Assuming you haven’t been gifted a ride for publicity reasons, the going rate for a sub-orbital trip to space is around a quarter of a million dollars, which gets you just a few minutes in microgravity. It’s a short trip only the 1% can afford to experience, but believe it or not, it’s still cheaper than Jacob & Co.’s new Astronomia Maestro Worldtime watch that straps a trip around the solar system to your wrist.
The Maestro Worldtime is about as far away from a smartwatch as you can get, although it does feature some brilliant engineering that results in a small replica of our planet made from magnesium, a silver astronaut seemingly spinning out of control, and a spherical 1-carat diamond making a full rotation around the central watch face every 10 minutes. It’s not just for show, however: Those four rotating arms are part of the mechanism that allows the mechanical watch to keep accurate time, with the opposing arms perfectly balanced against each other. The watch will also keep accurate time for about 60 hours after a winding, which is somehow still a lot longer than a smartwatch can go between charges.
If your goal for splurging on a watch is to put a bunch of complications on your wrist so you can accurately time your laps at the track like Paul Newman or Steve McQueen, the Astronomia Maestro Worldtime isn’t for you. The only real feature it boasts besides telling the time (and across multiple time zones) is a minute repeater carillon chiming complication. Before watches gained speakers and illuminated faces, the minute repeater was developed to figure out what time it was in the dark of night when you couldn’t see a watch’s hands. Using the watch’s already running mechanism, at the push of a button it triggers a series of ding sounds at varying pitches to audibly indicate the current hour, quarter hour, and minutes.
The Astronomia Maestro Worldtime is undoubtedly a work of art — it even features a tiny hand-painted mural of the galaxy, including all the planets in our solar system, and a 1-inch thick frame made from 18K rose gold with a sapphire crystal window. (The real good stuff when it comes to protecting a watch’s face.) But a $US780,000 (A$1,065,019) work of art? Jacob & Co. is betting there are 18 people out there who think it is, and is putting that many into production. It boggles the mind that someone out there would drop that much money on a watch, until you remember that a lot more has been spent on JPGs guised as NFTs.