Monochrome Watches
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Jacob & Co. Astronomia Everest, Climbing Mount Everest with an $800,000 watch on the Wrist

Wearing a triple-axis tourbillon on Everest's slopes.... Why not!

| By Xavier Markl | 3 min read |
Jacob & Co. Astronomia Everest

Always be prepared for the unexpected with Jacob Arabo… The founder of Jacob & Co. is a sworn enemy of convention. Technically complex and artfully crafted, the Astronomia triple-axis tourbillon concept has given birth to surprising watches… to say the least! The Phoenix, the Octopus or the Casino are all eloquent examples of the versatility of the model. Yet, the Astronomia is not what you’d consider as an outdoor, instrument kind of watch. But it didn’t stop Jacob & Co. from creating the Astronomia Everest that was worn by Swedish explorer Johan Ernst Nilson on a recent expedition to the Himalayas.

Jacob & Co. Astronomia Everest Johan Ernst Nilson
Johan Ernst Nilson, near the Everest, his Jacob & Co. Astronomia Everest on the wrist

A Swedish explorer, Johan Ernst Nilson has climbed the Seven Summits, visited 172 countries and some of the most remote places on Earth. He is known as an “environmental explorer” because of his interest in environment and climate-related issues. Announcing a partnership with Nilson, Jacob & Co. found a great occasion to create a new version of the Astronomia, with the idea of highlighting the need to protect our planet.

Based on the Astronomia Sky, the Astronomia Tourbillon Three Poles/Everest movement is customized with a piece of Mount Everest rock on top, while two capsules contain water from the North Pole and the South Pole – these were all collected by Nilson himself. The watch comes in two limited editions and 24 pieces in total to match the 24 time zones of the Earth – 12 pieces come in black gold with a black Celestial Vault and 12 pieces in white gold with a blue Celestial Vault.

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From a technical perspective, the impressive three-dimensional movement of the Astronomia relies on the same principles as previous models. Housed under an impressive sapphire dome, this captivating microcosm stages four animated satellite arms in constant motion:

  • a 1-carat Jacob-cut diamond (or black sapphire, depending on the version) rotating on itself in 60 sec
  • a magnesium lacquered Earth globe with luminescent oceans, rotating on itself in 60 sec
  • an openwork dial providing an orbital display of the hours and minutes and featuring the captions Everest, North and South
  • finally, a tourbillon rotating on two axes in 60 seconds and 5 minutes respectively (plus a third central-axis in 20 minutes), which orchestrates this captivating ballet

As for the other versions of the Astronomia, winding and time-setting are performed via two lift-out rotating “bows” at the back of the case.

Jacob & Co. Astronomia Everest Johan Ernst Nilson

I wore the regular Astronomia Tourbillon on my last climb to the Himalayas, where I went up to 6,200 meters (almost 20,000 feet), in -30 C degree, extreme conditions,” Nilson says. “I used the Astronomia on the climb in order to test it. You would think that such a complicated watch would be delicate and fragile, but it isn’t, and it performed perfectly in all conditions.

The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Everest is presented either on a glowing or dark rubber strap fitted with a gold buckle matching the material of the case. The watch retails for USD 884,800 (a nod to the altitude of the Everest). Included in the purchase of the watch are two elements. First, 10% of the price will be donated to charity to help make a difference now. Second, each watch includes an expedition with Nilson, by helicopter, to the place on Mount Everest where the rock was found.

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9 responses

  1. If he were a real environmentalist he wouldn’t being going on endless rich poseur eco-tourist trips that are harmful to the natural environments they go to by their very nature. Of course he’s wearing a USD 884,800 watch. Sir Hillary carried a humble Smiths on his climb to the summit back when it actually counted for something.

  2. I’m looking forward this idiotic bobble of UNREASONABLE expensive watches to BURST

  3. If I were Nilson I would be embarrassed to have worn such an expensive watch climbing Everest.
    It paints the image of him at base camp sleeping in a motorhome surrounded by tents. Bad form.
    Jacob & Co. make beautiful watches yet elevation and temperature can be tested in a lab. Everest summit is 8848m ( 29,029ft ) He seems to have only gone 257m past camp one if he climbed to 6200m. I hope it had nothing to do with his timing.

  4. Senseless, useless and irrational watch with no horological value at all. Waste of time and effort in my opinion.

  5. These iterations are getting ridiculous. I think the brand is suffering. Time to retire the besotted calibre.

  6. I wonder what would have happened if he stepped out his tent fell over and smashed it ?
    I can’t see another one being flown in for him.

  7. In reality, the micro sized “rock” from the Everest is insignificant in size, even much smaller than what would get cut in the sole of boots, and this is a super limited series, so no harm done to nature there.
    And about those negative comments I bet you’d love to own one of these incredible marvels of technology.

  8. Didn’t Kobald run into a bunch of trouble for using stone from Everest to make their dials?
    “Regulations forbid the removal of natural objects from Everest, A UNESCO Word Heritage Site and part of Sagamatha National Park”.

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