Watches: Arnold & Son TB Victory
By Thierry Ané on November 11, 2013
At a time when the quest for absolute precision in timekeeping was critical to determining longitude accurately and reliably on high seas, English watchmaker John Arnold produced some very distinctive instrument-like chronometers that are the inspiration source for the design of today’s Instrument Collection.
Building on this heritage, Arnold & Son recently introduced the TB Victory, a magnificent timepiece honouring one of the best known battleships in English maritime history. With a glorious career spanning four decades, the HMS Victory undoubtedly had many an opportunity to win fame. She had her finest hour, however, as Lord Nelson’s flagship at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Housed in a 44mm rose gold case with a brown alligator strap, the TB Victory is an outstanding example of Arnold & Son’s expert craftsmanship. Obviously, the most striking element of the watch is the 22-karat gold appliqué of the famous warship that occupies the entire right-hand half of the dial. Hand-chased by Arnold & Son’s master engraver, the original design has been painstakingly duplicated for this limited series with an astonishing richness of details.
At the 9 o’clock position, a sub-dial with roman numerals provides the time of the day with two hands. Taking the centre of the cream-coloured dial is this timepiece’s main complication: a true beat (Tb) seconds (also known as dead-beat seconds). Once needed by marine navigators to determine longitude, this down-to-the-second precision is clearly no longer necessary for today’s life. It is, however, absolutely mesmerizing to look at and I could literally spend hours admiring the jerky dance of this long and thin rose gold hand. It is worth mentioning that this rarely found complication is quite difficult to master. Coupling it with an automatic winding system as in the TB Victory calls for enormous technical expertise and is a testimony of Arnold & Son’s newly found status in High Horology.
As you all know, high-end watchmaking is as much about aesthetics as it is about technical prowess. Entirely designed and manufactured by Arnold & Son, the calibre A&S6103 exceeds the expectations of high horology finishing with manually chamfered bridges and polished edges, fine circular graining and radiating Côtes de Genève, a brushed and skeletonized rotor, and blued screws.
As spectacular as this timepiece may seem, it is just another Arnold & Son’s fantastic offering. Indeed, over the past two years, the brand has released one exceptional timepiece after another and one can only be impressed by their efforts to secure Arnold & Son’s place on the wall of fame of the Haute Horlogerie.