Since its unveiling, the Jacob and Co Astronomia watch line has accommodated several reiterations through fresh artistic expressions, including showing the record triple-axis tourbillon movement that changed the game completely. The Swiss watchmaker has, time without number, exceeded our wildest imagination in fusing mechanics with high art in order to birth the beautiful creations many have come to love. Whether inspired by animals, the cosmos, or zodiacs, Jacob and Co Astronomia watches have so effortlessly garnered attention while sporting some downright interesting concepts.
With such a plethora of options, it’s no surprise that the Astronomia line has a solid base of collectors including celebrities like Drake and Travis Scott. In order to mesmerize the watch world one release after another, the Manufacture utilizes the incredible skills of craftsmen and engravers who are bent on outdoing their past. No jokes, every new watch so often uses the achievement of its predecessor as its own starting point. The result is several patents in design, engineering, and a vibrant collector-base to boot. It’s no wonder that the price tags attached to these iconic creations could cause a bit of a stagger, ranging from $500,000 to well over a million dollars. In honor of this truly special watch, we’ll be exploring six interesting renditions powerful enough to intrigue your mind and capture your heart.
We begin with the Astronomia Art Tiger and Dragon. The sublime work showcases a mythical dragon — an epitome of wisdom, power, and fortune — in a face-off with a worthy opponent, a mighty tiger — a representation of strength and nobility. The characters are rendered in 18-karat gold and surrounded by a case of the same material. The drama can be viewed unobstructed through a sapphire crystal as the duo square up on an aventurine glass base surrounded by the iconic Astronomia four-arm movement. Jacob and Co’s signature design codes are clearly visible for the collector to appreciate, such as a Jacob-cut diamond, a magnesium globe of the earth, and the J & Co initials within the open-worked cage with a sub-dial to tell time. I find it riveting how such intense drama is so unmistakably captured through such miniature sculptures within a limited space, an applaudable display of the Atelier‘s mastery of this craft.
A mighty Phoenix caught in readiness to take flight unravels its magnificent wings flaunting precise details that have been perfected through three months of work on a 3D computer model. The creature, whom the ancient Greeks credit with the ability to be reborn from its own ashes, is sculpted in 18-karat rose gold. The mystical bird is a display of exemplary artisanal prowess in sculpting, painting, and setting as it is colored so vividly to evoke a powerful visual of the great bird as it ascends from a flame, symbolizing resurrection. Certainly, this is a true work of art appreciable from multiple angles thanks to the transparent sapphire crystal casing that encloses the beauty and showcases the open workings of the watch’s mechanism. The eye-catching skeletal dial shows off fine hand-engraved Roman numerals, with a gun blue metallic coat finishing for the hands.
Jacob and Co honors the somewhat controversial art form graffiti, inspired by famous graffiti artist, Alec Monopoly — a collaboration that speaks to the artistic reach of the brand. This piece perfectly exemplifies the fusion of high watchmaking with high art as it recognizes an art form that yet fights its way into the mainstream while highly critiqued in the art world. Alec’s artistic touch is clearly visible through the characters, Scrooge McDuck, The Money Man, a multicolored dollar sign, and money wings painted with the artist’s signature colors, among others, all on an aventurine canvas. The Jacob and Co Astronomia Alec Monopoly is nothing short of a masterpiece when you consider just how small a canvas the artist had to work with yet was masterfully delivered with the help of the craftsmen at the watchmaker’s studio. Adding to the creativity of this piece, certain details that I thought otherwise fixed are tweaked to match the style of expression here. For instance, when you observe the dial, the hands sport a bright green color and the multifaceted Jacob-cut diamond reflects a subtle hue compared to the pure white shade seen in the aforementioned timepieces.
Wild horses run free within the 50mm case of the Astronomia Art Stallion watch evoking the power of the untethered. I find this piece particularly interesting as its unique engraving (unseen in its predecessors) catches my eye. This sublime 3D-bas-relief hand-engraved work on a single bottom plate of white gold was performed by the hands of a single engraver, a challenging task that would require a fresh start if any mistake was made. I can only imagine the meticulous effort required to achieve such a work of art. The sub-dial also displays a peculiarity — a partly gun blue metallic finish to the minute and hour hands.
Yet another rendition of the Jacob and Co Astronomia Tourbillon. This watch is an ode to mortality and the passing of time. Astronomia Tourbillon Skulls in white gold presents a still-life depiction of skulls. Each skull peering into the soul with striking ruby eyes is the product of 200 hours of work over a six-month time span. Five 3D skulls polished in 18-karat white gold protrude into full view. Interestingly, the sub-dial substitutes Roman numerals for skulls separated by crossbones, an artistic expression of the transitory nature of man. This piece sports a fine reinvention of the 224-year-old single tourbillon invention that is now seen in this remarkable double-axis remake.
Complexity reaches a whole new level with the outlier that is the Astronomia Meteorite breathtakingly rendered in diamond and rose gold. A number of mindblowing refinements lie in plain sight with this piece, making it hard to choose which to begin with. The open-worked case exposes a triple-axis tourbillion set within a surrounding dial that looks like a crystalline planet accentuated with rose gold. Eighty baguette-cut white diamonds are hand-set within lugs of 18-karat rose gold as well as 133 triangle-cut diamonds set within the base dial totaling 22.90 carats. A stunning architectural design is displayed raising a question as to how such intricate detail is achievable by hand given the smallness of the space to work with, a challenge Jacob and Co would possibly describe as a regular day on the job. A 228-faceted Jacob-cut diamond glows a shade of blue as it revolves around the planetary dial. White gold makes an appearance on the magnesium globe, which is otherwise completely blue in previous renditions. Finally, completing the four equal-weight satellites are the sculpted J & Co logo and the subdial with lacquer-filled Roman numerals and gun blue metallic hands. Although this watch has Meteorite in its name, it isn’t made with the out-of-this-world material. Rather, its name is derived from the pattern applied on its sides and dial which is inspired by the geometry of a slab of meteorite.
Besides aesthetics, there are a number of reasons many collectors flock to Jacob and Co Astronomia watches. Each creation is an engineering masterpiece where innovation and creativity collide. The brand says it best in its motto; Insired by the Impossible.