Event report and new watch release: Jacob & Co Opera The Godfather 50th Anniversary

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We were fortunate enough to be invited to be part of the release of Jacob & Co’s new watch – a tribute the the 50th Anniversary of the release of the movie – The Godfather. We also got a brief hands-on with the new watch – the Opera The Godfather 50th Anniversary, and present out impressions.

Event report and new watch release: Jacob & Co Opera The Godfather 50th Anniversary

Jacob & Co CEO, Ben Arabov.

The event: Sicily, Italy

Ben Arabov and his father, the creative and business genius behind Jacob & Co – Jacob Arabo, presenting the novelty.

The launch was a large-scale event in Sicily with VIP guests from all over the world, retracing the steps of Coppola and his film crew, visiting the locations where the actual shooting took place, in the area surrounding Taormina.

The view from the hotel where we were hosted. Mount Edna is in the distance, and visible on a clear day.

The gala dinner was held in the villa which the movie’s Michael Corleone hid while he was in Sicily. In the movie, this was the villa of Don Tommasino. This same building, which is the Castello degli Schiavi was rented out for the production of the movie, was the location for the dinner.

The bar, where Michael first met the father of Appolonia was an existing bar in the village, but renamed Bar Vitelli for the movie. The owner decided to keep the name after the movie was filmed.

And the church, where Michael Corleone and Appolonia was married in was just a few hundred meters up the hill.

The inspiration: Jacob Arabo and Francis Ford Coppola’s movie – The Godfather

The Opera Godfather 50th Anniversary is much more than a project within the Jacob & Co. catalog. It is much more than that, this is a tribute piece from a man whose life was changed by the movie. This passion was evident when Jacob and his son Ben Arabov went about presenting the watch and hosting the event.

Also in attendance, was the colourful actor Gianni Russo, who played Carlo Rizzi in the 1972 film The Godfather.

The movie’s very first bit of dialog is “I believe in America,” a phrase uttered by the undertaker Bonasera who comes to Don Vito Corleone, The Godfather, asking for a favour. These words resonated in the heart and mind of the young Jacob Arabo.

When I first came to the USA from Uzbekistan in 1979, I was 14 years old, didn’t speak the language and my family didn’t have a penny to its name. So we went to work really hard. It took me two years to earn the time and money to go to the movies. The Godfather was being released again; it was the first movie I saw in a theater.

Jacob Arabo

The movie quickly became Jacob’s all time favourite, and the lessons on family, business and life as conveyed by the movie became the cornerstone of his life.

The watch: Jacob & Co Opera The Godfather 50th Anniversary

The Jacob & Co Opera The Godfather 50th Anniversary is approximately CHF 500,000 before taxes. Please enquire with your authorised Jacob & Co dealer. This is a limited edition of 50 pieces.

The watch was a direct result of Jacob Arabo’s immense love for the movie. It is based on the existing Jacob & Co Opera, in particular the Opera Godfather, which features the emblematic triple-axis flying tourbillon with a music box, but with important updates for the 50th Anniversary.

The base watch was already an immensely impressive piece. The movement caliber JCFM04 already had a triple axis tourbillon and was equipped with a music box. For this special 50th Anniversary piece, it was further embellished with the memes taken from the movie. The case for this special edition is in grey gold.

The Godfather’s emblematic red rose is rendered in a beautiful realism stands at the very center of the dial. And adorning it, two scrolls within which are the two musical barrels which power the two part music box mechanism. These barrels are crafted of solid rose gold, and each engraved with a total of thirteen cult quotes from the movie, such as the iconic “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes”or “Never ask me about my business.” 

On the barrel are placed the pins which will play against the blades of the music box, creating the melody which is the theme song from the movie. Each set of blades are protected by a cover created in the shape of a piano. One bears the image of Don Corleone and the other the puppeteer’s strings from the movie’s poster.

As the music plays, the entire movement spins around the case while the off centered dial turns in the opposite direction to remain upright to the viewer.

The case is also something special. The sides feature scenes taken from the movie. To achieve this delicate, ultra high resolution engraving, Jacob went to DM Surfaces who came up with the idea of laser engraving. But this was a particularly challenging task, as not only was the images to be in very high resolution, but it was three dimensional, with a nice tactile feel to the fingers as one runs it on the surface. This is achieved by ultra short bursts of the laser using a technique known as nanosecond (one billionth of a second) and femtosecond (one quadrillionth of a second) laser. A technique originally developed for sculpting the delicate surfaces of the eye in a laser surgery. The shorter the blast, the higher its accuracy and intensity and the lower its temperature. At those levels, the beam does not just remove matter by vaporising it; it alters its very structure. Further, as the case was curved, this required special mastery of the laser engraving technique.

The result is spectacular. A total of 256 tones provide a photo realistic image on the case side.

The watch is delivered in a special box together with The Godfather Pen, a special black celluloid fountain pen, crafted for Jacob & Co by Montegrappa. The pen features a magnificent red rose resting at the top of the cap, rendered in red and green enamel.

In addition, the box which holds the watch comes with a crystal decanter with a high resolution print of Marlon Brando and The Godfather main logo, and is made in a wood case lined with red velvet.

Concluding thoughts

This is an amazing watch presented by a truly remarkable man – Jacob Arabo in collaboration with his son Ben Arabov. The watch embodies the passion of a man fully captivated by the iconic movie – The Godfather, and how the principle tenets of the film has captivated his life. The principles of honour, family, and traditional values.

The watch itself is impressive. This is a large timepiece, which is very loud on the wrist. Screaming for attention on its own. And if this style appeals to you, like it does to many of Jacob’s customers, you owe it to yourself to go to your authorised dealer and experience it. It may just change your life. If it doesn’t, just admire the exceptional artisanal workmanship, and move on to more classical watches.

In June of 2021, we were on a call with Paramount Pictures, from whom we had acquired the rights to The Godfather movie, and we started discussing how to rise to the occasion of the movie’s 50th anniversary. The Opera Godfather was already a success, far beyond anything we could have hoped for. By the end of October 2022, we’d already sold more than 140 pieces.” 

Benjamin Arabov, CEO Jacob & Co