Watches: Arnold & Son Golden Wheel
By Thierry Ané on January 14, 2015
For me, the unveiling of a new Arnold & Son timepiece is always a huge moment of horological joy as the brand never ceases to amaze me with their ingenious and unconventional re-interpretations of the classic complications from their British watchmaking heritage.
Part of the chronometry-oriented “Instrument Collection”, the newcomer will officially be presented during Baselworld 2015 but the pictures and technical specifications the brand sent us today make me safely say that it will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the show!
The Golden Wheel masterfully associates the brand’s signature deadbeat seconds function with wandering hours for a patented “world’s first”. The latter complication has roots in table clocks of the mid-seventeenth century and was most likely introduced into pocket watches in England at the beginning of the eighteenth century, roughly when John Arnold developed his famous watches.
As usual with this La-Chaux-de-Fonds manufacture, the watch’s functions are skilfully presented in a mind-blowing three-dimensional innovative way with a degree of finishing that demonstrates their commitment to the highest standards of Haute Horlogerie. Indeed, the A&S6018 self-winding calibre has been constructed in such a way as to display its intricate inner workings in full glory on the dial side.
There lies a central time-carrousel crafted in perfectly polished solid 18-carat red gold. Taking centre stage, this technical element stands out on the grey NAC-treated dial plate with splendid Côtes de Genève decorations. It holds three sapphire crystal discs that seem to be floating high above the dial plate. Each features four gold-coloured Arabic numerals and arrow pointers that are used to indicate the hours and minutes.
Indeed, the time is read on an arc of a circle that goes from 10 to 2 o’clock. As the golden wheel rotates, the arrow pointer in front of the Arabic numeral indicating the hours sweeps in front of a 60-minute graduation to indicate the minutes. To make things easier to read, this zone has been adorned with a white mother-of-pearl segment on which the golden numerals stand out.
In order to add a more dynamic element to this slow-moving show, the watchmakers added a deadbeat seconds hand on the central axis of the movement. This red gold arrow-shaped skeleton hand thus beats incrementally sixty times per minute. This beautiful dance that adds precision to the timepiece can be closely followed on the minute track that adorns the outer silver flange.
Three years in the making, the complex self-winding A&S6018 calibre that animates this impressive piece of Fine Watchmaking can also be admired through the sapphire exhibition back. It showcases Arnold & Son’s aesthetic interpretation of Haute Horlogerie finishes with hand-chamfered bridges with polished edges, fine circular graining, Côtes de Genève rayonnantes, circular satin-finished wheels and blued screws with bevelled and mirror-polished heads as well as a skeletonised palladium-treated oscillating weight with brushed surfaces.
Unfortunately, though, the brand has once again only provided official pictures of the front of the watch and we will have to wait until Baselworld to show you the beauty of the movement or the back of the watch. Given the level of attention dedicated to the front of the watch, there is little doubt the back meets our expectation, though…
This marvel of technology and aesthetic sense is housed in the brand’s classic round case interpreted here in red gold with a diameter of 44 mm and mounted on a superb brown alligator strap secured by a pin buckle. The Golden Wheel will be produced in a limited edition of just 125 pieces to add the right amount of exclusivity and make the watch even more desirable.
Once again, the Golden Wheel is a perfect example of Arnold & Son’s incredible expertise. The brand continues its path way off the beaten tracks with a lot of elegance and originality. There are no real competitors in the Haute Horlogerie segment with such a refined combination of complications, design, and finish and I truly look forward to experiencing first hand all the other magnificent models the brand will unveil during Baselworld 2015!
For more information please visit the Arnold & Son web site.