Chief architect's favourite subject in school puts design on map Celebrity endorsement rarely fails to hurt a product's sales, as the public likes to have a slice of what the rich and famous have. This is certainly true for Jacob & Co, which has had the likes of David Beckham, Elton John, Naomi Campbell, Karl Lagerfeld and Sean Combs publicly wearing the brand's creations as if they were, well, going out of fashion. The signature flash, whimsical and bold timepieces of chief executive and chief architect Jacob Arabo has seen the brand's reputation as watchmaker to the stars escalate in the four years since the first Jacob & Co watch collection, the Five Time Zone, was launched. That first creation was the beginning of the adulation thrown at him by celebrities. 'Some brands try to place their products in the hands of celebrities, but celebrities have come to my shop from the launch of the first Five Time Zone, and they keep asking for more,' said Mr Arabo, adding that he was surprised by the response from such high-profile people. This year, Jacob & Co adds to that line with the launch of the brand's third multiple time zone automatic movement, the Titanium Five Time Zone Automatic. With its titanium case and rubber strap, the watch is more refined than previous models, but it can also be dressed up by fitting in an interchangeable diamond bezel. The dial is finished in black guilloche with diamond-accented numbers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock. Earlier this year, an extension of that line, The World Is Yours, was named Best Travel Watch by Travel + Leisure magazine. The watch has a diamond dial featuring a map of the world using different coloured stones to form the continents and oceans. The design was inspired by Mr Arabo's love of geography, which was his favourite subject at school. 'It was really satisfactory to receive that recognition and appreciation of my creation,' Mr Arabo said at the Basel fair. 'When I design, I design for myself. Money is the last page on the book for me. When I put a watch on my wrist, it is for the appreciation of the piece. So to be recognised by Travel + Leisure was wonderful.' Riding on the success of the collection is the 'New' World Is Yours, introduced at this year's fair. It makes a bold statement between textures and modern and classic designs. The face departs from the original full pave diamond affair and is replaced by diamond-heavy continents combined with oceans made from smooth enamel in cappuccino browns and cobalt blues or mother-of-pearl. 'With the Five Time Zone, you wear the world on your wrist,' Mr Arabo said. The watch, driven by quartz ETA movements, displays the primary time and the time in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Paris. The design indicates a new direction for the brand, which is to take a classic and evolve it to appeal to an expanding luxury audience with diverse tastes. Mr Arabo's next challenge is to prove himself as a maker of complicated watches. That process began with the launch last year of three complicated men's watches: the H-24 Five Time Zone Automatic, the World GMT, and the Rainbow Tourbillon. The latter marked a world first in its integration of a tourbillon device with multiple time zone functions. This year, Mr Arabo adds to his complications with a vertical tourbillon (see limited editions, page 3). 'When I am in Switzerland, I spend time with our watchmakers. I say: this is what I want, can you make it work? It's the watchmakers who make the concept work.'