Kinetic art meets progressive watchmaking in the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Revolution

A mesmerising, moving and otherworldly mini-sculpture you can wear on the wrist

If you haven’t already done so, check out Unknown: Cosmic Time Machine that is currently streaming on Netflix. The documentary chronicles the making of the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s largest and most powerful space science telescope. Just like the James Webb space telescope, the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Revolution—in which it takes inspiration from—is also a thing of marvel itself. Hence, when aficionados of the brand see the telescope in action, it is an affirmation of their beloved luxury house’s unadulterated ambition to push the limits of watchmaking beyond the realm of the ordinary.

Making one full rotation around the dial every minute, the Astronomia Revolution is the most technical and advanced model in the Astronomia collection. Photo by Jacob & Co.

For one, they will instantly recognise the influence that the James Webb Space Telescope has on the Astronomia Revolution. Nestled at the base of the case is an assembly of 18 polished gold hexagonal plates that resemble those attached to the now-legendary telescope. Likewise for the rest of the watch, it is a perfectly engineered work of mechanical art that evokes the voyage of a satellite hurtling through space.

Cosmic horology

Jacob & Co. makes no apologies for creating jewellery and watches that challenge conventions, and the Astronomia Revolution demonstrates just that. The watch invites us to draw closer, as all stunning sculptures do, to gaze upon and wonder about the intricacies that go into its creation.

Inside you will find the hand-wound JCAM48B movement, the fastest ever for an Astronomia watch. Photo by Jacob & Co.

At the heart of the Astronomia Revolution is its hand-wound JCAM48B movement. The unconventional calibre features a carousel-style display, anchored by a central system of gears that drive the rotation of three ‘arms’ around the dial: a time indicator, a triple-axis tourbillon, and an ornamental seconds hand set with an arrow-shaped ruby.

What makes the JCAM48B movement most astounding is the way and the unprecedented speed at which it moves. The entire assembly makes one rotation around the dial every minute. It is the fastest ever for an Astronomia watch. The first version from 2014 made one rotation every 20 minutes, while the second and third versions, made one rotation every 10 and five minutes, respectively.

But that’s not all. Everything moves. Just as it is with all Astronomia models, the latest iteration boasts a flying tourbillon. This means that the complication is constructed in a manner that eschews an upper bridge, to give the illusion that the tourbillon is, indeed, ‘flying’ without any visible means of support.

With the tourbillon moving around the dial once per minute, the Astronomia Revolution becomes a bona-fide triple-axis tourbillon, making one rotation horizontally every minute and vertically every 15 seconds with its cages, and around the around the dial every minute. The facetted arrow-shaped second hand, too, spins as it traverses the dial, gleaming as it catches the light like a satellite probe.

The entire caseband of the Astronomia Revolution is made of a single piece of transparent sapphire to grant its owner full view of the spectacular movement. Photo by Jacob & Co.

Finally, holding everything together to ensure utmost timekeeping precision is an innovative constant force mechanism. The Astronomia Revolution ticks along with perfect and undulating accuracy from the start to the end of its 36-hour power reserve, which is no mean feat, given the energy that is needed to propel the orbiting movement.

To do so, the brand has devised a patent-pending, whip-based torque energy regulation system. At every one-sixth of a second—the same speed at which the balance wheel oscillates—the hairspring activates a ‘whip’, a star-shaped wheel that acts as a conduit between the mainspring barrel and tourbillon, helping to deliver precise and constant pulses of energy for timekeeping reliability.

Jacob & Co. definitely lives up to its motto to be ‘inspired by the impossible’. It was once unimaginable to think that we would have an observatory like the James Webb Space Telescope, which can look almost 13.6 billion light years ahead and, in doing so, potentially unlock the secrets to our existence. In its quest to make unprecedented horological art, Jacob & Co. certainly channels the same spirit for the Astronomia Revolution.

Jacob & Co. is available at SHH
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
SHH (Sincere Haute Horlogerie)
2 Bayfront Avenue #B2M-202
Singapore 018972

Jacob & Co.