Watches: Arnold & Son HM Pandas

By Thierry Ané on December 3, 2014

It has been a month and a half since I last discussed a creation from Swiss luxury brand Arnold & Son. Considering the size of this high-end watch manufacture, this may not seem like a lot of time but they have proven to be so creative over the past three years that it seems to me like a lifetime without yet another stunning timepiece from one of my favourite brands.

Technically challenging and innovative models like the Dial Side True Beat or the Double Tourbillon Escapement Dual Time, visually impressive watches like the TB88 Inside Out or the Time Pyramid or “simply” aesthetically breathtaking timepieces like the HM Perpetual Moon or the two HSM1 Guilloché models in white gold or rose gold that were the subject of my latest articleWatches: Arnold & Son HMS1 Guilloché Models, the brand excels in all the fields that make watchmaking so interesting to collectors and enthusiasts.

Today, we are back again with the simplest possible timepiece, a two-hand manually-wound model, wonderfully enhanced by Arnold & Son’s expertise and sense of style. With its refined 40 mm case featuring perfectly polished slim lines complemented by a cambered bezel, a fluted crown engraved with the brand’s logo and elongated and facetted sword-shaped hands, the “HM” is indeed an extremely refined watch all by itself.

The elegant nickel-silver A&S1001 movement that powers it also represents a true Fine Watchmaking statement. Entirely manufactured in-house this beauty generates a 90-hour power reserve through twin barrels despite being just 2.7 mm thick. Finished with the utmost attention to details with a rhodium treatment, hand-chamfered bridges, perfectly bevelled and polished edges, blued screws, fine circular graining, and Côtes de Genève rayonnantes, it showcases the brand’s dedication to traditional Haute Horlogerie.

These exquisite and very classical elements are then wonderfully enhanced by Arnold & Son’s Métiers d’Art expertise and a one-of-a-kind dial. Two centuries-old and hard-to-master forms of craftsmanship are used to create the face of the new HM Pandas. A female panda and her cub are painfully hand-engraved in a 22-karat white gold plate. The figures are perfectly sculpted with breathtaking richness of detail before being painted by hand with the same dedication. They are then laid on a black lacquered background adorned with a miniature painting of the pandas’ natural habitat including their beloved bamboo leaves. The relief brought by the appliqué and the meticulous hand-painting job bring life to this little wildlife rendition.

The HM Pandas is also available in a white gold version with a diamond-set bezel but unfortunately we have no official pictures of this version yet. I doubt, though, that it can be more beautiful than the rose gold model presented here as this particular hue of gold contrast admirably with the black of the dial and hand-stitched alligator strap. Each version will be produced in a series of only 28 pieces. This tasteful tribute to a very special bear is undoubtedly a welcomed addition to Arnold & Son’s already impressive collections.

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

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: