Arnold & Son
Arnold & Son always catches our attention. Their timepieces have a very cool design and show a lot of parts from the movement, which of course is always interesting to look at when it’s a mechanical movement. As a result this brand was one of our appointments during this year’s Baselworld.
Of course we came to check out the new Tourbillon Chronometer NO. 36, but we also got see a lot of other creations. Pieces which were all explained to us by the designer of the brand: Fabien Collioud. A man that deserves an applause when you talk about enthusiasm and excited about his own words.
Since he is the designer of all the creations we see from Arnold & Son from over the past four years, he’s able to tell us exactly why some things are done and others aren’t. A very nice chit-chat about watches we adore and a high-five to Fabien for taking a fair amount of time to answer all our questions.
The Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer NO. 36
The biggest novelty on display at the Arnold & Son booth was of course their new tourbillon. The Tourbillon Chronometer NO. 36. A watch with an amazing look and feel and a huge amount of details to it.
Why NO. 36? Well, this timepiece is inspired by the original John Arnold Pocketwatch no. 1/36. This pocket watch was actually the first ever pocket watch with such a superior timekeeping capability that it was the first watch to be referred to as ‘chronometer’. Now that of course, is a status you can be proud of. As a result this new tourbillon watch marks the upcoming 240th anniversary (next year) of the John Arnold pocket watch.
As told by Fabien and often referred to by the brand, this new model also follows traditional English watchmaking movement aesthetics. This means that each pivoting element of the movement is supported by its own bridge, resulting in a very cool display of different dimensions. Besides that, the bridges are all skeletonized, which ensures maximum visibility at the movement and all its glory.
Another characteristic element inspired by the original pocket watch are the two engraved barrels. This can also be found in the pocket watch from John Arnold. Looking closely, you’ll see that these barrels display the text ‘chronometer certified’ on top. Which of course isn’t that special, but let’s not forget that it’s a tourbillon watch. Creating a movement with a tourbillon and at the same time be COSC certified, isn’t something you see that often.
The overall looks of this watch are very similar to the original pocket watch, as Fabien showed us. However, you do immediately recognize the Arnold & Son DNA as we know from their other watches.
The Arnold & Son DBG Skeleton
We all know the GMT timepiece made by Arnold & Son, called the DBG. DBG which stands for ‘Double Barrel GMT’ is a member of their Instrument Collection. The new DBG Skeleton is a model created with an open-worked dial, as well as a skeletonized movement. This results in a GMT watch with wild mechanical looks. However, as difficult as a GMT watch sometimes can be, this DBG than strike you with the difficulty of your mother-in-law at first. If you’re used to it – this can happen with the GMT, not with your mother-in-law – you’ll find it quite readable.
The DBG is essentially a creation that exists out of two different movements. When you take a closer look at the case back, you’ll find two different barrels connected to each other with an extra gear. Directly underneath those two, you’ll spot the two movements mounted on the same base plate – a long story short.
This results in the possibility to set the two time-zones separately. Not only gives it the possibility to set the hour hands, but you’re also able to adjust the minute hand. Which is very practical when you’re going for a Gin-tonic in Nepal, since this asks for a time-zone that differs from Greenwich Time.
At the top of this technical craziness, you’ll find the 24-hour counter. By using two small hands – one skeletonized, the other obviously not-skeletonized – you can indicate the day and night-time.
A nice detail can be found in the fact that the dial at 10 uses Roman numerals, whereas the dial at 2 o’clock uses Arabic numerals. Details that may not catch your attention at first sight. The watch displays a lot of the mechanics and that’s very cool – if we may say so – however, we can understand that you go nuts over so much visible parts.
It’s always difficult to create a skeleton watch that’s not disturbing or distracting, but by keeping the dials somehow bordered, this DBG manages to somehow keep it readable. Which, of course, comes handy when you may want to use your watch for actual time-management.
It’s hard to not like these watches, because of the fact that they display the techniques that are with us for ages and ages. Mechanical watch making is only as visible as the watch maker wants. These timepieces give you the ability to stare at the mechanics and show you what really moves the hands. An aspect that’s hard not to admire or adore.
If you like these creations, well, that’s a matter of taste. They show what’s mechanical watchmaking is about, that’s just a fact. So, if you’re a watch nutter, you must like that aspect of the brand.