At Dubai Watch Week 2021, I was able to catch-up with Jacob Arabo, founder of Jacob & Co., and I got to see the new Billionaire Ashoka watch. I’ve always been a Jacob fan and admired what his desire to impress the hard-to-impress has brought to the timepiece industry from an artistic standpoint. His original designs of wildly lavish watches are responsible for many of the most spirited luxury products from the last 20 years. A pop-culture icon as well as a product person, Arabo has both an image and a reputation to uphold. And part of that is as someone who produces extremely opulent status symbols. One of his latest such products is the new “piéce unique” (one-of-a-kind) Billionaire Ashoka watch.
The Jacob & Co. Billionaire watch collection started in 2015 when the original Billionaire watch was debuted on aBlogtoWatch here. The original watch cost $18,000,000 USD (retail price, that is) and at least one of them is known to have been sold to boxing celebrity Floyd Mayweather. Since then, Jacob & Co. has produced a few other versions of the Billionaire, but the collection has remained extremely exclusive and just a few Billionaire watches exist in the world. The latest one-of-kind Billionaire gets its name from Ashoka-cut stones that Arabo refers to as “bullet-cut” diamonds. The Billionaire Ashoka is defined by the particular cut of the stone used to populate its surfaces, as well as its lower price point as compared to the original Billionaire watch.
The Billionaire Ashoka watch is comprised of about 189 carats of diamonds. In this particular piece, the rose-cut diamond in the crown of the marketing images has been replaced with an emerald — along with the accent color on the hands. This is probably because Jacob & Co. was touring the Billionaire Ashoka in Dubai, and green is a very popular color for luxury watches in the region. The entire watch contains over 300 large-sized diamonds, including over 151 carats of 252 Ashoka-cut diamonds in the bracelet alone.
The underlying material for the Billionaire Ashoka case is 18k white gold, which has the diamonds individually hand-set to create the larger motif. The case measures 40mm-wide and 53mm-long. It wears smaller than the original Billionaire watch, for sure, but this is still a very sizeable timepiece. Buyers with serious coin to buy Billionaire Ashoka watches get the watches custom-made to fit their wrists. Given that doing so can decrease or increase the cost of these watches so much, I wonder how something like that fits into the overall purchase price. My inclination is that none of these timepieces is purchased without at least some friendly negotiation.
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The Billionaire Ashoka and original Jacob & Co. Billionaire watches share the same movement, the exclusive caliber JCAM23 manual-wind skeletonized tourbillon. The movement is distinctive for its rectangular shape and architectural skeletonized bridges. The time-only movement operates at 3Hz with 72 hours of power reserve. A traditional tourbillon regulation system is placed at the 6 o’clock position on the dial. The hour markers on the movement are fitted with additional diamonds for decoration. The hands are legible, and surprisingly sporty, for such a lifestyle watch.
Jacob & Co. irritates as many collectors as it does delight others when it creates products like this. Some argue that such overt signs are wealth are impolite in social living. Others applaud the audacity of such products and revel in the fantasy of how enjoyable it would be to wear them. It can’t ever be said that any lack of “dreaming” comes with a fondness for high-end luxury timepieces. Wearing watches like this is a real treat for me not because of their retail price but because of the rarity of such objects in the world. What comes with such high production costs means that very few people in the world will ever get to wear an object that costs this much on the wrist. If you recall from the original article I wrote about the Billionaire watch, I said that wearing it was like having hundreds of supermodel-suitable engagement ring stones on your wrist. Few modern-wearable objects such as watches can achieve that. Price for the reference BL121.30.BD.UD.A30BD Jacob & Co. Billionaire Ashoka watch is $7,000,000 USD. Learn more at the Jacob & Co. website here.