Image courtesy of Jacob & Co.
Looking ever deeper in space, Astronomia is shaking up contemporary watchmaking with radical performance: Astronomia Revolution reaches terminal velocity and revolves around its own axis in one minute. Housed in a sculptural, 47 mm case made of sapphire and gold, Astronomia Revolution is powered by an all-new movement, designed to deliver high speed, high accuracy and high entertainment efficiency. Caliber JCAM48B spins in 60 seconds, bearing a double-axis flying tourbillon, with a third axis which is the movement itself. Mastering this speed requires a patented, innovative constant force device, harnessing the massive energy generated by Astronomia Revolution. This bright star of contemporary watchmaking reflects both light and Jacob & Co.'s unique sense of narration. Underneath the revolving satellite carriage lies a curved, red gold, 18-mirror array inspired by the James Webb Space Telescope. Astronomia Revolution also shows the second thanks to a space-probe-like spinning arrow with a ruby head. Warp speed, massive energy, light distortion and sky-high chronometry: Astronomia may well have evolved to its peak iteration yet.
“Inspired by the impossible” – Jacob & Co.'s mission statement remains as true as ever. Since its creation, the Astronomia concept has been evolving, technically but also through space and time, fueled by Jacob & Co.’s sense of creativity and unencumbered by any limitations. Astronomia Revolution one-ups the original Astronomia, reaching its most technical and advanced stage. Three arms, each one bearing an advanced function, revolve smoothly around a central axis at an astounding speed. Astronomia started at one revolution every 20 minutes. Then Astronomia Solar cut it down to 10. Yet another innovation took that to 5 minutes. Astronomia Revolution breaks all records with 1 minute per rotation. “We've been grooming the Astronomia movement for eight years now, says CEO Benjamin Arabov. It started at the already incredible speed (at the time) of one revolution every 20 minutes. It is unique, unheard of, and not just an evolution of 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.” Astronomia Revolution is a limited edition of 18 pieces, of which six are crafted in rose gold, six in white gold and six in white gold with black DLC surface treatment. The case measures 47 mm in diameter for a total height of 27 mm, a generous heft dictated entirely by the requirements of the caliber – JCAM48B – and its functionalities.
Astronomia Revolution 360 video
A portable observatory
This high velocity orbit makes Astronomia Revolution both a highly technical and highly spectacular timepiece. Especially since the entire revolving carriage is visible from all sides: from above, from both sides and from below. Inspired by space, a personal passion of founder and chairman Jacob Arabo, Jacob & Co. has fitted a unique construction on the Astronomia Revolution’s base, located on top of the movement's hidden parts and under the satellite trajectory. An array of 18 hexagonal mirrors mimics those on the greatest space exploration instrument designed in recent history. The James Webb Space Telescope’s gilded reflectors capture light that was emitted at the beginning of time. Jacob & Co. crafted a miniaturized version of those reflectors to capture the hypnotizing motion of the Astronomia Revolution in orbit above. Each mirror is made of 18K red gold, polished to the highest degree and slightly tilted at a very precise angle. This shining honeycomb surface is both a nod to space exploration and a tool designed to admire the satellites’ revolutions. Finally, a caseband made of transparent sapphire (under the openworked lugs as well), offers a 360-degree view of the stunning apparatus. Astronomia Revolution even has the most advanced of all second hands in the shape of a long arrow. Its tip revolves on its own axis in 15 seconds and is made of a single, large, pyramid-shaped ruby, showcasing Jacob & Co.'s gemology expertise.
Ushering in the space age
In 2016, Jacob & Co. launched Astronomia, a revolutionary timepiece of unheard-of complication and proportions. In a 47mm case made of gold with a sapphire baseband, the high watchmaking and high jewelry brand set up a vertical, rotating movement whose satellite carriage bears four arms. One is a twin-axis tourbillon, another is a rotating dial fitted with a differential to keep it upright, one is a 288-facet Jacob-cut diamond representing the moon, and the fourth is a magnesium earth globe. All four arms are in rotation around their own axis and around the central axis as they orbit inside the case in 20 minutes. This, incidentally, creates a third rotation axis for the tourbillon carriage. Astronomia has no crown, no central hands, and nothing in common with any other timepiece on the planet. It set a new standard in high complication and showmanship from the moment it took off from the Jacob & Co. launch pad. Subsequent iterations and variations have been speeding up to reach 10 minutes, then 5 minutes per rotation, along with a host of complication, design and size alterations. The time has now come for Astronomia to undergo its most dramatic, technical and design altering metamorphosis. Astronomia Revolution takes the initial space inspiration behind Astronomia and elevates it to a new orbit with a completely redesigned, proprietary movement.
