By Lisa van de Geyn
The story behind the brilliant, innovative, exquisitely designed jewellery and timepieces created by Jacob & Co. is one of those feel-good, inspirational tales that seems more like a dream than reality. That’s the story of Jacob Arabo — the creative genius, founder and chairman of Jacob & Co. His successful eponymous brand has designed and manufactured the most impressive timepieces for decades, and his passion for watches is second to none.
Arabo was 13 when his father gave him a special watch: It showed two time zones and had a gold-plated map of the world on the dial. And so began his fascination with timepieces. At 14, he and his family left Uzbekistan for the US, hoping for a better life. His first summer in America, he worked as a watchmaker’s apprentice. “He soon learned to take a watch apart and see how they work from the inside. His passion for watches just grew from there as he became acquainted with how elaborate and complicated watch mechanisms can be, even on the simplest of designs,” says Benjamin Arabov, CEO of Jacob & Co. and Arabo’s son.
Taking into consideration his passion for watches, it wasn’t long before Arabo decided to learn more about jewellery-making. Initially, he worked in making mass-market jewellery, but found it wasn’t creatively stimulating at all. In his off-hours, he let his imagination run wild and started designing and manufacturing pieces in his bedroom. “My father has always had a massive entrepreneurial streak with a natural eye and talent for designing beautiful jewellery. Having worked in that factory made him adamant that he only wanted to create stunning original pieces that are as removed from mass-produced as possible,” Arabov says.
People started taking notice of his designs and workmanship and his side gig became more lucrative than his full-time job. After dabbling in jewellery-making, he returned to his original love of watches and designed the “Five Time Zone” watch, which allows the wearer to change the look of the piece with different straps and bezels. It was a game-changer in and for fashion watches. A few years later, he designed the first vertical tourbillon with a 31-day power reserve. Always innovating, Arabo wanted to make timepieces that couldn’t be found anywhere else — he wanted to differentiate himself and his brand. That’s been the driving force behind Jacob & Co.’s continued success, Arabov explains. “We’ve held onto that since the company’s inception, and it’s still what fuels the brand today. With creativity also comes our relentless pursuit for turning the impossible into reality. Every timepiece we introduce to the world aims to break new ground and introduce never-before- seen innovations that are meant to shape and define the future of the high watchmaking space. This goal has remained unchanged since 1986.”
For the last 36 years, the company has grown exponentially, adding new luxury pieces to the collection and growing in terms of expertise, “creating complicated yet sophisticated mechanisms and movements,” Arabov adds. Jacob & Co. has been a mainstay in the horology world for good reason — the brand remains faithful to its original values of innovation, creativity and inspirations. “Being a pioneering and risk-taking company is central to our growth and future. The brand is where it is today because of the original and evolutionary leaps we’ve made in the last three decades. My father started this company and turned it into an American dream success story with his hard work and unique vision.”
Today, Jacob & Co.’s timepieces are known for being pure masterpieces — staggering works of art. Each one tells a story that reflects Arabo’s vision of the world. The iconic pieces are absolute marvels. The Astronomia Tourbillon, for example, features an “animated rendering of the celestial world, with different elements in constant motion under the control of a double (or triple) axis tourbillon regulator,” explains Arabov, while the Epic SF24 is described as the world traveller’s watch — highly complex and challenging to engineer and manufacture but functional and simple to use. The Opera Godfather watch, in partnership with Paramount Pictures, celebrates the iconic film The Godfather and features a mechanical music box that plays the movie’s theme. The Billionaire watch, though, might just be the perfect mix of complexity and luxury. “It has a grand total of 177.11 carats consisting of of 325 emerald-cut and baguette-cut diamonds that make up the case and bracelet of the Billionaire, containing Jacob & Co. JCAM09 skeletonized tourbillon calibre,” Arabov says. “Our pieces are known worldwide for being beautifully detailed and singular. Our brand carries an obvious respect for the best of traditional watchmaking combined with avant-garde elements that are made possible with modern-day technology.” Collectors the world over are Jacob & Co.’s greatest fans.
To learn more about Jacob & Co.’s exquisite timepieces, visit jacobandco.com, and for Canadian queries, discover Knar Jewellery at knar.com.