Jacob Arabo

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Jacob Arabo
Born
Yakov Arabov

(1965-07-03) July 3, 1965 (age 56)
NationalityAmerican
OccupationJewelry and watch designer
Known forJacob & Co Master Of Time

Jacob Arabo (born Yakov Arabov[1][2] on June 3, 1965) is an American jewelry and watch designer who founded Jacob & Company in 1986 and grew it to become an international luxury brand. He is best-known for creating watches that are unlike any in the Swiss watch industry, with movements and complications that have never existed before.[3] He began strictly as a jeweler with bold designs that appealed to celebrities who became regular clients.[4]

Early life[edit]

Arabo was born in Tashkent, Uzbek SSR, Soviet Union as the youngest of five children and the only male.[2][5][6] As a youngster, he helped his sisters repair their jewelry.[1] He credits taking a photography course at the time, which gave him an understanding of design principles.[7]

His interest in watches began at the age of 13 when his father gave him a world time watch.[7] A year later he had a part-time job assisting a watchmaker. According to Arabo, he "loved all the tiny parts and gears" and was "enthralled by his [father's] ability to breathe life into a movement, to assemble it and then have it actually tell time."[1]

In 1979, at the age of 14, he and his family emigrated to New York City, looking for a better life and freedom from the communist system.[8] They lived in Forest Hills, Queens, and he attended Forest Hills High School.

His father worked several jobs but had difficulty earning enough to support his family. Because of family difficulties, at the age of 16, Arabo discontinued his formal education before completing high school and enrolled in a six-month jewelry-making course.[9][10] He graduated four months later.[11] He found work at a local wholesale jewelry factory that made mass-market pieces earning $125 a week. By the time he was 17 years old he was designing his own pieces at night in his bedroom while working at the factory during the day.[7][12]

Career[edit]

As a teenager, Jacob Arabo was working for a traditional jewelry manufacturer in the New York City Diamond District on 47th Street and making his own jewelry in his family's house at night. Eventually, he moved his makeshift workshop to a permanent factory in the Diamond District. At this point, Arabo specialized in gold jewelry, creating his own designs. However, he was still working for clients within the jewelry industry by producing traditional jewels for distributors and retailers.[13]

In 1986,[14] at the age of 21, Arabo founded the retail jewelry company Diamond Quasar,[15] doing business under the Jacob & Co brand making his own designs for private clients.[16] By the early 1990s, he had established his own kiosk in New York's Diamond District. His innovative pieces caught the attention of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., who gave him the moniker "Jacob the Jeweler," and introduced him to his entertainment friends.[17] The moniker has also appeared in rap songs by Jay-Z, Nas and other rappers.[12]

Arabo started collaborating with entertainers on custom designs. In the 1990s, he was one of the first jewelers to create big diamond jewels for men, a trend that is mainstream today.[17]

Hip-hop artists who were Arabo's clients included Sean "Puffy" Combs, Biz Markie, Jay-Z, Drake, 50 Cent, and Big Sean.[18] Other clients include various prominent entertainers and athletes, including Madonna, Rihanna, Pharrell, Elton John, David and Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayek, Sofia Vergara, Michael Jordan, Mariah Carey and Canelo Álvarez.[19]

Arabo created a quartz watch collection called the Five Time Zone in 2002, which combined bold primary colors with multiple time zone technology and was worn by both men and women.[20] Naomi Campbell, Bono, Angela Bassett, Derek Jeter, and other celebrities have worn watches from the collection.[21] One of the features of the Five Time Zone Watch was its interchangeable bezel, in which a stainless steel bezel can be replaced with a bezel paved with diamonds. The watch was highly customizable, and Arabo made several versions of the watch for his clients, including Leonardo DiCaprio for his charity and designer Virgil Abloh.[22][23][24]

Arabo moved from the Diamond District to a mine-inspired flagship boutique at 57th Street and Park Ave in 2004.[25][26]

In 2007, Arabo founded Jacob & Co. SA in Geneva, Switzerland, and introduced his first high-watchmaking timepiece, the Quenttin. It was the first watch to have a vertical tourbillon and a 31-day power reserve, at the time the world's longest power reserve.[27][28][29] In October 2007, Arabo was charged for falsifying records and lying to investigators. In June 2008, he was sentenced to 30 months and released in April 2010.[30]

In 2013, Arabo created the Epic SF24, a two time zone watch that uses a patented fully mechanical split-flap system to display the time in 24 cities around the world. Inspired by the old split-flap board at airport and train terminals, it was the first time a system like this was used in a mechanical watch.[31]

Arabo's company Jacob & Co. released the celestial-themed Astronomia Tourbillon in 2013, initially introduced at Baselworld 2013.[32] By 2016, there were 99 iterations of the Astronomia Tourbillon.[33]

In 2019, Arabo was invited to create the crown and serve as a judge for the Miss World America 2019 pageant. The crown was crafted of 18k white gold and adorned with 164 carats of Colombian emeralds and 95 carats of diamonds.[34]

Legal Issues[edit]

Arabo was arrested in 2006 on accusations that he and others conspired to launder about $270 million in drug profits for the Black Mafia Family. These charges were eventually dropped and in June 2008 Arabo plead guilty to a lesser charge of falsifying records and giving false statements as part of a deal he struck with federal prosecutors. The judge sentenced Arabo to a 2.5 year sentence in federal prison and ordered him to pay a $50,000 fine and an additional $2,000,000 as forfeiture to the US government.[35]

Magazine features[edit]

Arabo was featured in a 2016 cover story in the watch magazine Revolution, titled "The Man Who Would be King."[36] He was also featured in the watch magazine GMT in a 2018 story titled "Jacob & Co.: Spectacular Horology."[37]

Television[edit]

Arabo has also appeared in Explained - Diamonds, a 2019 Vox and Netflix documentary TV show.[38]

Awards[edit]

Jacob & Co.'s watch, "The World is Yours", was a 2006 Travel + Leisure Design Award winner.[39]

In popular culture[edit]

Arabo was featured in the 2004 video game Def Jam: Fight For NY, in which the players' hip-hop characters compete to earn cash with which they can buy jewelry from Jacob the Jeweler.[12]

He is also well known in the entertainment industry for his unique jewelry designs and is mentioned in several hip-hop songs as "Jacob the Jeweler" or just "Jacob"[40][41]

I went to Jacob an hour after I got my advance / I just wanted to shine.

I took you outta Jacob's in clusters / Busters, they wanted to rush us / Love the way you sparkle when the sun touch ya.

Take her to the diamond district, introduce her to Jacob / Tell her if she like me she should keep me icey.

— 50 Cent, "Get in My Car"

Jacob the Jeweler, baubles, Lorraine Schwartz, oughta do / It's big balling baby, when I'm courting you.

— Beyoncé ft. Jay-Z, "Upgrade U"

Big was the first one that had it / Now Jacob the Jeweler benefit from my habits.

— Big Sean, "First Chain"

And we 'bout to hit Jacob the Jeweler / So I can be like Slick Rick, and rule ya / Dr. Martin Louis the King, Junior.

100 bottles of Crys in the cooler / I'm frozen thanks to Jacob the jeweler.

Turnin' Jacob to a dentist

— A$AP Ferg, "Mazel Tov"

In 2020, Arabo made a cameo appearance in Drake's "When To Say When & Chicago Freestyle" music video.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Arabo married his wife, Angela — who is also Bukharian Jewish — when he was 24.[2] The couple lives in Forest Hills, Queens, in a brick Colonial house they bought for $1.17 million in 1999.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Ten Minutes With Jacob Arabo: Discover The Man Behind Jacob & Co". WorldTempus. Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  2. ^ a b c Nancy Jo Sales (November 2006). "Is Hip-Hop's Jeweler on the Rocks?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2019-12-24.
  3. ^ says, Gil (2018-10-10). "Jacob & Co – The Method Behind the Madness". Monochrome Watches. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  4. ^ Brookins, Laurie (2018-04-27). "Jacob & Co. Shows Off Its Newest Treasure". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  5. ^ Sales, Nancy Jo (17 October 2006). "Is Hip-Hop's Jeweler on the Rocks?". Vanity Fair. No. November. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  6. ^ "Jspace Sits Down with Jacob Arabo from Jacob & Co". jspace.com. Jspace News. 2014-08-09. Archived from the original on 2014-08-09. Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  7. ^ a b c Jacob & Co
  8. ^ Bruner, Raisa; Verrill, Courtney (2016-05-20). "A day in the life of Jacob the Jeweler, the man behind the world's wildest jewels and watches". Business Insider. Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  9. ^ Living, Haute (2011-11-02). "One on one: A sparkling success". Haute Living. Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  10. ^ Bergstein, Rachelle (2016-09-16). "The Founding Father of Bling. How Jacob Arabo became hip-hop's diamond king". Medium. Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  11. ^ "Leaders in Luxury: Jacob Arabo of Jacob & Co". Elite Traveler. 2020-02-14. Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  12. ^ a b c Staff, Jpsace. "Jspace Sits Down with Jacob Arabo from Jacob & Co". Jpsace.com. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  13. ^ Bruner, Raisa; Verrill, Courtney (2016-05-20). "A day in the life of Jacob the Jeweler, the man behind the world's wildest jewels and watches". Business Insider. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  14. ^ DeAcetis, Joseph (2018-05-16). "Why Jacob & Co Launched A Retail Store In The Heart Of New York City". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  15. ^ Century, Douglas (August 15, 1999). "GURU: Jacob Arabo; Quarry of Choice for Rappers' Rocks". The New York Times. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  16. ^ "One on One: A Sparkling Success, Jacob Arabo". Haute Living Magazine. November 2, 2011. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  17. ^ a b "How Jacob the Jeweler's Diamonds Helped Define Pop Culture". Only Natural Diamonds. 2021-03-29. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  18. ^ "Hip-Hop's In-Demand Jewelers' Stories of Working With Rap Stars". XXL Mag. 2021-07-27. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  19. ^ "Jacob & Co - Jacob Arabo - People and interviews". WorldTempus. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  20. ^ DeStefano, Mike (2021-04-21). "Best Luxury Watch Brands in Hip-Hop: Rolex to Jacob & Co". Complex. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  21. ^ "Fashion - Five Time Zone Watch, Jacob & Co". Luxury Watches Online. 2015-08-06. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  22. ^ "Customizing Time: The Art of the Personalized Watch". WatchTime - USA's No.1 Watch Magazine. 2021-09-27. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  23. ^ Li, Nicolaus (2020-10-22). "8 Drops You Don't Want to Miss This Week". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  24. ^ "Jacob & Co. - Luxury on 57th Street - Retail". WorldTempus. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  25. ^ "Jacob & Co". NYMag.com. 2018-11-19. Archived from the original on 2018-11-19. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  26. ^ Ahern, Kaitlin. "Jacob Arabo - The Style Interview". nyluxury.com. Davler Media Group LLC. Archived from the original on 3 Sep 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  27. ^ Adams, Ariel (November 22, 2010). "The Game Changer: Jacob & Co. Quenttin Watch". Haute Time.
  28. ^ "Jacob & Co".
  29. ^ Forster, Jack (2016-08-30). "Jacob Arabo And Luca Soprana On The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon, A Tiny, Glittering Cosmos For Your Wrist (video)". Hodinkee. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  30. ^ "Jacob The Jeweler Released From Prison, Sent To Halfway House". Ballerstatus.com. 2010-04-06. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  31. ^ Markl, Xavier (2018-09-06). "Jacob & Co. Epic SF24 - A Different (and Spectacular) Take on the Traveller's Watch". Monochrome Watches. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  32. ^ "Jacob & Co. - Ten Minutes With Jacob Arabo: Discover The Man Behind Jacob & Co. - Top watch brand CEOs". WorldTempus. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  33. ^ "Jacob & Co. - 30 years of ground-breaking watches - Innovation and technology". WorldTempus. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  34. ^ "Miss World America 2019 Crown is Designed by Jacob & Co – Miss World America". Miss World America – Beauty with a purpose. 2019-06-18. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  35. ^ a
  36. ^ Revolution
  37. ^ "Jacob & Co: spectacular horlogy – Great Magazine of Timepieces". Great Magazine of Timepieces – Magazine of the 12th art. 2021-10-26. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  38. ^ ""Explained" Diamonds (TV Episode 2019) - Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  39. ^ Levent Ozler. "Travel + Leisure Magazine Names Winners of Second Annual Design Awards". Dexigner. Retrieved February 16, 2006.
  40. ^ a b "Jacob The Jeweler And Where He Came From". Love & Pieces. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  41. ^ "Genius Lyrics: Jacob the Jeweler". Genius. Retrieved 2019-12-24.
  42. ^ "Drake - When To Say When & Chicago Freestyle". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2020-04-07.

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