A four-axis tourbillon. It’s a world first, gifted to watchmaking’s most illustrious charity. It’s a technological achievement. It’s the acknowledgement of a deep and fruitful partnership between Jacob & Co. and Concepto Watch Factory. It’s proof that being “Inspired by the impossible” makes the impossible come true.
Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension is fitted with a triple-axis flying tourbillon at the end of a two-arm carousel. It rotates every 60 seconds. This makes it a four-axis tourbillon, the first ever of its kind fitted in a wristwatch. What’s more, the tourbillon carriage contains a high frequency constant force escapement.
The Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension is not only an unheard-of complication. Its execution is also from another dimension. In compliance with the Only Watch 2023 color theme, it contains 35 colored gems, set culet side up. A kinetic work of mechanical art and a jewelry accomplishment, Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension is not just a unique piece. It’s a vessel like no other.
Only four months after introducing its ground-breaking Astronomia Revolution, Jacob & Co. cranks up the innovation to the maximum, yet again. Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension is an amplified and upgraded take on the one-minute rotating movement with a triple-axis tourbillon. Developed, released and signed jointly with Jacob & Co.‘s main movement partner Concepto Watch Factory, Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension features a four-axis flying tourbillon.
This watchmaking achievement is the brainchild of Jacob & Co. And Concepto Watch Factory’s founder, master watchmaker and CEO Valérien Jaquet. “For almost 20 years, I and the Concepto Watch Factory team have enjoyed a deep and intense partnership with the Jacob & Co. label and with Jacob Arabo himself, says Valérien Jaquet. Only Watch, and the values conveyed by this charity auction, deserved that we join forces even more intensely to offer an extraordinary timepiece, both in terms of its mechanism and its aesthetic qualities. As tourbillon specialists, we are very proud to co-sign with Jacob & Co. this world premiere in aid of research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy syndrome.
“From the beginning of the Astronomia collection, I wanted it to spin as fast as possible, and then we reached one minute with Astronomia Revolution, says Jacob Arabo. I wanted it to be an extraordinary tourbillon, and then we reached four axes. This is the first time a timepiece breaks the triple-axis tourbillon barrier. Together, Jacob & Co. and Concepto Watch Factory decided this level of ingenuity and expertise had to be bestowed upon such an unanimously recognized charity as Only Watch.”
Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension is a unique piece, which will be put up for auction on November 5th and will benefit Only Watch’s fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension is more than just an implemented movement concept. Jacob & Co. being a watchmaker and a jeweler, Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension is a piece of high watchmaking and high jewelry.
The piece that lies underneath the spinning carousel is a rose gold structure crafted like a large piece of high jewelry. Jacob & Co. has set this hollowed-out structure with 35 gemstones, chosen among 7 types of gems. Each one is bespoke-cut to form a field of colored light. Each one is placed with its culet side up. The layout purposely feels random, creating a jagged expanse. It captures light, reshapes it and sends it back, colored and enhanced. The Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension is a mechanical achievement from another dimension, or a crystal planet.
Developed jointly with Concepto Watch Factory, caliber JCAM 54 is built on the same structure as all the other Astronomia movements. Only a small part of it is hidden by the decorative plate set with 35 gemstones. From its center, the rest of the movement emerges, in the shape of a two-arm carousel. This represents most of the movement’s 485 components, spinning to the tune of one rotation every 60 seconds. It acts like a second hand, and as the tourbillon’s first rotation axis.
At the end of the first arm, which is the first rotation axis, lies a flying triple-axis tourbillon. Flying because the tourbillon carriage is held by one end only, a lateral one. Triple-axis because the escapement is put into rotation by three sets of gears. The first one spins in 60 seconds, the second one in 18 seconds and the last one in 15 seconds. This is not just a high number of axes, but very high speeds as well. The principle of a tourbillon is to multiply the number of positions the escapement occupies in space. The more positions, the fastest the speed, the better the tourbillon evens out the negative effects gravity has on its accurate measurement of time. With four axes and such fast rotations, Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension offers the best parameters for a tourbillon to do its work one has ever seen.
These rotation speeds require a lot of energy. And the rotation of the carousel even more so. Such a powerful flow, if delivered directly to the escapement, would simply break it. In order to harness that massive influx, Jacob & Co. and Concepto Watch Factory devised a way to protect the escapement, a constant force device for which a patent is pending. Every 1/6th of a second, which is the frequency of the balance wheel, the gear train activates a whip. It acts as a buffer between the energy flow from the barrel and the tourbillon.
Each time the whip is activated, it transmits the amount of energy needed by the escapement for the next 1/6th of a second. No less, as this would underfeed the balance wheel. No more, which would overfeed the tourbillons and the entire rotating platform. Beyond the obvious benefit of preserving the escapement, this presents a major chronometric advantage. When combined with the extremely high number of positions provided by the four tourbillon axes, this Jacob & Co. x Concepto Watch Factory unique piece definitely enters the 4th dimension of watchmaking.
The rose gold case measures 47 mm in diameter for a total height of 27 mm. These dimensions reflect those of caliber JCAM 54. Such a spectacular piece of watchmaking art demanded to be seen from every possible angle. The Astronomia case is built around curved panes of sapphire glass, held together by precious metal. Above it all, a wide, domed sapphire crystal opens up the view on caliber JCAM 54 and what lies beneath it.
It is a composition of shape, color, gem variety and gem-cutting. The backplate of Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension is a piece of art, the likes of which are generally found in cathedrals. Except this one is made of gems. There are 35 in total, belonging to 7 different types, each providing a different color. The hessonite garnets are orange. The citrines are yellow. The sapphires are blue. The tsavorites are green. The rhodolite garnets are purple. The topaz are light blue and the pyrope garnets are red.
Each gem is cut in bespoke shape, not belonging to any of the classic cuts. What’s more, they’re not laid out like gems usually are, with their table facing up and their culet facing down. Jacob & Co. decided on the opposite, creating a geometrical field, an uneven landscape of crystal and light. Jacob Arabo, Jacob & Co.’s Founder, Chairman and Creative Director, is an avid fan of all things space-related. His passion gave rise to the Astronomia collection. Once more, it’s taking on a new and imaginative shape, the likes of which one expects to see in a Star Trek episode or on a moon orbiting planet Krypton. A pioneer in the use of colored gemstones as far back as the 1980’s, Jacob Arabo applied his taste for red, blue, orange, yellow and green to a great many timepieces. Several high jewelry watches have been rainbow-set before the term became popular. Many others are called Arlequino, Camo or Peru Mountains, a tribute to the colorful strata of Vinicunca, also known as the Rainbow Mountain. The Astronomia Revolution 4th Dimension’s chromatic field is in fact a Jacob & Co. signature in renewed form. Just like caliber JCAM 54 is an extra step into being “Inspired by the impossible”.