The Arnold & Son Time Pyramid isn’t a pure novelty, as it was first introduced in 2013 in a pink gold edition and then followed in 2014 by a stainless steel version. The Time Pyramid is however a fascinating skeleton watch that our editor-in-chief Frank Geelen called a proper ‘horological lesson’, as the entire movement is exposed in front of the eyes of both the wearer and the gents around him (or her, of course). Since that, nothing changed but we wanted to share with you some hands-on thoughts. Oh wait, something changed, a little extra that sounds trivial but that changes it all.
The Time Pyramid is certainly, together with the TB88, the most known watch from the Arnold & Son collection. Call is as you want – skeleton, open-worked, see-through, half-empty-where-is-the-rest-of-the-movement – it remains a very cool watch that exposes its innards to the world. Well, you might argue that every skeleton watches do so. True, but only a few of them are able to show that much elements of the movement and to allows such a depth and a transparency. The main advantage of the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid is also its worst enemy. Too much transparency lead to another issue, seeing what is under the watch. Guess what, usually it’s an ugly hairy wrist. For Baselworld 2015, A&S has a solution. We’ll get back on this later. Let’s first talk horology.
As said, the Time Pyramid is an open-worked watch – skeleton would more refer to a classical watch that would have been transformed and emptied to show an open movement. Here, the movement is open from scratch. It was build to expose the technical elements – and as said, it shows a lot. Starting from the crown – unusually located at 6 – you’ll find first the two barrels that contain the main springs – and that deliver energy to the watch for 90 hours. These two barrels are connected via several gears to two independent power reserve indicators, located at 3 and 9, and displayed via blued serpent-hand. As you might see on the photo, the two hands are not giving the same level of power. Strange, isn’t it? In fact, it demonstrates how one barrel transfers energy to the second one when needed. Essentially, as the first barrel winds the second one, the power reserve indicator of the first barrel goes down, while the second one goes up.
Lesson 1 was about the delivery of energy and the power reserve indicators. Lesson 2 is about the escapement and the gear train. As you can see, the entire timing elements are located on the top half of the dial and arranged in the shape of a line, starting from the balance wheel at 12 and then moving to the several wheels of the gear train. Lesson 3 is about the timing indications. Located right in the middle of the watch and slightly recessed is the small second sub-dial, directly linked to the first wheel of the gear train, the one linked to the escapement wheel – that naturally indicates the seconds. Then, on the top of the movement is the classical minutes / hours dial, indicated via blued hands running on a sapphire dial printed with the hours and circled with a metallic minute track.
The shape of the movement gives its name to the watch – the Time Pyramid. The movement is finished with Haute Horlogerie standards, meaning that it shows hand-chamfered bridges with polished edges, circular satin-finished wheels, straight graining on the flat surfaces, blued screws and Geneva stripes on the back. It’s clean and very pleasant for the eyes of connoisseurs. That’s a movement that the brand can be proud to show – oh yes, they do show it. On this stainless steel edition, the movement is NAC grey treated, giving a more technical look – instead of the classical rhodium finish of the rose gold edition. The movement can be observe on both sides, but there something intriguing on the back, as if the sapphire crystal was tinted. In fact, it is.
We told you that for Baselworld 2015, the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid was coming with a little extra, something purely linked to the aesthetics but also something extremely practical. The main problem with this watch is the fact that it’s so open that it shows your wrist – and thus your hairs – through the movement. Not the most elegant view for sure. In order to bring elegance back without changing the depth effect, it now features a mirror finish on the inside of the sapphire caseback. Here we go. No hairs visible – and thus, no complains anymore. The Time Pyramid however remains a fully open watch, even with this mirror back and keeps its natural 3D shape. Once on the wrist, you don’t even care about the limited legibility of the time as you might prefer to concentrate on the movement. The Time Pyramid is a large watch, at 44.6mm but the movement is slim – 4.4mm – and so is the watch. Together with the absence of a crown on the right side and some curved lugs, it is an easy watch on the wrist.
Note that on the gold edition, a guilloché caseback is also available, with exact same purpose: hiding the wrist. As said, this might be a trivial little thing but this extra mirror finishing changes it all. The Arnold & Son Time Pyramid is priced at around 30.000 USD in steel and 40.000 USD in rose gold.
More details on arnoldandson.com.