Jacob & Co.


With a white ceramic ball bouncing around a miniature roulette wheel with thirty-seven pockets, the new Jacob & Co. Astronomia Casino is a watch lover’s best high-end bet. This playful addition to the ongoing Astronomia collection is a slimmer version of the 2019 edition and it places all bets on the dial while a flying tourbillon enlivens the back of the watch.

By removing the rotating orbs, flying tourbillon and skeletal dial (as seen on the earlier edition) from the top of the watch, Jacob & Co. has devised a more wrist-friendly Casino. Now 16mm thick (rather than the 24mm size of the earlier model), the watch’s 44-mm diameter rose gold case is crafted from polished rose gold and topped with a domed sapphire case.

When the user presses the pusher at the 8 o’clock position, the roulette wheel spins, almost friction-free. This causes the ceramic ball to bounce in a truly random manner between the crystal and the mirror-polished wheel-track flange. The ball will find its way to one of the thirty-seven pockets. Then, presumably, the winner collects.

Emulating a high-end betting house, Jacob & Co. has appointed the Astronomia Casino with appropriately luxurious fittings. The hours and minutes dial is made of a single slab of polished black onyx. Jacob & Co. has shaped dial’s applied 5N gold indices in a nod to the kite-cut sapphires it uses in several of its other watches.

As noted, Jacob & Co. places its flying tourbillon on the back of the watch, which is powered by the new caliber JCAM51 that boasts a comfortable seventy-two-hour power reserve. The arms on the flying tourbillon carriage are engraved and lacquered to match the roulette wheel on the opposite side. The same pattern is also seen on two plates on the caseback that act as winding and time-setting crowns.

Place your bets! Everyone’s a winner.

The ante for the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Casino is $280,000.


Specifications: Jacob & Co. Astronomia Casino

Movement: Manufacture Jacob & Co. manual winding JCAM51 with a power reserve of 72 hours.

Functions: Hours and minutes, flying tourbillon on caseback at 6 o’clock, 1 rotation/min., roulette animation on demand with Pusher at 8 o’clock, winding and time-setting on caseback.

Case: 44mm by 16.3mm rose gold with rose gold back with engravings and lacquered roulette pockets. Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment, water resistance to 30 meters. 

Dial: Black Onyx with 5N gold kite-shaped indices.

Hands: Skeleton with 5N Gold, red tip and white SuperLuminova.

Roulette: Red, black and green lacquered pockets, ceramic ball.

Flange: Black PVD, 8 rhodium-plated diamond-shaped deflectors.

Bracelet: Black alligator strap with 18-karat rose gold deployant buckle. 

Price: $280,000 (limited edition of 101 pieces).

Three months after a Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer Blue triple-axis tourbillon returned to Earth after seventeen days on the International Space Station, the watch has started another tour, this time in New York City.

The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer Blue.

On July 26 at Sotheby’s the watchmaker is auctioning the watch to benefit the Davidson Institute of Science Education, an Israeli non-profit organization that serves as the educational arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science. Until then, the watch, a spectacular 50mm sapphire-cased tour-de-force, is available to see at the Bucherer 1888 TimeMachine (from July 11 to July 17), and will be on exhibit at the Sothebys New York galleries from July 21 to July 25.

Eytan Stibbe, wearing the Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer Blue.

The Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer Blue was worn on the wrist of philanthropist Eytan Stibbe during the Rakia mission, which returned April 25. Stibbe and the watch orbited Earth 273 times during that period, clocking more than 7 million miles.

The watch features four orbs that are in constant motion: the dial, tourbillon cage, a spherical diamond that reflects the moon, and a magnesium-lacquered globe that reflects the Earth. All are finished in the Bucherer Blue color, meant to reflect its place in the retailer’s collection of custom-made, similarly hued watches made in partnership with a wide range of Swiss watchmakers.

A back view of the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Bucherer Blue, showing moon orbit.

“The Astronomia tourbillon is a truly unique, groundbreaking timepiece that elevates the art of watchmaking above the Earth, above time,” says Jacob Arabov, Founder & Chairman of Jacob & Co. “So the very idea of sending this special Astronomia into space, as you can imagine, was very exciting. It’s only fitting that the Astronomia Bucherer Blue ends up revolving around the Earth. The watch had the same viewpoint on us as we usually have on it. This reversal is typical of the way I envision the creation of timepieces.”

The Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer Blue (left) and the new EpicX Bucherer Blue.

EpicX Blue launches

The EpicX Bucherer Blue Edition

Along with the Astronomia tourbillon auction, Jacob & Co. and Bucherer are also launching the EpicX Bucherer Blue Edition, a manual-wind skeleton watch inspired by the International Space Station mission.

This watch, a limited edition of eighteen, will be available exclusively in the U.S. at Bucherer (pricing coming soon). It features a titanium caseback with an engraving of an astronaut, clad in a spacesuit and helmet, eyeing the Earth from space.

By Gary Girdvainis

I think it was just after the 2008 crash that the calls started coming in.

Complete strangers were calling our offices and inquiring about watches as potential instruments for investment. From their perspective it seemed to make sense. Fine timepieces have perpetual and intrinsic value, are liquid and easy to convert to cash and small enough to secret away in a bank deposit box or home safe. Some will even appreciate over time.

Bernhard Lederer’s stunning Central Impulse Chronometer.

To these speculators and investors, the watch was simply a widget and could be anything (think NFTs), a device in which to insert capital and to be added to the other elements of a portfolio.

This cold, calculating valuation of wristwatches has gained momentum over the last decade-plus and is fueling rampant and runaway pricing on several preferred models. Some of which have seen values soar to ten, fifteen or even twenty times the original retail price.

The Jacob & Co. Jean Bugatti in a rose gold case.

This explosive surge has been brought on by a kind of perfect storm. First-off it could not happen without the internet. In the pre-internet era values would still climb on preferred pieces, but the forces pushing the growth were operating at a statelier pace. Watches would see price growth at auction, or via secondary sales at retail shops. The growth was not as immediately visible and volatile as the current state of viral information pathways.

The RGM Model 222-RR is a modern wristwatch with a vintage heart, featuring a Hamilton pocket watch movement and a ‘grand feu’ enamel dial.

Another factor is the fear of missing out. Buyers (note I did not say collectors) want to hop on board before the train leaves the station and are fueling the fires of desire and driving costs through the roof.

Forgive me if I feel that buying a watch purely as an investment is a sterile event without any real enthusiasm for the product, or any chance that the “investment” watches will ever see the light of day. Chances are the commoditized timepieces will sit in the dark until the next transaction, never to be enjoyed, shared, or shown-off except to confirm authenticity.

The Chopard Alpine Eagle Cadence 8 HF.

I’m a watch guy and have been for a long time. I appreciate the look, feel, sounds, and even smells (that vanilla scent on a nice rubber strap) that evoke pride of ownership and real enjoyment. Whether an affordable field watch with great lume, or a repeater softly chiming the time, watches are meant to be worn just like cars are meant to be driven.

I have a friend that has had amazing financial success in life. He recently invited me to his home and knowing I’m a car enthusiast was happy to show me some of the exceptional cars he had acquired over the years. One of which was the famous 1955 Jaguar D-Type. Designed for racing at LeMans and other venues, the D Type also happens to be street legal.

The Arnold & Son Ultrathin Tourbillon, now in two new designs, feature a new type of dial with tinted gold and aluminum sparkles to match either a platinum or gold case.

So as my friend sees me gaping at his exquisite machine, he tells me to look under the wheel well. I bend over, careful not to touch the coachworks, and look underneath. What I see is a spattering of mud on the wheel well liner. Not only does he drive this seven-million-dollar car, he drives it around town and even drives it to the track on vintage race days!

This post first appeared in the Winter 2022 issue of iW Magazine.

UFC Champ Conor McGregor recently raised the profile of the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Casino by posting a video of the roulette-wheel watch to his much-viewed Instagram account. In just one day, McGregor’s August 29 post on his “thenotoriousmma” Instagram platform received more than 1.2 million likes, and counting.

The Astronomia Casino features a fully operational roulette wheel. In the short video, McGregor is sitting by a pool. He pressed the watch’s pusher to spin the roulette wheel, calling for “Black 11.” The white ceramic ball instead falls on Red 14.

His caption accompanying the video was directed at the rapper Drake, who also owns an Astronomia.

Jacob & Co’s Astronomia Casino is one of the many iterations of the Astronomia timepiece, with a four-arm vertical movement. The watch’s roulette wheel, made in green, red, and black enamel with mahogany inlays, operates on demand and replicates the action of a roulette wheel. The white ceramic ball is separated from the movement by a near invisible sapphire crystal.

Above the roulette wheel Jacob & Co places a double-axis tourbillon, a rotating spherical diamond with the exclusive Jacob Cut, a rotating magnesium and lacquered globe, and a titanium subdial time display. The entire display revolves around the watch every ten minutes. (Source: Jacob & Co.)