At Watches & Wonders, a $20M Watch Makes Its Debut
Jacob & Co.’s new “Billionaire” timepiece features more than 200 carats of yellow diamonds.
Unveiled at a special event on the first day of Watches & Wonders Geneva, happening now, the “Billionaire Timeless Treasure” features 216.89 carats of fancy yellow and fancy intense yellow Asscher-cut diamonds.
It took the company three-and-a-half years to acquire the stones necessary for the Billionaire Timeless Treasure. A total of 880 carats of rough yellow diamonds were cut to the nearly 217 carats utilized in the final product.
Even the skeleton tourbillion movement has some bling, with its 57 yellow baguette-cut diamonds.
“We browsed the entire world for three-and-a-half years in search of an unprecedented number of perfect gems,” Jacob & Co. CEO Benjamin Arabov said.
“We gathered them here, in our Geneva headquarters, where each one was scrutinized at rough stage, at cut stage, before and after setting. The incredible work done by our gem setters happened entirely here, in Geneva. We’ve combined our expertise in high jewelry with our skills in high watchmaking and used our drive to achieve what has never been done before.”
The Billionaire Timeless Treasure is the first Jacob & Co. “Billionaire” watch rendered in colored diamonds.
The style first launched in 2015 as a bespoke piece and, like its newest model, took years to produce.
Priced at $18 million, it featured 239 emerald-cut diamonds and Jacob & Co.’s signature skeleton tourbillon also utilized in the Billionaire Timeless Treasure.
Billionaire II featured 424 diamonds totaling 161 carats. For the first time, Jacob & Co. included baguette-cut diamonds on the movement, which is repeated in the Billionaire Timeless Treasure.
Another version of the Billionaire featured 714 white baguette-cut diamonds and was offered in a limited edition of 18 timepieces, while an additional style had 134 rubies set on the flange, movement, and crown.
In 2021, Jacob & Co. introduced Billionaire Ashoka, then Billionaire Ashoka Smaller, with a smaller case and bracelet but no shortage of diamonds. It featured 480 Ashoka-cut diamonds totaling more than 100 carats and was released in a limited edition of 18.
Jacob & Co. said the Billionaire Timeless Treasure required a team of 10 to acquire, sort, and cut the gemstones, with the largest diamonds in the final timepiece weighing as much as 2.5 carats.
An additional group of 15 people worked to craft the yellow gold watch structure, set the gems in an invisible style, and encase the watch movement.
“It all seemed impossible,” Head of Gemology Watch Production Seraina Wicht said.
“One, to lay our hands on so many gems of so rare a color and so large. Two, to have all gems meet our demands at the rough, pre-cut stage. Three, to maintain color consistence after cutting. And four, to cut every single one of them so they would fit into their designated place, their little bed of yellow gold. Jacob & Co. challenged itself like never before.”
Wicht said the rarity of yellow diamonds in comparison to white was part of the challenge, with parcels of only a few stones maximum trickling in at a time. Often the team went weeks without receiving a single diamond that was up to their standards.
Additionally, Asscher-cut diamonds have 57 facets and require larger rough diamonds than the average brilliant cut, Wicht noted.
Ultimately, the largest yellow diamonds went to the watch’s case, with 46 stones totaling 55.15 carats.
The large amount of waste from the 880 carats of rough diamonds was due to the need to precisely match each stone’s color, the company explained.
Adding to the colorful story is an array of 76 tsavorite garnets framing the clear dial that reveals the caliber JCAM39 skeleton movement.
The garnets were custom cut into emerald and kite shapes.
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