Betting it All on Black (or Red): Jacob & Co. Raises the Stakes with the New Casino Tourbillon
Creating playful timepieces that are also highly complicated can often be a gamble, but it’s one Jacob Arabo and his team at Jacob & Co. are willing to chance with the brand’s latest game-inspired watch.
In the 1995 film Casino, directed by Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro’s character, Ace Rothstein, tells a descriptive tale of his days running the fictional Tangiers casino in Las Vegas in the 1970s. De Niro’s character narrates the film and delivers some of cinema’s most memorable lines, including the following: “In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and to keep them coming back.”
This idea (or even mindset) could also just as easily apply to today’s Jacob & Co. as it does to casinos because the brand continues to produce mind-blowingly complicated yet whimsical timepieces that are sought-after by collectors and celebrities alike.
Indeed, Jacob & Co. has found a way to keep its clients coming back – whether it be through Arabo’s designs, the craftsmanship Arabo insists upon, or, let’s face it, his charisma – and there is no doubt they’ll be back once more for the new Casino Tourbillon.
So, let’s take a closer look at it.
At first glance, the Casino Tourbillon evokes exactly the emotions to which it intends: It’s fun. It’s a little bit crazy. It’s a whole lot of cheeky. And Jacob & Co. is betting that you’ve never seen anything quite like it. After all, it’s a roulette wheel for the wrist, and it works as flawlessly as the mechanisms powering the clock it surrounds.
The case of the 44mm timepiece is crafted in 18K rose gold and, not surprisingly (as it is the same with other Jacob and Co. timepieces), doesn’t include a crown. However, it does have a pusher on the lower left side of the case, around where 8 o’clock would be. And when lying flat, it is this pusher that propels the wheelhead of the game.
Complete with a white ceramic ball and the traditional 37 pockets of a standard European roulette wheel (1 green, 18 red, and 18 black), once the wheel starts spinning – and it will with an intense speed and little friction thanks to the ball bearings on which it sits – all bets are off.
The 44mm case size, which is slightly smaller than what is typically offered by Jacob & Co., gives the Casino Tourbillon a somewhat more traditional appearance while still providing the wearer the same prestige or clout one would garner by owning any of the watches developed by the brand. The Casino Tourbillon’s comparatively small case size also opens the brand up to new clientele.
Specifically, it will appeal to people with smaller wrist sizes for whom novelties, such as the Astronomia Tourbillon and its 50mm diameter, may have been too large.
There is no doubt that the Casino Tourbillon is an aesthetically-pleasing, joy-inducing watch, but the brand also made sure no gambles were taken when it came to the watch’s mechanics. So, powering the Casino Tourbillon is a single-axis tourbillon movement offering a solid 72 hours of power reserve: the calibre JCAM51.
An entirely new design for the brand, the JCAM51’s tourbillon has been placed on the caseback side of the movement, an extremely unconventional location for a tourbillon on any timepiece. However, just because it is on the wrist side of the case, that doesn’t mean the tourbillon is somehow unsightly. Indeed, the exact opposite is true.
For example, the tourbillon’s outer carriage boasts three equal sets of engravings, similar to the roulette wheel pockets on the front of the watch, each with letters lacquered in red and black spelling out “Jacob & Co.”
The watch’s dial (yes, it actually tells the time, too!) is crafted with a single piece of high-polished black onyx, offering almost a mirrored appearance. The hour and minute hands point to twelve meticulously applied, kite-shaped gold indices. The shape of the markers is a nod to the kite-cut sapphires used in many other Jacob & Co. creations.
The black PVD flange is adorned with eight diamond-shaped deflectors to raise the variance level of the roulette game when “played.” Meanwhile, the wheel track flange is also high-polished and looks similar to what it would look like on an actual roulette wheel.
The case has a total height of 16.3mm and includes a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment so the wearer can watch the game clearly and without fear of glare. And just in case a pool party breaks out at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Jacob & Co. made certain the watch is water resistant to 30 meters.
The Big Winners
We’re not sure whether Jacob Arabo himself or the person who purchases this watch would be the ultimate winner in this game, so in this case, we’d probably call it a draw. After all, who doesn’t want to game the system, especially when that system happens to be the passing of time?
Available as you read this, the new Casino Tourbillon is limited to 101 pieces and priced at $280,000. For more information, visit the Jacob & Co. website.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)