True to the brand’s reputation for extravagant showmanship, Jacob & Co. launches the world’s first decimal minute repeater in a transparent sapphire crystal case. It’s not the first minute repeater in a transparent sapphire crystal case; that distinction goes to Speake-Marin’s Légèrete, a one-off piece produced in 2019. However, the Jacob and Co Twin Turbo Furious Sapphire Crystal is the first minute repeater in a sapphire crystal case produced in series, and not just any sapphire crystal case, mind you, but a complex case from the Twin Turbo Furious collection housing twin triple-axis tourbillons and a monopusher chronograph. Again, not just any minute repeater but a decimal minute repeater, a rara avis among chiming complications. Three timepieces from the Twin Turbo Furious collection, in limited editions of six pieces, including a “Bugatti Blue” model, provide a compelling view of the complex machinery propelling the complications.
As a master of extreme watchmaking, Jacob Arabo is not daunted by ‘impossibles’. The more, the merrier seems to be the underlying philosophy at Jacob & Co., where the wildest combination of complications and the most insanely shaped cases come to life. The Twin Turbo Furious, with its staggering melange of complications, is not a new product. It was released during Baselworld 2018 in a black DLC titanium and carbon fibre case and featured: an hour and minutes dial at noon with small seconds indicator at 9 o’clock; a monopusher chronograph with minutes counter at 3 o’clock and central seconds hand; reference time inspired by racing pit boards; a decimal minute repeater that chimes on the hour, every 10 minutes and minutes; twin triple-axis high-speed tourbillon; and a power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock.
The next step was to take that smorgasbord of complications and house them in a transparent sapphire crystal case. Inspired by supercars and high-performance automobiles, the streamlined case of the Twin Turbo Furious widens and rises at the base to accommodate the 3D spectacle of the twin tourbillons. It features a slider on the left side to activate the decimal repeater and a crank on the crown to adjust the complications.
The complex sapphire crystal case of the Twin Turbo Furious posed an enormous challenge. The unique five-sided 57mm x 52mm case of a ‘regular’ Twin Turbo Furious has 88 components; this sapphire version has 89. Developing the case in sapphire crystal took 15 months to design, produce and perfect and involved growing the sapphire crystal from aluminium oxide, then shaping the case through a combination of high-tech numeric machinery and traditional hand polishing. Machining the different geometric planes and angles of the case, including the signature twin bezel, were complicated tasks, but so was hand-polishing the crystal to achieve its transparency. The only part of the case that isn’t made of the sapphire crystal is the 18k white (or rose) gold crank at 3 o’clock that winds and sets the complications. The three watches are differentiated by the coloured chapter ring made of Neoralithe, a material produced from resin and developed in Switzerland. With a choice of red, green or blue, the material is resistant to UV light, thermal and physical shocks. The Jacob and Co Twin Turbo Furious Sapphire Crystal watch has a ‘Bugatti Blue’ Neoralithe chapter ring and features the company’s logo on the front.
Getting an exotic decimal minute repeater inside a sapphire crystal case – a world first – is another complex task, and compromises in the watch’s design were made to allow for the gongs and hammers, all the while ensuring the high-quality sound. A decimal minute repeater chimes the time in a more intuitive way than traditional minute repeaters. Rather than chiming hours, quarters and minutes, it chimes the hours, ten-minute intervals after the full last hour and then the minutes. A crystal lever on the left side of the case activates the crystal-clear sound of the decimal repeater’s cathedral gongs. The hammers of the decimal minute repeater can be seen at 12 o’clock.
The twin tourbillons regulating the time display and chronograph spin through space in a succession of lightning-fast yet controlled movements. Depending on two regulating organs, the ultra-lightweight cages rotate at 24, 48 and 180 seconds along three axes of rotation. Each triple-axis tourbillon is made of 104 components and weighs only 1.15 grams.
Again, easy solutions are not a hallmark of Jacob and Co Twin Turbo Furious Sapphire Crystalwatches. The chronograph, as you would expect, is of the monopusher variety and fitted with a traditional column wheel and horizontal clutch. However, the stopwatch mechanism incorporates an original reference time indicator in minutes and seconds that can be set at the crown. The pit board feature, inspired by timekeeping panels used in motor racing events, is an easy way to compare two elapsed times. Elapsed seconds that are greater than the reference time are in the red portion (+) of the pit board, while seconds times that are lower are in the yellow and green section (-). An opening in the dial just above the twin tourbillons indicates a reference time in minutes and seconds that can be set via the crown (up to 5 minutes and 59 seconds). The pit board wheel then displays the difference in seconds compared to the reference time when timing an event.
So that you don’t miss any of the action inside this staggering timepiece, the dial is made of dark grey sapphire crystal, partially revealing some of the 832 components of the manual-winding engine. The hours and minutes are indicated by two-tone skeletonised hands driven by gears connected to the twin triple-axis tourbillons. The indices corresponding to the central seconds hand are applied to the peripheral track of the dial picked out in either green, blue or red Neoralithe and treated with Super-Luminova, like the hour and minute hand.
The manual-winding movement – calibre JCFM05 – is exposed from all sides of the case and worthy of admiration. Running at 21,600vph, the movement can generate up to 50 hours of power reserve. With 832 components, 75 jewels and Haute Horlogerie finishings – hand-angled and polished plates and bridges, circular graining and polished screws – the integrated chronograph movement is equipped with a patented double mechanical safety feature that is activated during chiming.