Watches: Arnold & Son HMS1 Guilloché Models

By Thierry Ané on October 28, 2014

As a tribute to the first part of John Arnold’s life, when he was a watchmaker for King George III and other important members of the monarch’s court, the Royal Collection features understated timepieces with elaborate decorations in a true inimitable English style protecting intricate movements able to showcase the brand’s Fine Watchmaking heritage as well as its current innovative horological thinking.

With its extreme purity and yet huge aesthetic appeal, the simplest of them all, namely the HMS1, is also perhaps the most representative of this unique vision of Horology fed by a true respect for the watchmaking tradition and a top-quality craftsmanship that characterise the brand.

This time-only model housed in a 40 mm case with a slim profile is animated by the in-house A&S1001 nickel silver movement measuring just 2.7 mm in height. Rhodium-treated with Haute Horlogerie finishing like the hand-chamfered bridges with polished edges, the fine circular graining, and the stunning Côtes de Genève rayonnantes, this manually-wound calibre beats at the frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hours and uses a double barrel to offer 90 hours of power reserve.

Since the first limited models presented in 2012, various dial renditions of this rose gold or stainless steel watch have been introduced including a stunning HMS1 Royal Blue boasting a guilloché dial covered with translucent royal blue lacquer in 2013. Whatever the version, though, the timepiece retains its effortless British elegance and represents a perfect companion for a dressed evening or an everyday office use.

This month, and perhaps in preparation for the end-of-the-year traditional gifts, Arnold & Son unveils two more interpretations of this classic: one in rose gold mounted on a brown alligator strap and, for the very first time, one in white gold on black alligator, both secured by a pin buckle matching the case gold colour.

What makes them special, though, is the dial featuring a gorgeous silvery-white guilloché motif different on each version. In addition to showcasing the expertise of the brand’s artisan, this complex dial adds an extra touch of refinement to the watch and works with the facetted hour indices and starkly three-dimensional hands to create a surprising illusion of depth for such an ultra-thin timepiece.

It becomes difficult to decide which side of the watch offers the most breathtaking show: the dial and its beautiful simplicity despite the complexity of its guillochage or the see-through back cover revealing the mechanical beauty of an expertly finished movement? Maybe there is no answer to that question as both blend beautifully, the Côtes de Geneve rayonnantes somehow mimicking the radiating motif of the guillochage, both shimmering in unison.

For more information please visit the Arnold & Son web site.

For a technical description of the timepieces and additional pictures: