Former Romain Jerome CEO Yvan Arpa has joined New York-based Jacob & Co. as COO. During Arpa’s tenure at Romain Jerome, the brand produced some of the most provocative timepieces of the decade, including one made from pieces of the Titanic, another priced at $300,000 that did not tell the time, and the moon dust-laced “The Truth About Roswell”. Jacob & Co. is best known for large, colorful, jewel-encrusted watches often worn by celebrities and hip-hop stars.
In 2006, Jacob & Co. ventured into haute horlogerie (courtesy of now-defunct BNB Concept) with the groundbreaking Quenttin watch, which featured a 31 day power reserve and a vertical tourbillon.
Jacob & Co. is also known for its colorful namesake founder Jacob Arabo, born Yakov Arabov, better known as Jacob the Jeweler. In June, 2008, Arabo was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $2 million for lying to officials during an investigation into a drug and money-laundering operation. A judge later reduced Arabo’s sentence by seven months, citing his charity work.
Recent headlines indicate that Arabo is suing Kenneth Starr over $14 million lost in various investments, and Arabo is pursuing rapper and Hatian-presidential-hopeful Wyclef Jean in court to recover more than $300,000 allegedly owed for items Jean purchased from Jacob & Co., including Rolex and Chopard wristwatches.
Given what Arpa and Arabo have cooked up separately, it’s hard to imagine what these two chefs might prepare working in the same kitchen. A watch than tells the time on 5 planets? Watch cases made from Biggie’s SUV? We should find out at Baselworld 2011. Stay tuned.