 white gold.
The whole point of the Astronomia is to provide a “four-arm” movement, which has a time dial (which rotates to stay upright as the entire movement rotates around its axis), a tourbillon (which technically moves on two pivot points), a A spinning seconds indicator, and a spinning sphere opposite the seconds indicator. Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky more or less keeps this feature (albeit in a different style and execution) and adds some astronomical sophistication.
Looking at the periphery of the dial through the side of the case, you’ll see a month indicator, which uses a small hand to follow along a 12-month scale that completely surrounds the face. Now, look at the center of the four-armed kinematic structure, at the top of it you’ll find a small sphere that looks like the Earth. This globe of Earth has a domed shield that moves around it to act as a day/night indicator. There are two pivot points to note here, they are the 24 hour rotation of the day and night indicator and the fact that the earth rotates every 20 minutes, since that is the rotation time of the movement of the four arms. The small “globe” itself is made of titanium, then painted and engraved by hand.
On the watch dial below the movement is a celestial star chart with a series of zodiac indications. The face is made of blued titanium (similar to the De Bethune watches we’ve long loved) and has an oval “sky indicator” hand. The entire dial actually rotates once a year, and the oval-shaped sky indicator rotates once every sidereal day (roughly a day) to show the stars visible from the northern hemisphere.
As you can see, Jacob & Co. wanted to add a lot of astronomical information to their Astronomia watches, and I think they did a great job with the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky while actually making the timepiece smaller. Of course, the watch is still a serious “showcase”, and most of its value is in the design and show-off of the fine mechanics.
The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky Celestial Panorama Gravitational Triple Axis Tourbillon has a changed movement design compared to the original Astronomia. The “Jacob Cut” diamond is here replaced by a Jacob cut orange sapphire that rotates once per minute and is shaped like a 288 faceted sphere. Opposite this Jacob Cut sapphire crystal is the seconds hand, which has wavy structures that together represent an orbiting satellite.
The movement inside the watch is unique to the Jacob & Co (also produced by Studio7h38) movement JCAM11. The hand-wound movement consists of 395 parts, runs at 3Hz (21,600bph) and has a power reserve of 60 hours. The complexity of this movement is stunning and focused on providing visual entertainment in operation.
The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky combines 18k rose gold and blue (with a blue alligator strap) for a decidedly regal look. This time, Jacob & Co. didn’t add any diamonds to it, but if I know Mr. Arabo, there will be diamonds on a future version of Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky. Like most watches produced by the brand, the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky is part of a limited edition of only 18 pieces. I can’t wait to see the final version with the proper sapphire crystal, because I think this and the entire Astronomia watch collection represent some of the most interesting “out there” watches, which are obviously very luxurious, but not the kind of watches we immediately think of in the oligarchs It looks best on the body. I can see Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky on the wrists of successful people, albeit a benevolent ruler! Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky Celestial Panorama Gravitational Tri-Axis Tourbillon.