The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Regulator

According to Jacob & Co., Regulated Time Doesn’t Fly, It Floats

In Geneva, the master designers at Jacob & Co. debuted an artful take on the classic regulator complication that turns some precepts of the approach on its head in the most eye-catching way.

By Mike Espindle
Executive Editor

To keep it simple, a “regulator” is a time-keeping approach (that started with clocks and pocket watches) that pulls apart the functions of hours, minutes, and seconds and displays each on a separate surface on the dial of a wristwatch.

In fact, because of its inherent accuracy, a regulator-style clock was often used as the true-time reference in watchmaking shops, even if they were not producing regulator wristwatches themselves.

However, transforming this age-old complication into a luxurious piece of floating kinetic art can’t be done by your average watch brand. No, it’s the job of an eclectic maison with uncontested technical bona fides like Jacob & Co.

Air Apparent

Again, to keep it simple, the new Jacob & Co. Astronomia Régulateur is a 43mm 18k rose gold regulator wristwatch. But, given the house’s proclivities for innovation and ornamentation, the “simple” part of its description ends here because there is so much more to the story.

Its floating 3D architecture and signature eye appeal (from component finishing to vibrant blue and its red gold colorway) are only a start to the extras the Astronomia Régulateur brings to the party.

Oversized panes of sapphire, domed along the top (of course) and curved along the 18mm-thick case side, are secured by the glimmering frame of a red-gold case (with a downward-beveled top flange and open, structural lugs). Think of it as a museum case; it lets you look into the timepiece itself.

Despite all this, like all Jacob & Co. timepieces, the Astronomia Régulateur begs even closer corneal inspection, and that look-see unveils some impressive horological innovation to match the artful flourishes.

Hour Hero?

On a traditional regulator, the main surface of the watch dial is usually reserved for the minute hand, with the hours and seconds allocated to dedicated sub-dials. However, Jacob & Co.’s reinvention sees the full dial service the seconds, upside down and in a few formats. Let me explain.

In a world’s first, the vertically constructed, hand-wound JCAM56 movement (the slimmest of any Astronomia to date, BTW) makes one complete rotation every 60 seconds, carrying the domed translucent blue ring with the seconds gauging past a fixed golden arrow indicator at where 6 o’clock would be on a traditional dial.

But, as they say, that’s not all. A separate arm holds the gorgeous golden tourbillon-loaded carousel hand as if it were one of the two blue sub-dials (more on those later). This carousel takes the tourbillon on a 60-second journey around the dial. PLUS, the tourbillon itself also takes 60 seconds to make a complete revolution on its own axis, which means the Astronomia Régulateur is outfitted with a double-axis flying tourbillon!

It may sound crazy, but by breaking the traditional regulator design codes by placing the seconds on the main dial the way Jacob & Co. did, the brand transformed the Astronomia Régulateur from a mere watch (albeit a super fancy one) into a kinetic sculpture that Alexander Calder would want to wear on his wrist.

Spinning Wheels

The two arms bearing the hour and minute sub-dials (both in seductive translucent blue and red gold) also roll along with the movement’s 60-second rotation.

One would think this would create some time-telling confusion over the course of a single minute. However, like all Astronomia timepieces, a differential system spins the sub-dials in the opposite direction of the rotation so that the hands and gauging are always upright and legible.

Basically, like the universe we inhabit, Jacob & Co’s Astronomia Régulateur is in constant revolution and rotation.

You’ve Got The Power

Of course, all this motion takes a toll on power. However, it is for that very reason the Astronomia Régulateur employs a new, patented constant force mechanism located near the tourbillon.

It evens out the energy driven into the balance wheel for accuracy, to be sure (after all, a regulator needs to be accurate). But the designers also tapped into the new constant force system to regulate the use of that energy in order to reliably deliver a 48-hour power reserve.

Pricing & Availability

Delivered on a color-matched blue alligator strap, the Astronomia Régulateur is limited to 250 pieces and can be yours for a mere $280,000.

You can learn more at Jacob & Co.’s website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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