Jacob & Co. is a luxury brand that creates watches and jewels for the world’s most famous entertainers and athletes as well as for royalty and the business elite. Its clients throughout the world are truly the top 1 percent in income and status who appreciate the very best luxury experiences.
In 1986, at the age of 21, Jacob Arabo launched Jacob & Co., which began business as jewelry brand in the New York City Diamond District. In the 1990s his clientele included a number of-and-coming Hip-Hop artists. Many rose to become internationally celebrated entertainers who continued to go to Mr. Arabo who in turn created more impressive and more expensive jewels for them. He convinced male Hip-Hop stars to replace big yellow gold chains with big diamonds. He partnered with these artists to create bespoke pieces. These entertainers wearing his jewels became the source of worldwide publicity on the runway, red carpets, magazine covers and just about everywhere else where the rich and famous are photographed.
With his success secured in the jewelry world, he turned his focus to watches, which he was passionate about since he was 13 years old when his father gave him a world time watch. So, it is no coincidence that the first watch he created was the Five Time Zone. The quartz-powered travel watch with colorful contemporary dials, as well as interchangeable bezels and straps was both a fashion statement and a usable tool to travel the world with. It was a hit with the international jet-set crowd. A photo of supermodel Naomi Campbell with the Five Timezone watch put Jacob & Co. on the map for watches.
With the success of the Five Time Zone, Mr. Arabo moved into the world of haute horlogerie. In 2007, he founded Jacob & Co. SA, based in Geneva.
His first Swiss-made timepiece in 2007 was the Quenttin, the first watch with a vertical tourbillon and a 31-day power reserve. It was a hit and launched Mr. Arabo’s career as a Swiss watchmaker.
What followed was a list of trailblazing timepieces. In 2013 Jacob & Co. unveiled the Epic SF24, a world time zone timepiece with a patented mechanical retro-style split-flap system that displays the time in 24 cities around the world.
Less than a year later Mr. Arabo created what was to become his most important timepiece: the celestial themed Astronomia Tourbillon. It featured an exposed four-arm vertical movement that rotates around a central gear and four exclusive satellites, each rotating on its own axis.
“The Astronomia revolutionized high watchmaking, '' he says. “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 took traditional Swiss watchmaking and turned it on its head.”
Jacob & Co. watches continued to become more complex. In a novel partnership with Paramount Pictures, Jacob & Co. released the Opera Godfather, a musical watch that plays the theme of The Godfather movie on demand. It is combined with iconography from the film and a host of other functions. This was followed by a partnership with NBC/Universal for the Opera Scarface musical watch, which pays homage to the famous film starring Al Pacino.
In 2018, Jacob & Co. unveiled The Twin Turbo Furious that combines two triple-axis sequential high-speed flying tourbillons, a decimal minute repeater, a monopusher chronograph, and a pit-board style mechanical reference time differential indication. There has never been a combination of complications presented in a single watch in the history of Swiss watchmaking.
A year later Jacob & Co. signed a long-term partnership with Bugatti “to create unique, never-before-seen timepieces.” Together they unveiled the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon, the first luxury watch in history to have a fully working replica of the Bugatti W16 engine.
In 2021, Jacob & Co. introduced three Twin Turbo Furious timepieces that featured both a fully transparent sapphire crystal case and a decimal minute repeater, a first in Swiss high watchmaking.
In nearly every case, Mr. Arabo was told that his timepieces couldn’t be made. But he eventually found Swiss watchmakers who are willing to turn his unusual ideas into reality.
“I think I am fortunate that I approach watchmaking as a watch lover, not a watchmaker,” he says. “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.”
His acceptance as a Swiss watchmaker was boosted in 2019 when three Jacob & Co. watches were selected as finalists for the prestigious 2019 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG). In 2020, four Jacob & Co. watches were named as finalists. In 2020, Mr. Arabo was named as a member of the GPHG Academy.
During this time Jacob & Co. has grown from a single kiosk to an international luxury brand with flagship boutiques and points of sale at prestigious watch retailers throughout the world. In 2022 Jacob & Co. moved its branded boutique in Geneva to Rue du Rhone, the most important shopping street in the city.
Jacob & Co. has surpassed 20 years as a watchmaker and 35 years as a jewelry company. Despite the immense growth of the brand, Mr. Arabo says his goals are the same as when he started his company.
“It's about making the impossible a reality. I have achieved this goal beyond even what I thought was possible,” he says. “I still have endless enthusiasm toward creating things that haven’t existed before and I enjoy what I’m doing to think that far into the future. As far as I’m concerned, the best is yet to come.”