Jacob Arabo

American watch and jewelry designer

Jacob Arabo (born Yakov Arabov or Jacob Arabov, 3 June 1965; frequently known as "Jacob the Jeweler") is an American jewelry and watch designer known for founding Jacob & Co in 1986.


  • Diamonds are this big sign of success. When you wear them, you feel good and when people look at you, they love it, they compliment you; that’s show business.
  • I want to create things that haven’t been done before. It’s about making the impossible a reality.
  • After we made the Five Time Zone, with five time zones and a world map, I received phone calls from Italian, French, Russian, Japanese and Chinese distributors to buy watches. To me, that was a great achievement, because we were an American company, making watches in Switzerland without a Swiss office. I now have a Geneva office with 10 staff members including engineers, graphic designers and a sales team.
  • Since he was 18 years old. He came to buy a piece of jewelry from me that cost $1,200 and he chiseled me down to $900. I always believed in Pharrell and I knew he was going to grow in the music industry, so I introduced him to the Japanese designer, Nigo. Then [they] became partners and that opened up many doors for Pharrell. Then he totally took off.
  • Our collaboration with Donnie Yen highlights the creative spirit that has become synonymous with Jacob & Co. Donnie Yen embodies the style and spirit of the Jacob & Co lifestyle.
  • During a challenging time, I realized the full potential of my team, who stood up to the plate in an incredible fashion.
  • When I was just a boy, my father gave me a world time watch and I was fascinated by it. I think this is what led me to develop the Five Time Zone watch, that really started our watchmaking journey.
  • I think I am fortunate that I approach watchmaking as a watch lover, not a watchmaker. I don’t worry about whether it can be done, I just imagine what my clients and I would be excited to own. Then, I approach the watchmakers and they tell me it is impossible. Then I tell them to try and try and keep trying, and we finally figure out how to do it.
  • I wear all the watches we produce, mostly as a test so I can live with them before we bring them out. Aside from that, the watch I wear the most is the Astronomia, as that is the most important watch to my company. It revolutionized high watchmaking and now we make a number of different versions of this model.
  • I am very proud that I have been able to build a company with almost 35 years of history, with two headquarters, one in New York City and one in Geneva. I am proud that I have been able to assemble a team of the finest professionals in the watch industry.
  • I think people are so amazed by our designs and our unique ideas that they don’t realize how advanced our watchmaking is. In the Astronomia, for example, we took what had been a flat tourbillon and made it vertical, and made it turn around the dial. Still, however, it is rooted in traditional watchmaking. We take traditional Swiss watchmaking and turn it on its head.
  • I have my hand in every aspect of the business. From the materials of the boxes to the choice of colours in our boutiques to the movement designs and the marketing, I review and approve everything. Because my name is on the company, I can’t afford to delegate many of these decisions about design, quality, and more. I am especially involved with our Instagram account. I love being able to communicate directly with our clients and fans.
  • I have not yet begun to create.
  • Geneva is the heart of timepiece craftsmanship, where all our fine watches are made and the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues is my favorite hotel in Geneva. We have been exhibiting at the hotel for years, so it is the perfect place to begin our boutique expansion in Europe.
  • The Epic x Chrono Messi is recognizable anywhere and for us, it was the perfect way to begin a partnership with Messi and a true association of champions.
  • I am so excited about this partnership. We have the chance to make history, to develop timepieces the world has never seen before, to bring these amazing Bugatti supercars into the watchmaking world. When I look at the Bugatti Chiron sports car, the perfectly refined engineering is so powerful that sometimes it appears to be moving even when it is standing still. That’s the same feeling I get when I wear our high complication timepieces: a rush, a sense of energy, movement and power that can barely be contained.
  • I wanted to put something iconic in this watch, and The Godfather came to mind. Once I had the idea, I thought, "Let me try to contact Paramount Pictures, and let’s see what they say." They did the research and their due diligence, and ultimately they liked the idea and gave me the license.
  • My father got me a job in summer when I was a teenager, and I became a photographer. That gave me a lot of education about designing and vision and helped me to make the decision that I wanted to design. Because taking a picture of something, you have to see the picture before you take it. And that’s what I usually do. When designing, I already have designs in my mind, already pictured. I already know how they’re supposed to look before they’re even made. So I knew I had this ability and this gift, and when the time came for me to choose who I want to become I couldn’t afford to become educated or go to school for another 8 or 10 years and become a professional…. So I dropped out of school. I was 16 years old. I took government-funded jewelry courses, graduated in four months and became a jeweler.
  • I always wanted to do something different in my life, where I would be remembered way after my death. My idea was to build something different and new, and bring new innovations, to bring things to people that never been done before. New technology, new ways of setting stones, a new way of cutting stones, not just only to be in a business to make money. I really want to be in this business…. I would like to be the Steve Jobs of jewelry.
  • What’s winning still today is design. It’s all about design. Stones are stones. You can buy them almost anywhere today. So it’s all about design, it’s how you wear them, how you place them. So that’s what we’re doing. I design jewelry for people…. My idea is to give the ‘wow’ effect. If a princess comes here and I can show her something and she goes, “Wow, I have never seen anything like this in my life.” If she’s been shopping for the last 25 years, she’ll have seen everything. That’s my success.
  • I only made the first watch in 2001. Before that I couldn’t afford to make them. Then, I felt comfortable enough to make my own watches, because it’s not easy to make watches. It’s much harder to make watches than jewelry. It’s a closed industry; there are very few players and it is very difficult to make it in that atmosphere. I thank God I was lucky enough to become one of them and again, the reason they accepted me there is because of my designs. Otherwise it’s so difficult in Switzerland. If they don’t want to work for you, there’s no money that could change their minds. It’s a very small industry. It’s a very small circle of people. So I’m very pleased, very happy that it’s working out for me.
  • I’m investing my time and money to develop technology that’s never been done before. Basically, most of the watchmakers in Switzerland thought my ideas were impossible to do and I’m driven by impossible. I love the impossible. For me to make it in this business, if I don’t bring something new to the table, there are so many others that are offering the same thing. Why would anyone buy from me? I keep trying to develop new technology with my watchmakers. I design and I produce.
  • I make it first for myself and then hopefully a few other people like it.
  • Jacob style, the way I like it is the way I wear it. You see (it) you can’t miss it. It’s bold, it’s eye-catching, it’s a piece of jewelry that would make you happy.
  • I really wanted to make statement pieces.
  • Trucks would stand outside my building — like those buses that musicians travel in — they would stand there waiting for me to be available to see them to show them jewelry. A line of people waiting.
  • And before you know, you have Michael Jackson as a client, you have David Beckham, you have Madonna, you have all these celebrities.

Quotes about Jacob Arabo


In song lyrics

  • 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.
    • Jay-Z, "Girl's Best Friend"
  • Take her to the diamond district, introduce her to Jacob
    Tell her if she like me she should keep me icey.
  • Jacob the Jeweler, baubles, Lorraine Schwartz, oughta do
    It's big balling baby, when I'm courting you.
  • Big was the first one that had it
    Now Jacob the Jeweler benefit from my habits.
  • 100 bottles of Crys in the cooler
    I'm frozen thanks to Jacob the Jeweler.
  • Turnin' Jacob to a dentist
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