The two famed watch companies Jacob & Co., and Bucherer BLUE, celebrated for their innovative and dazzling designs, along with Sotheby’s, the world’s premier destination for art and luxury, have joined forces in the spirit of exploration to send a special timepiece into the unmapped vastness of space before going up for a charitable auction this summer. Named the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE, the unique watch, a marvel of Swiss craftsmanship and the decorative arts, was the first triple axis tourbillon to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.
On April 8, from the Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Axiom Space launched a four-person team to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The flight named AX-1, returned off the Florida coast on Monday, April 25. A crew member on this historical mission was Eytan Stibbe, an impact investor and philanthropist, leading the Israeli designed Rakia mission to space. He had the distinction of carrying along the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE.
The Rakia mission, along with the Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE, spent 17 days 1 hour and 37 minutes in space, as the space crew orbited the Earth 273 times at an altitude of 250 miles at nearly 17,500 mph, traveling over 7 million miles in total.
With its return from space, the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Bucherer BLUE is set to embark on a public exhibition tour in New York City, first stopping at the Bucherer 1888 TimeMachine from July 11 – 17. From there, moving to exhibition at Sotheby’s New York galleries from July 21-25, before heading to the auction block in a single-lot dedicated live auction on July 26.
On offer with no reserve- and bidding starting at $1- proceeds will be donated to benefit charities, with further details to be announced at a later date. While the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Bucherer BLUE traveled to space and back on a single mission, the timepiece’s impact, because of this special sale, will reverberate for generations.
“Bucherer BLUE is our platform for bringing to life daring projects with innovative partners. Together we strive to create the extraordinary and celebrate drive and curiosity of our NextGen customers,” says Patrick Graf, Chief Commercial Officer of Bucherer. “Jacob & Co.’s exceptional timepieces, imaginative power, and can-do attitude makes possible what seemed impossible before. Powered by the internationally renowned Sotheby’s, this collaboration brings the Bucherer BLUE philosophy to a whole new level and we are incredibly excited that the Astronomia Bucherer BLUE went up to space, pushing boundaries beyond the expected.”
The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Bucherer BLUE is truly a watch of wonder, imparting an otherworldly quality. The complex movement, for one, is a gravitational triple axis tourbillon. The dark blue starry background mirrors the deep, captivating color of the firmament (“Rakia” in Hebrew) and the pronounced domed case, made of anti-reflective sapphire crystal, essentially features a microcosm: four satellites turn in constant motion, including the dial, tourbillon cage, a spherical diamond that reflects the moon, and a magnesium lacquered globe that reflects the Earth. All finished in the Bucherer BLUE color scheme, this timepiece is galactic to the core.
“The Astronomia tourbillon is a truly unique, groundbreaking timepiece that elevates the art of watchmaking above the Earth, above time,” says Jacob Arabov, Founder & Chairman of Jacob & Co. “So the very idea of sending this special Astronomia into space, as you can imagine, was very exciting. It’s only fitting that the Astronomia Bucherer BLUE ends up revolving around the Earth. The watch had the same viewpoint on us as we usually have on it. This reversal is typical of the way I envision the creation of timepieces.”
According to crew member, Eytan Stibbe, the Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE timepiece continued to accurately display the time during the launch and return to earth, enduring extremely high G-forces and also micro-gravity while in space.
“From our first dedicated Space Exploration sale in 2017 to our auction of Omega Speedmasters in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, Sotheby’s has been a pioneer at bringing together the world of space and watch collecting, offering some of the rarest examples in each category,” says Josh Pullan, Head of Sotheby’s Global Luxury Division. “We’re thrilled to be part of this journey, which marks the first haute horological tourbillon to travel into orbit. The shared spirit of innovation brought Jacob & Co, Bucherer, and Sotheby’s together for this project and we are honored that the auction of this special timepiece will also benefit charity.”
The timepiece is already a captivating watch, but as the first triple axis tourbillon to reach the exosphere, its allure is even more entrancing. It is categorically one-of-a-kind. Along with the Astronomia tourbillon, Jacob & Co. and Bucherer are also honoring the greater involvement of the private sector in space exploration with the release of the EpicX Bucherer BLUE Edition, a skeleton watch that also nods to interstellar travel. The limited-edition manual timepiece, which was inspired by the mission, will be available for purchase exclusively in the U.S. at Bucherer. The exclusive 18 pieces feature an eye-catching blue honeycomb strap and a titanium caseback with an engraving of an astronaut, clad in a spacesuit and helmet, gazing at the Earth from space.
Both the Astronomia and EpicX are two watches that imbue innovation, exploration, and a belief that, through partnership, possibilities are boundless, a belief that anyone has the ability to go beyond time and space.