One of the American jeweller-watchmaker’s flagship models, the Jacob & Co. Astronomia has just received an update that improves the highly complex watch in two folds. The Astronomia Revolution sports a streamlined styling to showcase the most important features, namely the architectural movement and the mechanics which have been upgraded with an incredibly fast remontoire system that charges and discharges six times per second, a revolutionary innovation that lends its name to the model.
Debuting in 2014, the Astronomia is one of Jacob’s earliest technical marvels – the origin of the watch was straightforward, as the founder wanted a timepiece that would set Jacob apart from its peers in terms of technical proficiency, and the Astronomia doesn’t disappoint (although some of the gemstones are so striking that it’s possible to miss the impressive mechanisms surrounding them).
A key feature of the Astronomia is the architectural movement, with a vertical tower and horizontal arms mounted on a central carrier that rotates around the dial once every 20 minutes in the original iterations.
In the latest Astronomia Revolution, however, the rotational speed of the carrier has been increased to one revolution per minute, equivalent to a typical tourbillon. Bringing all exposed components of the movement around the dial, the carrier is now more visually interesting than ever with the high-speed rotation. And because of the one-minute revolution, the entire movement also doubles up as a seconds hand, making it the first Astronomia with a rotating carrier that actually tells time.
Another technical improvement of the Astronomia Revolution, and certainly the more significant, is the new remontoire system that’s patent pending. According to the brand, the new remontoire system charges and discharges six times per second, or one time for every time the escape wheel moves forward by a tooth (as the movement is 3 Hz, with six back and forth movements of the balance wheel per second, so the escape wheel will move forward by six teeth per second). That’s extremely fast considering the typical rate of discharging is once every second. As a result, the remontoire manages to take the meaning of the word quite literally and deliver a constant amount of energy to the balance wheel at every single beat.
To add to the watch’s impressive mechanics, the Astronomia Revolution’s tourbillon remains a triple-axis construction. Its cage rotates once every 15 seconds, while the entire assembly rotates around the axis of the arm every minute, and the movement itself moves around the dial once a minute as well. This gives the tourbillon three unique axes of movement, which is an impressive feat considering the fast rotations.
Despite the technical additions, the styling of the Astronomia Revolution has been streamlined. Gone are the multiple large gemstones and celestial painted dial used to showcase some astronomical information. Instead, the watch retains only a ruby that completes one rotation every 15 seconds, which is faster than previous models. The dial is a clean, high-polished surface cut with a honeycomb pattern. Altogether, the Astronomia Revolution feels more down-to-earth in its design, moving away from its usual high jewellery style, but with enough details to be interesting.
Like the Casino Tourbillon that was unveiled recently, the Astronomia Revolution proves that Jacob & Co. can deliver complicated, creative, and bold watches in a satisfyingly clean and focused manner. This release also proves that fun watches can be seriously technical. The original Astronomia already had an impressive movement construction that cleverly displayed the intricacy of a watch movement above the dial. With the Astronomia Revolution, the brand takes it up a notch with a focus on speed, featuring the fastest rotating carrier in the line up, and one of the fastest tourbillons created, with a period of just 15 seconds. However, the true standout is the 1/6th second constant-force device, which is a world first.
Jacob & Co. Astronomia Revolution
Movement: JCAM48B; manual; 36 hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Case: 47 x 27 mm; 18k rose gold, white gold, or DLC-coated white gold; water resistant to 30 m
Strap: Black Cordura strap
Price: US$ 600,000
Availability: 6 pieces for each material