In a bold effort that pays homage to one of the most historically significant chronometers – the John Arnold pocket chronometer No. 1/36 – Arnold & Son has just announced the new Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 Gunmetal. A followup to the Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 announced during Baselworld 2017, this new version introduces dark grey and rose gold tones that serve to enhance the visual beauty and complexity of a watch that showcases the brand’s technical prowess. More importantly, the watch features a new stainless steel case with anthracite DLC coating to achieve the pronounced gunmetal look. While the inspiration for the watch is arguably one of the most important classical timepieces in the brand’s history, this model is far more contemporary in its execution and design.
This model was released for Baselworld 2017 and we discussed our initial impressions here. Here, we will go hands-on with the Arnold & Son DBG Skeleton and explore what makes this view, aside from, you know… the dual balances.When it comes to evaluating the significance of this watch, I consider it crucial to look at the brand’s history. Arnold & Son was founded in 1764 by John Arnold at London’s Strand. Arnold named this watch the “No. 1,” beginning a naming convention he would use for his important timepieces going forward.By 1772, an Arnold “No. 3” chronometer was aboard Captain Cook’s vessel when he put out for his second trip across the Pacific, and Arnold chronometers would go on to accompany a number of other vital voyages over the following decades. His son, John Roger Arnold, started studying watchmaking under Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1792 and joined his father’s company four decades later. Breguet became a fantastic friend of John Arnold and the two collaborated on equilibrium layouts, the overcoil balance spring, and the tourbillon, although Arnold died in 1799 earlier this notion could be realized. To mourn his departure, Breguet introduced his son with all the first tourbillon escapement mounted within an Arnold pocket chronometer, which also bears a personal inscription and is now exhibited in the British Museum at London.
The original “Arnold 36” chronometer was not only the first pocket watch by John Arnold to use a larger movement with the “T” balance, but also the first to be called a “chronometer” for its superior timekeeping capabilities. This was, of course, before the COSC affiliation that term is known for today. Rather than fully replicate the piece visually, however, Arnold & Son has created something striking and modern with a movement that essentially takes place of the dial completely. Aside from the Arnold 36 chronometer, Arnold & Son is also paying tribute to the old English gunsmith tradition, which is closely related to traditional watchmaking and shares many common techniques.
The case itself is large at 46mm, which is appropriate considering how much there is to appreciate on the dial side. Everything is on display and demonstrates some of the most lavishly decorated components the brand is capable of producing. The main pivoting elements such as the wheels, barrels, the tourbillon, and others are each mounted on their own bridge. The triangular, multilevel bridges (no less than thirteen) are mostly skeletonized, providing a more contemporary sense of three-dimensional depth to the entire timepiece. The inner dial bezel is also Rhodium treated with black indexes and water resistance is generous at 30m.
Inside, the COSC-certified calibre A&S8600 operates at 4Hz with the help of a double barrel system that ensure 90 hours of power reserve when fully wound. It’s manually wound, with a main plate and bridges treated with a golden coating, echoing the aesthetics of the historical pocket watches made by John Arnold. The heart of the watch, the tourbillon, features a traditional construction with a top bridge, while the mirror-polished cage has the signature Arnold & Son three-spoke design, making a complete turn in 60 seconds.
The main plate is also set with mirror-polished 18k gold chatons and the wheels in the gear train are embellished with circular satin finishing with chamfered and polished edges. Even the screws are beveled and feature mirror-polished heads. While complex in its execution, the movement allows for an elegant and simple time-only display with running seconds. Other features include a dual AR-coated sapphire crystal and a sapphire display caseback.
Tourbillon Chronometer No.36 Specifications
- Calibre: A&S8600. Manufacture Arnold & Son calibre, hand-wound, 33 jewels, diameter 37.8 mm, thickness 5.9 mm, power reserve 90 h, double barrel, 4 Hz / 28’800, COSC-certified
- Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, tourbillon
- Movement decoration: Nickel-silver and steel movement, 5N red gold treated bridges and main plate with Haute Horlogerie finishing: sand blasted bridges with chamfered and polished edges, 18k gold chatons, screws with bevelled and mirror-polished heads Tourbillon cage: mirror-polished with hand-chamfered polished edges and circular satin-finished surfaces
- Dial: Inner bezel Rhodium treated with black indexes
- Case: Stainless steel with anthracite DLC coating, diameter 46 mm, cambered sapphire with anti-reflective coating on both sides, see-through sapphire caseback, water-resistant to 30m
The Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 Gunmetal is a limited edition of 28 pieces with a retail price of 36,400 CHF (excluding VAT). You can learn more by visiting the official Arnold & Son website. arnoldandson.com
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