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Jacob & Co. - Ten Minutes With Jacob Arabo: Discover The Man Behind Jacob & Co.

Jacob & Co. Ten Minutes With Jacob Arabo: Discover The Man Behind Jacob & Co.

At the helm of the luxury watch and high jewellery brand, Jacob Arabo reveals his secrets to us.

Having discovered the world of watchmaking when he was only a child, Jacob Arabo began his career as an apprentice with a watchmaker before opening a workshop in New York where he designed collections for jewellery brands and private clients. In 1986, he launched Jacob & Co., a brand then exclusively dedicated to jewellery. In 2002, he began designing watches, which marked the beginning of a new era for the watch and jewellery maker.

Ten Minutes With Jacob Arabo: Discover The Man Behind Jacob & Co.

Jacob Arabo © Jacob & Co.

What first made you interested in the watchmaking business?
When I was just a boy, my father gave me a world time watch and I was fascinated by it. I think this is what led me to develop the Five Time Zone watch, that really started our watchmaking journey.

Then, when I was 14, I helped out in a watchmaker’s workshop, assisting him. I loved all the tiny parts and gears and I was enthralled by his ability to breathe life into a movement, to assemble it and then have it actually tell time.

Ten Minutes With Jacob Arabo: Discover The Man Behind Jacob & Co.

Five Time Zone © Jacob & Co.

What unique quality do you think you bring to your brand?
I think I am fortunate that I approach watchmaking as a watch lover, not a watchmaker. I don’t worry about whether it can be done, I just imagine what my clients and I would be excited to own. Then, I approach the watchmakers and they tell me it is impossible. Then I tell them to try and try and keep trying, and we finally figure out how to do it.

Tell us about an experience that defines your leadership style.
I like to recruit the very best people, guide them, and then let them perform. One example is the China market, where my brand manager for the region has turned that market into one of fastest growing markets in the world for us. Another example is our Geneva boutique, where the managers are doing great things. It’s important to me that my team is challenged and they have definitely responded.

Which watch do you wear most often, and why?
I wear all the watches we produce, mostly as a test so I can live with them before we bring them out. Aside from that, the watch I wear the most is the Astronomia, as that is the most important watch to my company. It revolutionized high watchmaking and now we make a number of different versions of this model.

Ten Minutes With Jacob Arabo: Discover The Man Behind Jacob & Co.

Astronomia Tourbillon, Astronomia Meteorite, Astronomia Black Ceramic et Astronomia Maestro © Jacob & Co.

What have you achieved as CEO that you are most proud of?
I am very proud that I have been able to build a company with almost 35 years of history, with two headquarters, one in New York City and one in Geneva. I am proud that I have been able to assemble a team of the finest professionals in the watch industry.

What is biggest misconception that people have about Jacob & Co.?
I think people are so amazed by our designs and our unique ideas that they don’t realize how advanced our watchmaking is. In the Astronomia, for example, we took what had been a flat tourbillon and made it vertical, and made it turn around the dial. Still, however, it is rooted in traditional watchmaking. We take traditional Swiss watchmaking and turn it on its head.

Ten Minutes With Jacob Arabo: Discover The Man Behind Jacob & Co.

Twin Turbo Furious © Jacob & Co.

On the other hand, what is one thing about Jacob & Co. that is not well known, but super important, in your view?
I have my hand in every aspect of the business. From the materials of the boxes to the choice of colours in our boutiques to the movement designs and the marketing, I review and approve everything. Because my name is on the company, I can’t afford to delegate many of these decisions about design, quality, and more. I am especially involved with our Instagram account. I love being able to communicate directly with our clients and fans.

Give us a one-word (or one-phrase) hint about your future plans for the brand.
I have not yet begun to create.

 

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Jacob & Co. is an artistic visionary Maison that displays boundless creative freedom. Setting a completely new tone, both in terms of design and complications, it celebrates being different.

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