Some high-end wristwatches are showcases of technology and craftsmanship, but others try to throw a bit of fun into the mix as well. One example is the Jacob & Co Opera watch, which ditches conventional chimes in favor of a complete 120-note music box that plays on demand. And if that isn't enough, the mechanism rotates around the dial in a tiny ballet as it plays.
Even at first glance, the Opera isn't going to be mistaken for an everyday watch – or even a watch at all. Its mechanism is displayed under a cake cover of a sapphire crystal showing its two huge pin-studded cylinders and pair of tuned metal cones. In the more ornate variants, the latter are covered in a tiny grand piano top and metallic music stand.
The Opera comes in three variants and two finishes. One is a simple version showing off the movement and the other two have decorative covers with either a tiny dancing couple or (of all things) a miniature Don Corleone from The Godfather. These figures act as spectators when the pusher at two o'clock is pressed, the music box plays a melody and the entire assembly, including the subsidiary time display, rotates 120º around the dial in 20 seconds. Jacob & Co says this required the installation of a central flywheel to counter the weight of the music cylinders.
This rotation also includes the bespoke, manually-wound JCFM02 caliber's Triple Axis tourbillon that does its own little ballet with its inner cage turning every 40 seconds, the middle cage every three minutes, and the outer cage every eight minutes. In addition, a patented differential gear system is used to keep the subsidiary dial and hands in the proper 12 o'clock orientation as the dial rotates.
The 43mm, 646-piece, 52-jewel, 21,600 vib/h (3 Hz), manually-wound movement relies heavily on titanium for proper sound propagation as well as steel, brass, and platinum. It has a 72-hour power reserve and boasts bridges and plates in a black PVD finish. The music box cylinders are plated in rose gold.
The works are sealed in a titanium and sapphire case with a choice of black PVD or 18K rose gold finish. The winding and time-setting duties are taken up by two bows on the case back. It's water resistant to 3 ATM (100 ft, 30 m) and is secured with a black alligator leather strap with folding clasp.
The Opera is available in a limited edition of 18 units priced at CHF 300,000 (US$305,000).
Source: Jacob & Co.
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