Jacob & Co. stunned the world’s watch collectors, press, and other assorted onlookers when it revealed its latest Billionaire Watch—the new $20 million Jacob & Co. Billionaire Replica Watch Treasure—in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday night. The piece, unveiled during the annual Watches & Wonders exhibition, quickly became the talk of the tradeshow. That’s not just because it’ll take pockets deeper than the Earth’s mantle to afford, but also due to the slow and painstaking process of sourcing rare yellow diamonds, cutting them, and setting them within an intricate gold bracelet. Oh, and, you know, engineering a skeletonized tourbillon watch that will actually tell the owner what time it is. The timepiece has been in the works for three and a half years, with much of that time dedicated just to finding enough yellow diamonds of the same color and quality to decorate the bracelet, bezel, dial, and crown of the watch. Jacob & Co. Billionaire Replica Watch.—which assembled a special team of 10 people to find, sort, and cut the gems—claims that it nearly emptied the world’s existing supply of these ultra-rare stones. “With white diamonds, we receive lots with dozens or hundreds of gems, Seraina Wicht, the company’s head of gemology watch production, said in a statement. “For Billionaire Timeless Treasure, we were receiving stones one by one, two by two, three at the most. It happened several times that we spent several weeks without receiving a single one that was worthy of the piece.” When it found all the necessary rocks (about 880 carats of stones in the rough), Jacob & Co’s gem cutters in Geneva trimmed them all down to the correct size, producing 425 fancy yellow and fancy intense yellow Asscher-cut diamonds weighing just shy of 217 carats. The company’s gem-setters produced a gold lattice that allowed all of the stones to be invisibly set—at a quick glance, they don’t appear to be held together by anything other than what they have in common—and combined them with the 76 bright green, emerald-cut and kite-cut tsavorites that surround the watch’s movement. (It’s the same rare version of garnet that sparkles all over Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest Jacob & Co. acquisition, the one-of-one Caviar Flying Tourbillon “Tsavorites”.) But perhaps the coolest detail of the watch is its least obvious: If you flip it over to view the movement through the sapphire caseback, you’ll notice that the word “billionaire” is engraved with a smiley face in the letter “o”—proving that even though this is a pretty serious watch, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
If you’re not a diamond guy, you might think the watch might be a hard sell. But some of the world’s best-known men have already bought—and actually wear—previous examples of the Jacob & Co. Billionaire Replica Watch, which has been produced in understandably limited quantities since 2014. DJ Khaled and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather both own one set with white diamonds—Mayweather has said on Instagram that he paid about $18 million for his.
All that’s to say that if you’re betting this outlandish work of jewelry and horological mastery won’t find a home anytime soon, you might just lose.
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 Jacob & Co. Billionaire Replica 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.