With the Basel watch fair opening its doors in a few days, pre-Baselworld novelties are now coming daily in our emails – and one surprised us, in a very good way, the Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36. Symmetry and open-worked movements are essential in Arnold & Son’s collection but not only. Precision, as we’ve seen with the massively impressive Constant Force Tourbillon (that we properly tested), is also key (yet with a hefty price). But if you look for all of that, at a much more accessible price, the Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 will certainly tick a few boxes…
John Arnold pocket chronometer No. 1/36 – Made in 1778
The present watch is a new take on the concepts of symmetry, skeletonization and precision dear to the brand Arnold & Son. The overall idea of this watch, as well as its movement architecture and the complication it features, is based on a watch made in 1778 by British Watchmaker John Arnold, a tourbillon chronometer watch and (Arnold’s first pocket watch too). it was also the first timepiece to be referred to as a “chronometer”, for its superior timekeeping capabilities. Nothing to with COSC at that time, as we refer today when talking about a chronometer. The modern Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 takes its inspiration in this milestone piece, and like it, it also is a chronometer watch (this time COSC-certified though).
The Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36, thus a tourbillon chronometer wristwatch, is a contemporary homage – at least for the visual side. For the movement, it remains faithful to traditional solutions and to a haute-horlogerie execution. This watch, in terms of style and layout of the movement, refers to the stunning Constant Force Tourbillon (both a dream watch and a precision beast…), but this time with more classical solutions and a price that will be much more accessible. We find cack the same dedication to symmetry and a highly spectacular, open-worked movement.
First of all, there are the two barrels on top, embellished with laser-engraving decoration, will both provide a comfortable 90h power reserve as well as a more stable delivery of torque to the escapement (playing an important role in the chronometer rating of this watch). The lower part of the Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 gives echo to the upper part, with the small second area at 7h30, with all the wheels visible, and of course, as the pièce de resistance, the tourbillon located at 4h30. Held by a skeletonized and mirror-polished top bridge, the one- minute tourbillon features a typically Arnold & Son three-spoke design. Weighing mere fractions of a gram, the tourbillon cage consists of no less than 58 components.
Following the classical codes of traditional English chronometer movements, 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 movement is finished in a particular way, with smooth sand-blasted main plate and bridges, and with chamfered and polished edges. The main plate and bridges are treated with a golden coating. The movement of the Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36, as all watches of the brand, is entirely developed and manufactured in-house, and exclusive to this watch.
Two versions of this COSC-certified Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 will be available: one in 18k red gold and one in stainless steel, with only 28 examples of each to be made available. The best part comes from the price: CHF 34,900 in stainless steel, CHF 52,800 in 18k red gold (prices before taxes). For a chronometer-rated tourbillon with such a desirable movement and execution, it’s simply impressive. www.arnoldandson.com.
Specifications of the Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36
- Case: 46mm diameter – 18k red gold or stainless steel – polished and brushed – cambered sapphire crystal and see-through sapphire case back – water resistant to 30m
- Movement: Calibre A&S8600, in-house – Chronometer COSC certified – hand-wound – 4Hz frequency – 90 hours power reserve – hours, minute, small seconds, tourbillon
- Strap: Hand-stitched brown or black alligator leather with folding clasp matching the case material