Insider: Jacob & Co. Astronomia Clarity Tourbillon. Hands-on with an Extremely Impressive Tourbillon.

We are very lucky here at WCL that we get to review impressive timepieces like the Jacob & Co. Astronomia collection on a regular basis. Jacob & Co. was founded by Jacob Arabo, an immigrant from Uzbekistan that is very well know for selling high ticket jewelry creations, timepieces and diamonds to a handful of celebrities and hip-hop and rap music artists. As his company flourished in the 1990s and Mr. Arabo became 'Jacob the Jeweler' —a nickname that first made its appearance in several rap songs by Jay-Z and other hip-hop music recording artists—, it wasn't until 2005 when he opened his boutique on 57th street right next to what used to be the old Audemars Piguet boutique —the AP boutique is now located right across the street a few steps from Park Avenue.

However, with his business booming and after becoming the jeweler to the celebrities, in 2006, things got a little rough for 'Jacob the Jeweler' and he was arrested for money laundering and IRS issues and sent to jail in 2008. After serving a two-year sentence, he was released in 2010. As expected, the atrocious watches with five time zones that he used to sell, are now long gone and Mr. Arabo has made a huge comeback with very impressive 'haute horlogerie' timepieces that offer much less bling but a ton of wow factor from an horology standpoint. The Astronomia collection is a perfect example of it and the Astronomia Clarity Tourbillon is the first Jacob & Co. timepiece we review here at WCL.

The Astronomia Clarity Tourbillon is a truly unique, groundbreaking timepiece that elevates the art of watchmaking combining the highest level of Swiss timepiece craftsmanship and the horological decorative arts to create a watch that 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 three-axis tourbillon with an orbital display of the hours and minutes.

Things You Need to Know

The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Clarity is no conventional watch from whichever way you look at it. This timepiece is fitted with an 18K white gold case that looks more like a cage that holds six sapphire crystals throughout the top, bottom, caseband and in between the lugs. Measuring 50 mm in diameter and 25 mm in thickness —as a reference a Royal Oak Offshore is 15 mm thick—, the Astronomia Clarity doesn't wear as big as it should thanks to the transparency of its construction which makes the watch appear less big. Nevertheless, the watch is big but not clunky. Now, for those of you wondering whether this timepiece is water resistant or not, the answer is yes. The Astronomia Clarity is water resistant to 30 meters per the ISO 2281 standards.

As far as the time indication goes, this watch features a patented differential gears system with the hours and minutes indicated by a rotating dial with Roman numerals and blued hands. This dial makes a rotation around the face of the watch every 20 minutes.

With four different elements all held together at the center by the patented differential gears system, one can find a the hour and minutes subdial, a faceted spherical diamond, a magnesium lacquered terrestrial globe and a gravitational tourbillon cage. At the center, an engraving of a globe with latitude and longitude lines shows the limitation for the piece, in this case the Astronomia Clarity is limited to only 9 pieces.

The magnesium lacquered globe in blue and silver rotates every sixty seconds on two axes. 

The faceted spherical diamond has a total weight of one carat and features 288 facets that are an exclusive patented Jacob & Co. diamond cut. This diamond, makes a rotation every sixty seconds on two axes just like the terrestrial globe does.

But what makes the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Clarity Tourbillon even more special is the gravitational tourbillon cage rotating on three axes. While the first axis makes a rotation every sixty seconds, the second axis will make a rotation every five minutes and the third axis will make a full rotation every 20 minutes. Furthermore, the shape of the tourbillon cage features the signature 'J&Co.' logo of Jacob & Co.

The watch comes with a gorgeous large square scales alligator strap with 18K white gold double folding deployant clasp.

The Movement

Just as if the front wasn't impressive enough, turning the Astronomia Clarity around reveals the sophisticated and clever winding and time setting mechanism that allows for the watch to not have a crown in the traditional position. Powered by the in-house Jacob & Co. manual winding calibre JCAM10, the movement is equipped with two flat crowns on the case back, so that the wearer can wind the watch via the crown on the left and set the time via the crown on the right. The movement features 'haute horlogerie' finishes on its very small mainplate and bridges and features a flat balance spring. The power reserve when fully wound is of 60 hours.

On the Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Clarity Tourbillon wears slightly smaller than its actual size but with the most impressive wrist presence. This is a timepiece that needs to be seen in person to fully appreciate its splendor and the micro-engineering horological feat it represents. Without a doubt, one of the most impressive timepieces we've reviewed here at WCL. Had this watch been a Jaeger-LeCoultre or a Vacheron Constantin, rest assured that the price tag would've been a little bit more steep for the caliber of watch you are getting.

Sticker Price $530,000 USD. For more info on Jacob & Co. click here.