Hands-on Jacob & Co. Epic SF24 – A Different (and Spectacular) Take on the Traveller’s Watch

A split flat display of 24 time zones animates the dial of this travel companion.
ic_query_builder_black_24px | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Xavier Markl | 4 minute read
Jacob and Co Epic SF24

Jacob Arabo, the founder and chairman of Jacob & Co., has a taste for the spectacular and for doing things in a different way. His take on the travel watch cannot leave you indifferent. It is a timepiece like no other. The aptly named Jacob & Co. Epic SF24 is a unique looking timepiece, highly technical, functional, practical and playful at once. Certainly not for everyone but admittedly impressive when it comes to the way it displays time indications.

Jacob and Co Epic SF24

If on one hand, the SF24 watch is bold and highly innovative, it is also infused with a good dose of travel nostalgia. SF stands for Split Flap, as the 24 time zones are displayed on split flaps reminiscent of the displays once used in airports or train stations – on one side 24 cities, on the other the corresponding 24-hour time indication. Pressing the pusher located on the left side of the digital GMT indicator advances its display by one-hour increments – one click for one time-zone. Scrolling the different cities one by one is really pleasant. It is visually cool, highly practical and legible. Just watch the short following video that will say more than any long speech.

Setting the Epic SF24

Using the Epic SF24 is simple. First set your local time zone city on the split flap pressing the side pusher. Set the local time at the crown pulled out in position 2 (it will drive the hours, minutes and the hours). Voilà, you are set. To consult the time in the different time zones, simply press the split flap pusher until the desired city is displayed.

Adjusting the local time when travelling is very simple too. Upon arrival in a different time zone, just set the name of the city of your time zone in the split flaps. Pull the crown in position 1 (it will drive the hour hand only). Adjust the hours to the local time on the dial.

From a technical perspective, the SF24 is much more complicated than it might appear. The innovative movement is a world-first developed with master watchmaker Luca Soprana and patented by Jacob & Co. Overall, the movement comprises no fewer than 473 components and needed 18 months to be fully developed. It had to address several technically complicated challenges, in particular, the miniaturisation of the split flaps mechanism and its integration into a watch movement.

A picture took on Luca Soprana’s workbench during the development phase of the SF24 split flap mechanism. On the right, one of the first prototypes.

Split flap boards are always vertical while a wristwatch must operate in all positions, which adds an extra level of complexity. To do so, the mechanism commanding the flaps is based/inspired on that of jumping hours. The gear visible in the right-hand-side corner of the dial is the cam triggering the hourly jumps. The two series of flaps also need to work in sync, which requires a perfect indexing.

Operating at 4Hz, the calibre JCAA02 is self-winding, which is a practical feature you would expect from a travel watch. It can store up to 48 hours of power reserve.

As you can imagine, the Jacob & Co Epic SF24 has a strong presence on the wrist and it really makes an impression. It looks good and it wears quite comfortably despite its quirky design and rather imposing dimensions. The split flaps cylinder is in fact pretty well integrated. The crown has been moved to 4 o’clock for enhanced comfort. Fashioned out of gold or titanium, the case is 45mm in diameter and 13.65mm thick (16.70mm for the split flaps). It features rubber inserts on the flanks.

The construction is technically complex, with several shaped sapphire crystals. All of them feature double-sided anti-reflective coating for optimal legibility. There is also a side window on the cylinder providing a cool view of the racks driving the flaps.

On the backside, the see-through caseback features a metalised Jacob and Co. décor paired with a latitude/longitude pattern. While the view on the automatic movement is slightly obstructed, its reflections are really eye-catching. The movement is decorated with Geneva stripes and perlage and the screw heads are polished. The rotor is skeletonised and features a Jacob and Co. logo.

Jacob and Co Epic SF24

The SF24 is worn on an alligator strap with a quick-release spring bar system to easily remove and exchange it. It is secured by a folding buckle.

In the end, the Jacob & Co Epic SF24 does everything you expect from a travel watch. Being truly unique and different, it won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it is, without a doubt, super practical, highly functional and impressively engineered. Prices start from CHF 66,000 for the titanium versions to CHF 88,000 for the gold versions. There is also a tourbillon version starting at CHF 175,000 in DLC-titanium. Several personalisation options are available, for instance, the choice of the cities displayed. For more information, please visit www.jacobandco.com.

Jacob and Co Epic SF24 TOURBILLON
The tourbillon version of the Jacob & Co Epic SF24.

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