20th June 2016
When it comes to horology and invention Arnold & Son is a true master. With roots dating back nearly 250 years, it’s the original watchmaker that developed the perfect marine chronometer. Today, the brand pays homage to its watchmaking prowess with modern day timepieces steeped in centuries of craftsmanship.
John Arnold first gained fame in 1764 by presenting an exceptionally small ring containing a half-quarter repeater watch to King George III. From 1770 onwards, John Arnold dedicated himself to solve one of the greatest challenges of his age: calculating longitude reliably at sea. That challenge was precision, and Arnold made it his passion. Between 1770 and 1790, he painstakingly refined the art of watchmaking, introducing decisive improvements and trailblazing inventions. John Arnold, together with his friend A.-L. Breguet, largely invented the modern mechanical watch. Thus, Arnold & Son rapidly became the leading supplier of chronometers to the Royal Navy. His son, John Roger, joined the firm in 1796.
Inspired by John Arnold’s relentless quest for precision and innovative technology, the modern-day Arnold & Son company keeps this fine English watchmaking tradition alive at its headquarters in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the cradle of modern Swiss watchmaking. The actual collection of Arnold & Son pays tribute to the two distinct sections of John Arnold’s professional life. The Royal Collection is a reference to the masterpieces with which Arnold initially made his name. The chronometers of breathtaking precision that were made for the ships of the Royal Navy and many explorers are reflected today in the Instrument Collection. But clearly defined as they are, several elements are common to both: a passion for sophistication and perfections in every produced timepiece.
Arnold & Son holds a firm place in the grand English watchmaking tradition.
It belongs to a select group of watchmaking companies in Switzerland entitled to call themselves a manufacture, a French term reserved exclusively for watch manufacturers who develop and produce their own movements in-house. The brand’s prowess in the development and production of in-house movements is reflected by an impressive collection of Arnold & Son calibres with a complete range of sophisticated complications. Arnold & Son develops a new movement for every single model.
New superbly engineered and aesthetically perfect timepieces have been unveiled as part of the brand’s Instrument Collection that combines instrument precision with classical styling. Stunning new additions have also been regularly made to the Royal Collection, which is inspired by the timepieces created in the early part of John Arnold’s life for the King George III and the royal court.
Deftly demonstrating its British heritage, the Time Pyramid is inspired by the regulators created by John and John Roger Arnold over two hundred years ago, and by antique British skeleton clocks.
The Time Pyramid hosts a totally new manufacture movement with unique architecture. The skeletonised calibre A&S1615 is built in a pyramidal shape, with balance wheel at 12 o’clock and, at 6 o’clock, two mainspring barrels that supply the hand-wound calibre with an amazing 90 hours of power reserve.
The Time Pyramid follows the original regulators from the brand with its component positioning and detailed three-dimensional visual appeal. Movement parts and watch indications are built on three levels, with the subsidiary seconds dial on the bottom, the hours and minutes indication on a sapphire crystal dial in the middle level, and two power reserve hands via graduated dots printed under the top sapphire crystal. While the movement is extremely thin – at just 4.4 mm – the multiple levels bring amazing depth and detail to the watch.
As with every esteemed Arnold & Son watch, each component in the Time Pyramid is magnificently hand decorated with manually chamfered brides and mirror-polished edges, all yielding a striking masterpiece of decorative craftsmanship and brilliant execution.
Demonstrating its quality Swiss craftsmanship, the DSTB is a testament to its heritage, vision and Haute Horlogerie ingenuity. The true beat seconds is a traditional complication of Arnold & Son, and this watch pays tribute to the watches produced by John Arnold during the second half of his career.
The newly developed automatic movement showcases the true beat seconds’ mechanism entirely on the dial side. Not just the hands, but also the lever, wheels and three palladium treated true beat seconds bridges are located in all their beauty on the dial side.
The true beat seconds are superbly indicated via a large sapphire dial that occupies the top left portion of the dial. At the 4 o’clock position, a subdial indicates the hours and the minutes.
The self-winding calibre A&S6003 has 229 components. In true Arnold & Son style, the palladium treated movement features Haute Horlogerie finishing with hand-chamfered and satin-finished lever and bridges, polished edges and fine circular graining and Côtes de Genève rayonnantes. The magnificent timepiece is housed inside a 43.5mm 18-carat white gold case with anti-reflective sapphire crystal and caseback for viewing the superbly finished movement and, complete with solid 22-carat red gold guilloché oscillating weight. This edition of the DSTB will be limited to 125 timepieces – underscoring the brand’s commitment to exclusivity and excellence.
Building a watch collection is a lifelong journey with big brand milestones along the way. However, there comes a time when your watch just isn’t cutting it and it’s time to invest in something new.
The definitive directory of what you should be wearing on your wrist right now. Words by Alex Doak.