Watches: Arnold & Son Time Pyramid Guilloché (+live pics)
By Thierry Ané on May 7, 2015
Is it always possible to improve upon the design of a timepiece? Some models are so accomplished that the task may appear virtually impossible. One such timekeeper is Arnold & Son’s astonishing “Time Pyramid” first presented in a rose gold frame in 2013 and then unveiled with the same success a year later in a stainless steel version.
Inspired by the aesthetic of antique British skeleton clocks and some regulators created by John Arnold, the A&S1615 calibre that animates this stunning member of the “Instrument Collection” is the king of the show with its sensational skeletonised pyramid-shaped architecture. Completely conceived, designed and developed in the brand’s La-Chaux-de-Fonds workshops, this visually striking mechanical construction plays on multiple levels and transparency to dramatically stage the main components of a watch’s inner workings.
Following a vertical axis that starts with the balance wheel at 12 o’clock, the gear train runs to the two barrels placed at 5 and 7 o’clock. Mounted in series, these mainspring barrels supply 90 hours of energy with constant force to the wheel train. A blued serpentine hand placed just above each one of them indicates their respective reserve levels via graduated dots.
The small seconds sub-dial reduced to a metal ring with a dotted track is placed at the centre of the watch just beneath the larger hours and minutes ring held by four blued screws that occupies the bottom half of the dial. There, two skeleton blued arrow-shaped hands indicate the time on a sapphire chapter with black Roman numerals circled by a dotted metal minute track.
All the skeleton bridges of the movement are designed in such a way that all the wheels, the two mainspring barrels, the escapement and the balance wheel are perfectly visible from the dial side, thus creating a magnificent mechanical show enhanced by the impeccable finish of every component. From the polished edges of the hand-chamfered bridges to the circular satin finish of the gilt wheels, to the elegant contrast between satin finish and Côte de Genève decorations on the bridges, every single detail reveals the Haute Horlogerie status of these exquisite creations.
To allow for a breathtaking view of this remarkable movement and emphasise the incredible depth brought by this multi-level construction, the rose gold and stainless steel “Time Pyramid” models were equipped with sapphire crystal on the front and back. An absolute transparency almost seemed to be the raison d’être of such a delicate creation.
With the new Time Pyramid Guilloché, though, Arnold & Son teaches us that there can be another purpose for such an open-worked realisation (save from its intrinsic beauty of course!): it allows the watchmakers to showcase another traditional part of their craft, the art of embellishment. The 44.6 mm red gold case of the Time Pyramid Guilloché thus features a closed gold back that has been skilfully adorned with guilloché patterns on both sides.
Engraved with the brand’s anchor logo on its centre, the back of the watch reveals an exquisite concentric “Clous de Paris” pattern that can be quite mesmerising to watch. Looking at the watch from the dial side, one discovers the engine-turned motif selected for the other side of the back cover: beautiful sunray radiates from under the hours and minutes hands to the silver-coloured flange creating a spectacular background for the pyramid-shaped movement.
In the same way the stunning symmetry and skeletonising of the A&S1615 movement were present to highlight the remarkable transparency of the original Time Pyramid, they now subtly draw one’s attention to the refinement of the guilloché work. It is the same timepiece and yet it feels utterly different…
I really can’t see how someone could find a flaw in both the design and technical achievements of the new Time Pyramid Guilloché. This is simply an outstanding creation that could find its place in any watch collection, no matter how impressive it already is. The Time Pyramid Guilloché will rank high in my list of the most beautiful watches of the year. I know that it is something I say for virtually all Arnold & Son’s timepieces but is it my fault if this brand is presenting so many stunning models?
For more information please visit the Arnold & Son web site.