Watches: Arnold & Son Sir John Franklin Set

By Thierry Ané on June 30, 2015

After the stunning East India Company SetWatches: Arnold & Son TB East India Company Set presented in 2013, Arnold & Son relies once again on the extreme refinement of their “True Beat” model to illustrate another exciting chapter of Britain’s amazing maritime history.

The East India Company set from 2013

With A Fleet of East Indiamen, East Indiamen in the China Seas, and The Honourable East India Company’s Ship, the brand’s extremely talented miniature painting artisans paid tribute to the nation’s colonial ties with India. This time around, an elegant watch trio is unveiled to honour Sir John Franklin through three key moments in his maritime accomplishments inspired by three famous paintings from London’s National Maritime Museum.

The brand’s understated but highly recognisable 44 mm rose gold case serves as a contemporary frame for the sophisticated A&S 6103 calibre. This self-winding movement with ceramic ball bearing has been entirely designed, developed and manufactured in the brand’s La-Chaux-de-Fonds workshops. It offers an off-centred presentation of the hours and minutes in a sub-dial featuring Roman numerals and skeleton blued hands, as well as a majestic central deadbeat seconds: a long arrow-shaped blues hand with hollowed out tips ticks once per second allowing an accurate reading of time on the discreet railway track surrounding the dial.

As usual, the brand’s talented watchmakers have spared no effort to adorn the movement in the pure tradition of Haute Horlogerie. Rhodium-treated, this 30.4 mm calibre boasts hand-chamfered bridges with polished edges as well as fine circular graining and Côtes de Genève rayonnantes decorations. Watch connoisseurs will also appreciate the brushed and skeletonised oscillating weight or the blued screws with bevelled and mirror-polished heads.

However, despite all the incredible attention brought to the high-end finishing, you will only have eyes for the sumptuous mother-of-pearl dials with their incredibly detailed miniature paintings. With tiny paintbrushes, immense skills and a lot of patience, the artisans/artists manage to reproduce the beauty of the original paintings from the National Maritime Museum and to amaze us with the incredible adventures of some of the greatest explorers.

The first model, the Friendly Encounter, shows HMS Erebus and HMS Terror in New Zealand in about 1840, when the crew had a series of peaceful meetings with the local Maori population. On the Antarctic Adventure, we see the two vessels navigating storm-tossed seas in the inhospitable environment at the southern tip of the world. Named North-West Passage, the last timekeeper depicts HMS Erebus surrounded by icebergs but still in open water. We know now that both ships were subsequently trapped by the ice and abandoned by their crews, who perished. A later expedition established that Sir John Franklin died on 11 June 1847.

Just like the East India Company SetWatches: Arnold & Son TB East India Company Set, only 28 units of the “Sir John Franklin Set” will be produced. These extremely refined timepieces proudly showcase all the sides of Arnold & Son’s know-how, including Fine Watchmaking and high-end decorations. The Friendly Encounter, the Antarctic Adventure and the North-West Passage will undoubtedly count among the most-prized jewels of 28 lucky watch collectors.

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