As part of the brands participating in the Geneva Watch Days, Arnold & Son introduced two steel versions of its impressive Globetrotter world timer. In a departure from Arnold & Son’s technical pieces with exposed mechanics on the dial, the Globetrotter is a more artistic, three-dimensional interpretation of a world timer. Depicting landmasses surrounded by water on a large dome in the centre of the dial, the Globetrotter is a more intuitive take on the traditional world timer and lets you determine the time in different parts of the Northern Hemisphere at a glance.
The high-end Swiss brand named after the 18th-century English watchmaker John Arnold explores contemporary ways to interpret traditional watch craftsmanship with a marked penchant for symmetry and complexity. As one of the most innovative watchmakers of his day, John Arnold (1736-1799) patented his pivoted detent escapement and was renowned for his precision marine chronometers commissioned by the Royal Navy. In deference to John Arnold’s contribution to navigation, the Globetrotter, launched in 2018, is described as a “timepiece for the modern-day navigator.”
From its manufacture based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Arnold & Son develops its timepieces in-house, including its complicated calibres. Renowned for its highly technical pieces, with models like the impressive Time Pyramid or the Nebula featuring a fully skeletonised movement, the brand’s twenty-plus calibres have all been conceived, designed, developed, machined, decorated, assembled, and adjusted by its sister manufacture, La Joux-Perret. In a departure from Arnold & Son’s more technical skeletonised pieces, the corporeity and artistry of the Globetrotter is closer in spirit to the Luna Magna with one of the largest 3D moon phases ever featured on a wristwatch.
Map of the Northern Hemisphere
Rising prominently in the centre of the dial is a blue dome with realistic landmasses corresponding to the Northern Hemisphere. An elegant arched bridge, spanning the dome and suspended on its axis with a ruby marking the North Pole, is reminiscent of the historical maritime gimbals used to keep marine chronometers and other navigational tools in an upright position.
Before tackling the functionality of the world timer, it’s important to understand how the watch was conceived. Arnold & Son’s designers established that the main feature of the watch had to be a large hemisphere representing the Northern Hemisphere. Naturally, a large domed hemisphere requires a lot of dial space and height, which meant that an even more pronounced crystal sapphire dome was needed to protect the dial. The stainless steel case reflects these decisions and measures 45mm in diameter and has a height of 17.23mm. Brightly polished throughout, you can appreciate how the case forms a continuous line from the strap to the massive domed sapphire suspended above the dial and how the crystal melts into the thin sloping bezel. Despite the large dimensions of the case and its formidable height, the beautifully faceted lugs are short and curved to sit close to the wrist. The sizeable fluted crown at 3 o’clock bears the brand’s logo (an anchor framed by a crown).
The domed hemisphere is machined from a round piece of brass and performs an anti-clockwise rotation once every 24 hours. The rhodium-plated landmasses on the dome are defined with chemical etching to achieve the realistic detail of the continents. The next step involves the application of a layer of clear lacquer, which is then polished by hand. The graphic depiction of North America, Eurasia and Africa, complete with matte sandblasted areas to represent mountain ranges and different tonalities of blue for the oceans, means that you can consult the time anywhere north of the Equator at a glance. The oceans are hand-painted with layer after layer of blue lacquer and a sprinkling of mother-of-pearl powder to add depth and shine. Another fascinating feature of the Globetrotter is how the shorelines are delineated with Super-LumiNova that emits a cool blue night in low light conditions.
The impressive arched steel bridge that spans the map of the Northern Hemisphere is held in place by a large ruby. Unlike some of the earliest editions of the Globetrotter, the bridge is openworked with two arches spanning the entire dial that rest on two feet fixed with screws at 3 and 9 o’clock. The finishing of the bridge reflects Arnold & Son’s meticulous attention to detail and features chamfers, satin-brushed flat surfaces, and is polished entirely by hand.
Two dials are available: one with a blue lacquered sunburst chapter ring in a limited edition of 88 pieces and a second option with an opaline lacquered sunburst chapter ring that is not limited. Roman numerals from I to XI are depicted on the brushed chapter ring, in black on the opaline dial and white on the blue dial. Moving towards the centre of the dial, you can see a sapphire crystal disc suspended from the dial surrounding the girth of the domed map. The transparent disc has a 24-hour scale with the numbers 24 and 12 picked out in red, the same colour used on the hour and minute hands that extend out to the dial from underneath the globe. The red area of the shorter arrow-shaped hour hand and the slightly longer arrow-shaped minutes hand is also treated with Super-LumiNova so you can consult the time in the dark.
How does it work?
All the settings of the world timer are adjusted at the crown. Home time, or reference time, is adjusted by pulling the crown out to its third position. If you are in Madrid, for example, and it is 18:30, you would turn the crown to position the globe against the 24-hour scale ensuring the section of the map representing the Iberian peninsula is positioned between 18:00 and 19:00. The hour is set by aligning the globe, and the minutes hand can be adjusted by turning the crown clockwise.
Local time is set with the crown in the second position. The hour hand can move in one-hour jumps clockwise or counter-clockwise along the 12 hours represented by Roman numerals without disturbing home time. Unlike earlier Globetrotters, the minutes markers and dots are not depicted here, meaning that setting the minutes will be more of an approximation. Usually, the minutes hand will not need adjusting, but if you are in a country with uneven UTC offsets, you can set the minute hand independently using the third position of the crown.
To consult the time in other countries of the Northern Hemisphere, all you have to do is locate the country on the map and trace an imaginary line to the 24-hour scale.
The Globetrotter is equipped with the A&S6022 automatic calibre, which can be seen through the anti-reflective sapphire crystal on the caseback. Like all Arnold & Son movements, it has been developed, manufactured, decorated, assembled, adjusted and fitted at its factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The oscillating weight with a Clous de Paris guilloché pattern is skeletonised and NAC coated bringing its hue closer to that of the grey NAC-treated movement. This type of plating uses precious metals, which are close to platinum, resulting in a particularly high-quality anthracite finish that matches the grey case of the Globetrotter in steel.
The A&S6022 calibre is decorated with traditional fine watchmaking finishings: perlage on the mainplate, NAC-coated sunburst Côtes de Genève bridges, satin-finished wheels, and bevelled and mirror-polished screws. The large balance wheel oscillates at 28,800vph, and the power reserve is of 45 hours. With its 38mm diameter, the movement has a slim height of 6.5mm.
Availability & Price
Naturally, Arnold & Son can customise the globe with a depiction of the Southern Hemisphere and other bespoke options. Both models come on a hand-stitched blue alligator strap – closer to turquoise on the opaline dial model – with a stainless steel pin buckle. The Globetrotter Steel with a blue dial is limited to 88 pieces and retails for CHF 18,900 (excl. tax); the Globetrotter Steel with an opaline dial is not limited and retails for CHF 17,900 (excl. tax).
More information at www.arnoldandson.com.