Jacob & Co.’s New Astronomia Revolution Brings the Cosmos to Watches & Wonders 2023
Inspired by the mirror array on the James Webb Space Telescope, the newest addition to the Astronomia collection has us star-struck.
“We’ve been grooming the Astronomia movement for eight years now,” CEO Benjamin Arabov said in a press release for the new piece. “[The Astronomia Revolution] is unique, unheard of, and not just an evolution of [the earlier] Astronomia. This piece has been reworked from the ground up. It required revolutionary mechanics, inventions, and what we at Jacob & Co. are driven by. Astronomia Revolution is ‘inspired by the impossible,’ and we made it possible.”
There you have it, said best by the object’s biggest cheerleader: the Astronomia Revolution is a challenging mechanical marvel turned into beautiful kinetic art and was made with passion.
And if I may cut to the chase: There’s a price to pay for that level of work, which means that each of the eighteen Astronomia Revolutions made will go for $600,000 a pop.
On the Move
While there is a lot more to this interdisciplinary triumph of engineering, let’s quickly list out some of what you’re getting:
• A full rotating satellite carriage with the entirety of the mechanics mounted, spinning once per minute (a 19-minute improvement from the original’s 20-minute revolution);
• A pyramid-shaped ruby-tipped seconds arrow indicator that rotates with the carriage and spins on its own axis once every 15 seconds;
• A high-speed flying tourbillon spinning on two axes to fight gravity and ensure precision, with one axis whirling once every 15 seconds while the other makes a full revolution once a minute as it rides on the carriage;
• A next-gen constant force mechanism that uses a whip-based torque regulation system engaging every 1/6th of a second to make the new manual-winding JCAM48B movement’s 36-hour power reserve possible;
• And, well, a dramatic translucent red hours and minutes dial that rides atop the business end of the carriage and is fitted with a patented differential causing it to rotate, so you can, you know, tell the uncannily precise time.
The poetry of the Astronomia Revolution’s moving mechanics is only the first part of the timepiece’s appeal. And the best way to appreciate it is with a video showcasing the symphonic classicism that is the Astronomia Revolution in motion.
The World’s a Stage
The second part of the appeal is the entirely unexpected presentation. The almost “antique tool” nature of the spinning satellite carriage would tempt some watchmakers to wrap it all up in the fussy package of a classically adorned case design, like a medieval astronomer’s tool displayed in a dusty box in a museum. But Jacob & Co.’s designers, as they tend to do, picked something more dramatic.
The Astronomia Revolution’s 47mm case-turned-stage for its whirling mechanics is clean, modern, and glimmering without being overly technical, regardless of the highly complex engineering marvel inside it. Simple rectangular bar second indices are on the watch’s equivalent of a flange at the top of the dial, but these indices do not create any visual distractions to an overhead view through the sapphire crystal.
In fact, sapphire crystal portals along the casebands mean the fascinating, spinning machine takes centerstage regardless of your viewing angle. And that’s just what you want.
But the real visual kicker is the curved array of eighteen hexagonal mirrors that serves as the movement’s dance floor. Each made from 18K red gold and inspired by the James Webb Space Telescope, this “floor” is a shining honeycomb ode to the highly polished reflectors aboard the telescope to observe the cosmos.
And, in the case of the Astronomia Revolution, they reflect the entire cosmic ballet above it wonderfully.