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Jacob & Co. - The Opera has a new score

Jacob & Co. The Opera has a new score

Jacob & Co. revisits its musical Opera watch with enhancements to its triple-axis tourbillon.

The Opera watch by Jacob & Co. combines different types of mechanical expertise for which Switzerland has been renowned for centuries: those of watchmaking and music boxes. These two very traditional Swiss crafts are accommodated in a highly contemporary design with a case in black titanium and a generous domed sapphire crystal.

There are numerous minute-repeater watches on the market, which can chime the hours and minutes on demand, but only Jacob & Co. produces a tourbillon that can play a melody lasting up to 30 seconds at the touch of a button. For that extra-special touch, the musical treat is accompanied by a visual one: the face of the watch, including the tourbillon, the two cylinders and combs, as well as the subdial indicating the hours and minutes, rotates through precisely 120 degrees each time the melody is played. Regardless of its position, the subdial showing the hours and minutes always remains vertical so that the time can be read easily. 

The Opera watch also includes a triple axis tourbillon that regulates the time of the mechanical movement. Its carriage consists of 97 components, yet it weighs just 1.79 grams. Compared with the first version of the Opera, the tourbillon’s speed of rotation has been increased, so that it rotates about its first axis in 24 seconds, its second axis in just eight seconds and its third axis in 30 seconds, thus offering even greater precision. By far the most remarkable characteristic of this new tourbillon, however, is its sequential rotation. Rather than the fluid motion of a multi-axis tourbillon as one might expect, the triple-axis tourbillon in the manually-wound JCFM04 calibre almost seems to be beating out the rhythm of the melody being played with its unusual staccato rotation.

The Opera has a new score

Opera Jacob & Co

That melody is activated by a pusher at 2 o’clock and is played by two rotating cylinders, both of which have tiny pins precisely arranged around their surface, against two metal combs with blades of different lengths. Each time a pin strikes a comb, an individual note is produced. Between them, the two cylinders and combs, each with 36 teeth, can play a rich and complex melody of up to 120 notes that lasts between 20 and 30 seconds. A separate spring provides the power for this mechanism. This spring is wound by hand in parallel with the mainspring barrel powering the watch movement by turning a guitar-shaped lever on the right-hand side of the watch. The auxiliary spring stores enough energy to play the melody four times before the mechanism needs rewinding. 

Like all Jacob & Co. timepieces, elements of fun abound on this watch, in this case with elements taken from The Godfather. The movement is wound manually using a lever in the shape of a violin case like those used by the mafia to conceal guns. A hand-painted “godfather” figure (complete with cigar) sits at the centre of the dial and watches the movement rotate and the musical accompaniment is therefore quite naturally the theme tune to the film, for which Jacob & Co. have acquired the rights.

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