Watches: Arnold & Son Royal TEC1 Tourbillon Chronograph

By Thierry Ané on February 19, 2014

When I received a press release for a new Arnold & Son model this morning in my email box, I was utterly thrilled because I knew that, as usual with this great brand, I would discover an exquisite piece of pure horology.

The brand’s origins date back to the eighteenth century and the achievements of English watchmaker and inventor John Arnold. Before he addressed the problem of determining longitude, this brilliant watchmaker became famous by presenting the smallest repeating watch ever made to King George III in 1764. To mark the 250th anniversary of this event, Arnold & Son unveils its new addition to the Royal Collection, which is precisely inspired by the timepieces created in the early part of John Arnold’s life for the wealthy clientele he acquired at the royal court.

The new Royal TEC1 Tourbillon Chronograph perfectly exemplifies the dedication of this manufacture to the art of fine watchmaking in addition to its incredible ability to transcend classic design codes with subtle touches of avant-garde aesthetics.

The brand already introduced two tourbillon models, namely the TE8 Tourbillon in 2012 and the Ultra-Thin Tourbillon Escapement last year. However, this is the first time they combined a high-frequency tourbillon (it beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour), a column-wheel chronograph and an automatic winding system in the same watch.

To achieve this technical feat, Arnold & Son’s Research and Development team came up with an entirely new architecture for the A&S8305 calibre. From the dial side the layout is as pure as it is symmetric. A large tourbillon with an oversized aperture occupies the top portion of the dial between 10 and 2 o’clock. The 60 minute counter of the chronograph located at 6 o’clock provides harmonious balance. On the back, the large column wheel of the chronograph is visible through the sapphire crystal. It also showcases the skeletonized red gold rotor, beautifully hand-engraved with brushed surfaces and chamfered polished edges.

Naturally, the rest of the palladium-treated movement received similar care. The bridges are decorated with “Côtes de Genève rayonnantes” and are manually chamfered with polished edges. This calibre also boasts circular satin-finished wheels and all its screws are blued with bevelled and mirror polished heads.

The brown alligator strap complements nicely the anthracite dial and the red gold 45 mm case of this stunning creation. We are told that a palladium version with a silvery white dial will also be available. Moreover, a “Limited Edition 250th Anniversary” piece with a red gold case and a blue lacquered guilloché dial will also be produced.

We will have to wait for Baselworld to see all three versions in the flesh and offer you in-depth photo coverage. I really can’t wait as I am incredibly impressed by all the exceptional timepieces this brand presents. Both aesthetically and technically, they tick all the right boxes and deserve a prominent place in all refined watch collections.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: