Gambling, the act of wagering something of value in hopes of getting more of said value in return through a game of chance, has fascinated us for centuries, millennia even. The earliest known six-sided dice date back to 3,000 B.C. for instance. Betting on fitting animals was a common practice in ancient times, but non-violent gambling games date back centuries as well. Among the games you can find in a present-day casino, most can be traced back to the Middle Ages, albeit modernized in some way, shape or form. One of the most popular gambling games is roulette, originating from the 18th century, as many historians believe French mathematician and inventor Blaise Pascal introduced a primitive form in his search for a perpetual motion device. The literal spin of a wheel providing a chance to win big or lose it all has fascinated us ever since. So much so, that Jacob & Co scaled it down to the size of a wristwatch, the captivating Casino Tourbillon.
spinning the wheel
The general concept of any gambling game is the risk versus reward system. Roulette, named after the French term for ‘little wheel’ is one of the most popular games of gambling and incorporates a spinning wheel and ball system, with slots from 0 or 00 to 36. Betting is done on individual numbers, odds or evens. black versus red, a group of neighbouring numbers, a section of the betting board, etc. Usually, there’s a minimum and maximum betting limit although a no-limit table gets rid of that if you want. The payout can be anything from 1:1 to 35:1, depending on how much risk you’re willing to take. Betting on an individual number limits your options, but significantly ups the payout, obviously. You have a 50-50 chance when betting on odds versus even, or black versus red numbers. Narrowing down the scope of your bet will dramatically cut down on the probability of winning.
Roulette is an open game of probability so there is a chance you end up lucky and escape with minimum losses or even a win. Hit it big though, and you can walk out with 35 times the amount of money you came walking in with. That very sensation is what drives many people to take a risk, calculated or not. Just don’t go in and expect to come out a millionaire and be disappointed when things haven’t exactly gone according to plan, as more often than not, the house will win. Perhaps your best bet, pun fully intended, is to invest in a watch that lets you determine the stipulations instead. A watch like the Jacob & Co Casino Tourbillon for instance.
The Casino Tourbillon scales the classic roulette game down to a 44mm size that can be strapped to the wrist. The cool thing though, is the fact it remains a fully functional game. ready to play whenever you want. A push button with an elongated guard, shaped somewhat like a traditional slider on a minute repeater, spins the wheel, upon which the little white ceramic ball is flung around and will eventually land on a single number. What that will imply though, is entirely up to you. Perhaps it’s to determine who picks up the bar tab between you and your friends, or who will be the designated driver before you head out for a drink. And if desired, official roulette rules can be applied as well of course, if you’re fortunate enough to take on the role of the house in the instance of a payout.
The spinning wheel is mounted on a set of miniature ceramic ball bearings in order to spin as smoothly as possible. The wheel has 37 slots in total, in the typical Monaco style with a single green 0 slot and numbers ranging from 1 to 36 in black and red. The little white ball is flung around inside, thanks to the sloped flange with diamond-shaped deflectors to enhance the ‘bounce’. When it lands on a specific number and you or your mates have put a bet down on that number, someone wins! Pretty cool, and lots of fun to play around with. Mind you, it needs to be put level in order to have a fair game of course.
Now, the Casino Tourbillon is first and foremost a wristwatch, meaning it can and should tell perfect time. And it does, thanks to an elevated black onyx dial with gold indices and a pair of gold hands for the hours and minutes. This is pushed up against the crystal as much as possible in order for the roulette ball not to interfere with the hands and get jammed between the crystal and the dial. That would certainly ruin the fun! All this is set into a rather wearable and, per Jacob & Co standards at least, fairly simple-looking 4mm wide polished rose gold case. The height of 16.3mm is still quite substantial but needed to give space to the roulette complication. It lacks a traditional crown, as it can be wound and set with a pair of flip-up keys just like in the Astronomia Revolution.
A mostly hidden marvel
The Casino Tourbillon uses the in-house developed JCAM51 manually wound movement, which is almost completely hidden from sight. Usually, Jacob & Co likes to expose the mechanical extravaganza in its watches but in this case, the roulette game fittingly has the lead role. However, the caseback does reveal the flying tourbillon escapement, finished with stylized roulette wheel slots that bear the Jacob & Co name on the tourbillon cage. Furthermore, the caseback is decorated with sections of a roulette wheel in relief on three appliques held in place with screws.
The movement is constructed out of 286 individual components and runs at a rate of 21,600 vph. When fully wound using the left-sided flip-up key, it can hold a very decent 72 hours of power. Flip it back down, and flip up the right one in order to set the time on the front. It’s a pretty clever and easy-to-use system and keeps the dimensions of the watch relatively in check, at least compared to the Astronomia collection for instance. The entire movement is developed from new, with only the roulette module being borrowed from the Astronomia Casino released in 2020.
Worn on a black alligator strap with a rose gold deployant buckle, the Jacob & Co Casino Tourbillon is limited to 101 pieces and will cost you USD 280,000. That’s a big chunk of change of course, but at least the fun and functional roulette system lets you win some of it back from whoever dares to take on the challenge. But keep it sensible, as you don’t want to squander your pension or lose your kid’s college fund in the process!
For more information, please visit JacobandCo.com