Watches: Arnold & Son Double Tourbillon Escapement Dual Time (+live pics)
By Thierry Ané on June 15, 2014
To celebrate its 250th anniversary, British-born Haute Horlogerie Swiss brand Arnold & Son unveiled some outstanding timepieces during Baselworld 2014. Once again, this highly creative manufacture pushed the aesthetic and technical limits to showcase sensational models with a perfect balance of modernity and tradition. The Double Tourbillon Escapement Dual Time that I have already presented on Watch Agora in a pre-Basel articleFlash News: Arnold & Son Double Tourbillon Escapement Dual Time, was among the jaw-dropping masterpieces on display and I thought that live pictures from the fair were the perfect excuse to discuss this model a little further.
My problem with virtually all the brand’s pre-Basel press releases is that no pictures of the back of their watches were available: when you produce such innovative movements and spare no effort to offer them an outstanding Haute Horlogerie finish, it is really a shame not to show them in full glory with professional pictures. The Watch Agora team sadly does not include such expert photographers and our talent in that department is unfortunately limited. We do, however, have (imperfect) views of the back of the Double Tourbillon Escapement Dual Time so this is where I will start my discussion.
The sapphire crystal on the back of the 43.50 mm red gold case provides an unobstructed view of the new in-house A&S8513 calibre. This manually-wound dual time movement offers an impressive 90 hour power reserve thanks to a double barrel system. The nickel-silver baseplate with rhodium finish features splendid Côtes de Genève rayonnantes decorations and circular satin-finished wheels. All the bridges are hand-chamfered with polished edges and showcase a myriad of flame-blued steel screws and rubies, some of them with gold chatons. Altogether, the meticulous finish lives up to the superlative standards we have come to expect from this high-end manufacture.
The exceptional beauty extends to the face of the watch where the functions of this one-of-a-kind movement are revealed. It is a dual time movement in the strictest sense of the term. Indeed, in line with the century-old tradition of double movement, this marvel of watchmaking know-how features two separate time zone displays, each with its own setting mechanism, gear train and tourbillon escapement!
Everybody will tell you that this stunning timepiece is an exceptional instance of perfect symmetry. True, the watch features some wonderfully-balanced elements on the silver baseplate decorated with vertical Côte de Genève. Two gently domed white-lacquered dials sit on the vertical axis with flame-blued steel skeleton arrow hands. The one with Roman numerals located at 12 o'clock is intended for the local time while the dial featuring transferred Arabic numerals at 6 o'clock indicates the home time or the chosen second time zone. On either side of these dials, the dual tourbillon escapements form a horizontal line. Anchored by evenly-shaped 18-karat red gold polished bridges, they illuminate the watch with their relentless dance and mirror-polished surfaces with hand-chamfered and polished edges.
But this exceptional timepiece also includes two asymmetrically placed red gold fluted crowns that brilliantly offset the overall symmetry. Had they been symmetric, like for instance at 3 and 9 o’clock, the design balance would have been lost. The harmony of this timepiece required it not to be a perfect mirror image on a vertical or horizontal plane. As it is, though, the Double Tourbillon Escapement Dual Time is a pure aesthetic perfection and an extraordinary testimony of Arnold & Son’s immense expertise.
The Double Tourbillon Escapement Dual Time comes with a brown hand-stitched alligator strap secured by a rose gold pin buckle. It will be produced in a limited run of 28 pieces and the retail price has been set to US$ 210,000.