April 14, 2015
by Ariel Adams
I am going to talk about a patently lavish, intentionally outrageous, and easily offensive timepiece covered in diamonds that I am kind of into. This totally one-of-a-kind creation is new for 2015 and is the Jacob & Co. Billionaire watch that founder Jacob Arabo produced in collaboration with Italian Flavio Briatore’s Billionaire fashion label. I first wrote about the Jacob & Co. Billionare Watch with more background information here.
Let me be rather clear that I am not the type of person who Jacob & Co. thinks will be able to purchase this watch. For one thing, I don’t have a spare 18,000,000 Swiss Francs laying around, and if I did, I would likely have other things to do with it. Let’s put that number into perspective a bit. In most parts of the world, 18,000,000 Swiss Francs (which usually turns out to be a bit more in US dollars, given typical currency exchange rates) can buy you a really nice home (or mansion, villa, etc…). You can also buy a really nice Yacht, and perhaps a cool plane or two. Let me put it a different way that might make more sense to people who aren’t in the yacht-buying mood that often.
If you invest 18,000,000 Swiss Francs rather conservatively and make only… say, 7% per year on it, that is 1,260,000 Swiss Francs per year. That is about $1.3 million dollars at the current exchange. Meaning that if you spend all of the interest income per year, the price of the Jacob & Co. Billionaire watch will let you live on $1.3 million dollars per year (give or take) for ostensibly the rest of your life. Sure, there are taxes involved in that, but that is a really nice way to live for the majority of people on this planet. Being set for life… or this assortment of 260 carats of large, baguette-cut diamonds on what apparently is my too-small wrist to wear and enjoy; this ultimate reminder that you can buy and sell people without giving it much thought. That’s sort of the brand Jacob & Co. is, in case you haven’t been paying attention.
The Jacob & Co. Billionaire doesn’t so much feel like a watch as it does a crown – only one that you wear on your wrist rather than on your head. It might not be something everyone considers pretty or even tasteful, but it sends the right message and is probably not the most comfortable thing to wear. Comfort is really beside the point, no king ever praised the comfort of wearing a heavy piece of gilded metal on their head. If you are the privileged person who wears the Jacob & Co. Billionaire, then I believe you have an obligation to do so in order to warn the people around you about who you are, and that obligation extends to its large-size and girth. Though, for people with more Schwarzeneggerian-sized wrists (I know because I’ve seen his wrists first-hand) the Jacob & Co. Billionaire may likely fit quite nicely. Well, maybe it isn’t that large, but in many ways, this is a timepiece that feels larger than life.
While it is difficult to measure the watch size because the case melds seamlessly with the bracelet, according to the brand, the Jacob & Co. Billionaire watch is 47.5mm wide and a hefty 58mm tall (long). The 18k white gold case is somewhere down there under the diamonds, and the bracelet gracefully slopes down from the case rather than dropped down immediately in a way that might make it fit better. Its more like a massive diamond-covered bangle bracelet. You, theoretically, could remove bracelet links as one would on most other watches with bracelets… but in this case, do you really want to reduce that 260 carat count? I think you owe it to the careful creators and gemologists who toiled on this timepiece to maintain its full dimensions whilst wearing it. So I am not going to suggest removing any links for sizing purposes.
In person, the Jacob & Co. Billionaire watch is surprisingly approachable. While you may have a different opinion on its design, this is not an ugly item. In fact, in its own particular way, I find the Jacob & Co. Billionaire watch to be rather beautiful. The quality is excellent, and the stones are all impossibly clear and of a good color. Baguette-cut diamonds don’t refract light like brilliant-cut ones, so looking at the Billionaire watch isn’t a blinding ordeal of sparkles. Instead, the size and shape of the diamonds really allows you to appreciate the beauty of each. Its like wearing dozens of engagement ring stones for the world’s most beautiful women all at the same time on your wrist. Part of the appeal of a timepiece like this is the accumulated meaning people ascertain from what it all means, and what else you could do with the sum of its parts.
At the end of the day, the Jacob & Co. Billionaire watch is still a luxury timepiece and Jacob & Co. has not forgotten that. The movement inside of the Jacob & Co. Billionaire is the exclusive to Jacob & Co. caliber JCAM09 manually-wound tourbillon-based and skeletonized mechanical movement. The movement operates at 3Hz and has a power reserve of 72 hours. The dial does in fact have hour markers (which are likely the smallest diamonds on the entire watch) and very easy to see blued-steel hands. The architecture of the movement is quite attractive, and lends itself well to the entire composition that is the Jacob & Co. Billionaire.
By the way, I love the fact that literally the entire watch crown is a diamond. In fact, so little of what you can see is the actual white gold case, that most of what you experience with the Jacob & Co. Billionaire watch outside of the dial is just diamonds.
I can understand how some people would be intimidated by a watch like the Jacob & Co. Billionaire. It does take a degree of bravery (not just financially) to consider even putting it on the wrist. Not everyone is comfortable with the type of attention and persona that it will convey. That is a major responsibility, and items such as this which exude decadence and luxury are the closest things to magical items that exist in the real world. There is a very real magical effect that the power of the Jacob & Co. Billionaire watch will have on all the people around you – whether or not that is light magic or dark magic.
Imagine a day walking around wearing it. Would you be alone? Could you be alone? Would people stare? Would they comment? Will they follow you? Want you? This sounds silly, but these are real question and considerations around not only a watch that does have a retail price of over $18,000,000, but a watch that actually looks like it has a price of over $18,000,000. There is the larger world of stealth-wealth Patek Philippe and A. Lange & Sohne watches which can easily cost over a million dollars and don’t really look like it to most mortals, and then there are watches like the Jacob & Co. Billionaire which evoke a very real and very pure sense of wealth living – the type that people love to hate, the type that people love to covet, and the type that the mainstream is infinitely fascinated with.
Outside of industrial purposes, diamonds are pretty useless stones on their own. It is their visual beauty and story about Earth-grown rarity that draws us to them. As I stated above, there is a bit of psychological magic in the human relationship with diamonds that most people are familiar with. So just multiply that by several hundred times to realized the true magical power of the Jacob & Co. Billionaire. I only hope that whoever owns it ends up being on the side of light versus dark. jacobandco.com