I get a lot of grief from peers in this industry about liking certain watches. Because of my reputation as a technical nerd of galactic proportions (I’m not even talking Star Wars, Big Bang Theory, Katy-Perry-with-braces kind of cool nerd; I’m talking pocket protectors and table-top wargaming kind of ultimate mouth-breather nerd), I’m somehow expected to shun all watches that even aspire towards some level of aesthetic refinement.
Well, I don’t, and I don’t see why I — or anyone else, for that matter — should pretend to dislike jewellery watches in order to be taken seriously.
This category is called “The Guilty Pleasure”, but really it ought to be called “The Watch Everyone Unfairly Pressures You Into Pushing Aside In Favour Of Something That’s Not Even That Much Better, Only That It’s Made By A Historical Maison.” On second thoughts, I’ll probably stick with the former label.
The Jacob & Co Billionaire is far more than a mound of emerald-cut diamonds wrapped around an openworked tourbillon movement. I’m not going to plunge into the details of sourcing, cutting and setting all these high-grade stones. Firstly because I don’t know the least thing about diamonds, and secondly because this is not a jewellery discussion.
This is a watch discussion.
The movement, made by Concepto (check out the signature tri-pedal click-winding-stem-spring visible through the transparent caseback), is fearfully and wonderfully skeletonised, suspending the heavy-duty parts of the movement in an arachnid web of gossamer-fine struts. The barrel cover is also pierced in the same aesthetic, and the achingly slender tourbillon cage brings a balletic grace in delicate counterpoint to the strict — almost censorious lines of the openworked movement bridges.
I may not know much about jewellery or diamonds, but I do know that the Billionaire delivers a dose of pure crystalline exuberance that no horological elitist can deflate. Negativity crumples up against its adamantine exterior. Maximum score on Moh’s scale of hardness, bitches!
It helps too that the stones are emerald cut, which emphasises clarity instead of brilliance. You can actually see the watch, which is a totally sharp move. You have 260 carats of diamonds, but they’re not shouting in your face all at once, they’re just chilling out max and relaxing all cool. (Ice cool.) So, yeah, a lot of people make snap judgements about jewellery watches and they expect you to as well, but that’s just not my bag, you know? I really like the Jacob & Co. Billionaire and I’m not embarrassed about it.
So, yeah, bite me.