Jacob Arabo, founder and chairman of Jacob & Co., came to the USA from the former USSR because his family wanted a better life. His father and mother emigrated to the USA with Jacob and his four sisters with nothing but what they could carry, and Jacob soon set out to make the most of this opportunity. Jacob Arabo began his journey in the world of fine jewelry and timepieces as an apprentice with a watchmaker that first summer in America, which is where he forged his fascination with timepieces.
Soon after, Mr. Arabo took advantage of a program for immigrants and received jewelry training. He found a $125 a week job at a local factory. He excelled at assembling jewelry, but putting together someone else’s designs wasn’t satisfying for him.
So, after work, he began designing his own pieces and manufacturing them, using a makeshift workspace in his bedroom. His designs caught on and he started to develop a clientele. He was soon making more money with his side business than his job.
A short time later, with a solid customer base, Jacob quit his day job and opened a small booth in New York City’s bustling diamond district and began designing collections for jewelry brands and private clients.
In 1986, Mr. Arabo launched his own luxury label, Jacob & Co. He was forging a name for himself, but in the back of his mind, he still thought about watches.
Once Mr. Arabo found success with his jewelry business, he came back to watches. He started with the Five Timezone watch, where clients could change the look of the watch when they wanted to with different bezels and straps.
A photo of supermodel Naomi Campbell with the Five Timezone watch put Jacob & Co. on the map for watches. In the meantime, his jewelry business was very successful, with celebrity customers clamoring for his unique designs.
After a few years, Mr. Arabo e designed a world first, a vertical tourbillon with an outstanding 31-day power reserve, the Quenttin. Film director Quentin Tarantino picked up a Quenttin of his own, and wore it on the cover of Vogue.
The SF24, the Epic X skeleton, and flying tourbillon baguette watches followed, then Jacob & Co. introduced the groundbreaking Astronomia Tourbillon in 2014.
Though Jacob & Co.’s high complications often turn tradition on its head, the brand is still applying concepts fundamental to horology. Inspired by making the impossible a reality, the brand has carved out a niche that is unique in both jewelry and high watchmaking.
All along the way, Jacob & Co. has partnered with the best, including celebrities, supercar maker Bugatti and legendary footballer Lionel Messi.
Jacob Arabo has gone from rags to diamonds and tourbillons, and he’s not going to stop anytime soon. The brand is committed to pushing the limits of high horology and high jewelry. Echoing the words of American hero Captain John Paul Jones, Mr. Arabo says, with a smile, “I have not yet begun to create.”