Harnessing the energy flow
Orbiting at the lightning fast speed of one full rotation per minute requires massive energy. For the first time, an Astronomia is fitted with two barrels of exceptional size. But delivering this energy is as critical as storing it. There’s a delicate line between fast and failure. In order to control the massive flow running through caliber JCAM48B, Jacob & Co. has devised a next generation constant force device. Usually, constant force exists in two forms. One is the remontoire. The other is the Reuleux triangle. Both store a small amount of equal energy in a spring in order to deliver it in one-second increments at the most. Astronomia Revolution introduces a whip-based constant force device of exceptional frequency, for which a patent is pending. Every 1/6th of a second, which is the frequency of the balance wheel, the gear train activates a hairspring. It then frees the whip, a star-shaped gear located nearest the fourth wheel. The whip acts as a buffer between the energy flow from the barrel and the tourbillons, which carry the balance wheel. Each time the whip is activated, it transmits the amount of energy needed by the tourbillon carriage for the next 1/6th of a second.
No less, as this would underfeed the balance wheel, which would then run irregularly. No more, which would overfeed the tourbillons and the entire rotating platform, interfering with their intended rotation speed. The transmitted force is kept constant at an unheard-of frequency, a feature specific enough for Jacob & Co. to engrave “1/6' regulation” on the satellite central pillar base. The benefits of this constant force are threefold. Like any other, the regularity of the torque ultimately delivered to the balance wheel results in improved accuracy. Combined with the benefits of a triple-axis tourbillon, this makes the Astronomia Revolution a high-class chronometer. It also happens that, in high power timepieces, a constant force device is the only solution to rein in the energy flow and to avoid undesired effects. It’s simply the only way to make Astronomia Revolution work. Also, a smooth rotation of the entire platform and tourbillons demands a smooth energy flow. Without it, the entire movement would hack in a disgraceful manner. This fine energy regulation allowed Jacob & Co. to maintain an impressive 36-hour power reserve on a massively complex timepiece.
Regulating three-dimensional revolutions
In previous Astronomia iterations, the tourbillon has been twin-axis or single-axis, with a third axis sometimes provided by the entire platform's rotation. And they've always been flying tourbillons, which means they have no upper bridge. In Astronomia Revolution’s case, it’s spinning on two axes, around the first one in 1 minute, around the second one in 15 seconds. The latter is one of the highest speeds ever reached by a tourbillon carriage in watchmaking history. One minute also happens to be the speed of the movement rotation, and 15 seconds that of the arrow's head. A clear sequence of gears allows the viewer to behold the kinetic beauty of this rotating organ. Gazing at the stars has nothing on watching the openworked, Jacob & Co.-designed, highly polished carriage spin in all directions. Since it moves along with the satellite platform to the rhythm of one rotation per minute, Astronomia Revolution ultimately is a bona fide triple-axis tourbillon.
Pointing to infinity and beyond
As the rotating platform inside Astronomia Revolution comes full circle every minute, it acts as a de facto seconds hand. The long, slender steel arrow is the movement's third, balancing arm. Its head is made of 950 platinum set with one large ruby, made by the same process as the ones found inside the movement. Shaped like a spear-head, or a sharp pyramid, it expresses the jewelry face of Jacob & Co. This red arrow is moving at what would be regular speed if it weren’t that of an entire movement. A large hand requires a matching minute track; Jacob & Co. carved it into Astronomia Revolution's bezel – 60 notches, deep and angular like the mouth of a jet engine, act as minute markers. Astronomia Revolution is standing on the shoulders of a unique concept and taking it to the next level in terms of design, complexity, innovation and speed. Initially centered around our solar system like a member of the Astronomia collection, it's traveling so fast it has left the confines of our sun’s orbit to enter infinity.