Jacob & Co. is reentering the digital space with the launch of a new NFT and physical watch collection that takes full advantage of the metaverse. The collection, “Astronomia Metaverso,” was created in partnership with UNXD, an NFT marketplace for luxury and culture. Appropriately, the collection builds upon Jacob & Co.’s storied Astronomia line, with its myriad depictions of the universe, while extending it into a digital, crypto-native future.
Jacob & Co. revealed the first three of the eight watches in the collections on Wednesday, all of which are inspired by and named after the planets of the solar system (with the exception of Pluto). The first three watches are Venus and Mars, being released as one-of-a-kind physical timepieces with accompanying NFTs, and Saturn, which will be released solely as 30 distinct NFTs. All of the physical and digital watches will be sold on UNXD.com.
It’s the second venture into the digital space by the luxury watch and jewelry brand. In April 2021, Jacob & Co. was the first luxury watch brand to launch a timepiece NFT, which fetched $100,000 at auction.
(full disclosure: I recently worked at Jacob & Co. for nearly a year)
This new bespoke collection draws inspiration from what Benjamin Arabov, Jacob & Co. CEO, describes as “crypto comic culture,” using a custom comic and cinematic movie telling the story of the collection’s creation. In the story, Jacob & Co. scientists accidentally tear a hole in the fabric of space and open a wormhole into a mystical digital metaversal clone of our galaxy. Watch pieces from the lab are sucked into the wormhole and form asteroids in the metaverse. These asteroids crash into the metaversal planets inspiring their design (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune). After landing, we discover that each asteroid has reconstituted into a unique watch inspired by its planet — a collection of watches forged from the shards of the metaverse. Experience the full comic and cinematic movie.
“Astronomia Metaverso asks watch enthusiasts and crypto collectors alike to indulge their imagination while enjoying the finest craftsmanship in watchmaking and unlocking new experiences with the Jacob & Co. brand,” Benjamin Arabov says. “Each NFT represents a uniquely designed digital collectible piece of art with special digital and experiential privileges for the holders. However, five of them also have the power to be redeemed for an original physical watch, while the remaining three have splintered into multi-edition variants.”
Each watch in the collection was designed by Jacob Arabo, founder and chairman of Jacob & Co. It features eight distinct designs (one for each planet), with both digital and physical versions. The watches from the five closest planets to the sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter) have been produced as one-of-a kind physical watches (which include an NFT of the watch), while the three most distant planets (Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) have splintered into multiple digital-only variants.
The five one-of-a-kind physical and the digital timepieces will be sold sometime in the spring. The physical watches of the first five planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter) will be auctioned to the highest bidder. The collection of variants for the last three planets (Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) will be sold at fixed prices.
Shashi Menon and Nick Gonzalez, the co-founders of UNXD, are impressed not only the NFT offerings but the fact that physical luxury watches with high complications will be a major part of this launch.
“The physical watches show a deep commitment by Jacob & Co. to do something truly innovative in this space,” Menon said. “We’re excited by this deeper commitment into this space and we think collectors will respond.”
Digital, physical and experiential benefits
The NFT watches also function as a membership pass that provides the owner future digital, physical and experiential benefits, allowing the owner to participate in future Jacob & Co. digital activations. Drawn from the metaverse, each NFT returns with a special set of digital powers.
Digital – Each NFT includes high resolution renders that capture the artistry of these unique watch pieces. The three most distant planets (Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) feature multiple variant designs, creating greater scarcity within the collection.
Physicals – Owners of NFTs from the five closest planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter) will claim the physical watch.
Experiences – Membership via the NFT includes access to an exclusive slate of events and activities.
Each physical watch features a unique dome design that sits on top of the movement and below the crystal glass. The dome concept was created as Jacob Arabo’s interpretation of how he visualizes each planet in his watches.
For Ben Arabov, this launch represents the continuation of the innovation that has set his father, Jacob Arabo, and his brand apart from other Swiss watchmakers since its founding 36 years ago.
“Jacob has done a really good job innovating and disrupting before those words become cool. This is the second generation entering this space and creating a new path for Jacob & Co.,” Ben Arabov said. “Over the past 30 years, there were flat timezone watches and watch complications. This is the next phase and next step and I came into this business to bring this new world to the public.”
The watches unveiled for the initial launch are as follows:
Astronomia Metaverso – Mars
Case: 44mm 18K Rose Gold and Sapphire; Base of the dial features an aventurine outer frame with a red mineral finish floor. A rose gold dome set with semi-precious colored stones; a Mars Rover, and a space habitat both set with white diamonds.
Movement: Exclusive manufacture Jacob & Co. manual winding JCAM19 with gravitational double axis
Power Reserve: 48 Hours
Functions: Hours and minutes, Jacob Cut red sapphire rotating in 60 seconds
Dial & Hands: Red mineral crystal dial with rose gold hands
Astronomia Metaverso – Venus
Case: 44mm 18K white gold and sapphire; Base dial features an aventurine outer frame with a pink mineral finish floor. A unique rose gold artistic dome set with yellow sapphires, pink sapphires and white diamonds.
Movement: Exclusive Manufacture Jacob & Co. Manual Winding JCAM19 with gravitational double axis flying tourbillon.
Power Reserve: 48 Hours
Functions: Hours and minutes, Jacob Cut pink sapphire rotates every 60 seconds
Dial & Hands: Pink mineral crystal dial with rose gold hands
Astronomia Metaverso – Saturn NFT
Limited to 30 digital variants
Case: 44mm black DLC titanium and sapphire; Base dial features an aventurine outer frame with a purple mineral finish floor. A unique yellow gold artistic dome set with yellow, orange, purple and green sapphires with a white diamond ring represents Saturn’s moons.
Movement: Exclusive manufacture Jacob & Co. manual winding JCAM19 with gravitational double axis flying tourbillon;
Power Reserve: 48 Hours
Functions: Hours and minutes, Jacob Cut purple sapphire rotating in 60 seconds
Dial & Hands: Purple mineral crystal dial with rose gold hands