The story of Jacob & Co is one that continues to delight and astound luxury aficionados. Born in Uzbekistan during the Soviet era, Jacob Arabo’s family immigrated to the United States, settling in New York in 1979.
The youngest of five siblings, Jacob dropped out of high school, enrolled in a six-month jewellery-making course, and eventually opened a small booth in New York City’s Diamond District, starting his own business at age 21.
This is where it gets interesting. Jacob’s innovative self-designed pieces caught the attention of the late great Notorious B.I.G., who quickly became one of his biggest (no pun intended) clients and introduced him to many of his celebrity friends. Throughout the 90s and early 00s, all the biggest hip-hop artists in America were either wearing or rapping about Jacob: 50 Cent, Diddy, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams…
Jacob then decided he’d try and crack the watch world. Indeed, it was watchmaking that a young Jacob first fell in love with, having served an apprenticeship with a watchmaker during his first year in America. After initially being turned down by Swiss suppliers, he came up with his own quartz model, the Five Time Zone, which also became a celebrity favourite – worn by David Beckham, Michael Jackson and Naomi Campbell, just to name a few – and established Jacob & Co as a watchmaker as well as a jeweller.
These days, Jacob & Co’s watches are made in Switzerland and typically feature not only some genuinely innovative complications but also an absurd amount of bling… As well as pop culture nods most watchmakers wouldn’t dare feature on a piece of haute horlogerie. Jacob & Co counts brands and properties as diverse as Bugatti, Batman, The Godfather and The Fast and the Furious as collaborators.
They describe themselves as “a combination of haute horlogerie and extreme extravagance” – which is a fair description. Unbelievably over-the-top but horologically impressive, they’re not for everyone… But a lot of watch fans are, well, fans. And very soon, Aussies will be able to shop these watches locally.
MAD & Associates, who are also the importers for fellow independent watch brands MeisterSinger, SevenFriday, Qlocktwo and Raketa in Australia and already handle Jacob & Co imports in the UK, are set to announce local retail plans and are confident that Jacob & Co will find success Down Under.
“The local market is incredibly strong, especially the top end… I think consumers are scrambling for the next product and obviously, with the unquenched appetite for Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Rolex, they are now looking outside of those brands,” Nicholas Hooper, Managing Director for MAD & Associates Australia, tells AFR, adding:
“We have been very surprised at the amount of interest here, instant interest and for what we call the pinnacle pieces – the really high complication, high jewellery, exceptional pieces.”Nicholas Hooper
Jacob & Co joins a surprisingly long list of ultra-high-end watchmakers who’ve launched in Australia over the last few years. Other big names include Roger Dubuis, which opened its first standalone boutique in Sydney last year; A. Lange & Söhne, which came Down Under in 2019; and Greubel Forsey, which is now carried by J Farren-Price.
Like those brands, Jacob & Co watches don’t come cheap. The entry-level Epic X starts at around $30,000 AUD overseas, although local pricing hasn’t been announced yet. Safe to say, you’ll need a wallet that hits harder than Conor McGregor to afford these timepieces.
Source : DMARGE