Arnold & Son is an old English watchmaking company. Originating from 1764, she celebrates here 250th Anniversary this year. Amazing, when considering that Patek Philippe is only celebrating the 175th Anniversary.
But the brand was non-existant for a long time. From the hey days of English watch and clockmaking, the trade of producing time pieces moved to Paris, and later to Switzerland where it remained as the terroir of choice for luxury timepieces. The name of Arnold & Son and other English watchmaking names were purchased by a Swiss industrialist Eric Loth some 20 years ago under his umbrella company The British Masters. The British Masters then owned Arnold & Son, specializing in chronometers, Graham specializing in chronographs and Tompion. However, these watches were not constructed in the English traditions. But were clever Swiss watches, built by Jean-Pierre Jacquet with English names. In our view, this characteristic has not changed, although the stage and players are now different. The watches made by Arnold & Son remain Swiss.
The British Masters eventually was dissolved, and the component brands came under separate ownership. Graham remained under the control of Eric Loth, while Arnold & Son was controlled by Prothor. Prothor also owned the Manufacture La Joux-Perret SA (formerly known as Jacquet SA). In May 2012, the Japanese watchmaking giant Citizen acquired Prothor, and hence ownership of Arnold & Son and La Joux-Perret.
Under the Citizen ownership, and with the resources of La Joux-Perret available, we see BaselWorld 2014 as a great turning point for Arnold & Son. The introduction of 7 new watches, of which several are world premieres is an indication of things to come. In this review, we explore 2 which feature the visually arresting and innovative dead beat seconds or second morte, and one with a double tourbillon.
The dead beat seconds, Arnold & Son nomenclature uses the term True Beat, is a special mechanism which when fitted to a mechanical movement, allows the second hand to move in jumps of 1 second each. This is a rather special complication, as it allows the watchmaker to showcase the precision of the watch. It might be noted that quartz movements also feature this dead beat seconds arrangement, but for an altogether different reason. The reason why the second hand in a quartz watch move in one second increments is to save battery power, as the battery only needs to provide an impulse once every second.
The DTE, Dual Time, Double Tourbillon is another type of virtuoso work done to showcase La Joux-Perret’s mastery of the complications.
The double tourbillon is shown on the front of the movement, on two magnificently designed and executed 18kt red gold cocks holding the tourbillons. The design aesthetic is made perfect with the balancing of the lacquered dials for the dual timezones at 12 and 6 o’clock positions.
We feel that Arnold & Son has come a long way. With the injection of Citizen capital, and with the stablemate La Joux-Perret’s expertise and savoire faire, the brand is seen as leading the way amongst the small independents.