We have known Arnold & Son to be a technical watchmaker ever since the days of the British Masters, but today they surprised us with this announcement – a tourbillon with a métiers d’art element. Introducing the Arnold & Son Tourbillon Koi.
Press Release with commentary in italics.
Arnold & Son bespoke service
Arnold & Son is highlighting its tradition of bespoke watch creations. Ever attentive to the wishes of its customers, the brand is offering them the chance to personalise its collections. Customers can apply substantial changes, making a case, movement or dial unique through engraving, gem-setting, miniature painting or sculpted elements.
Interesting move to emphasize their capability to realise bespoke pieces. The original English Arnold & Son, of course offered bespoke watches while it existed in London. And since the revival by the British Masters and now under Citizen ownership, Arnold & Son have offered very limited bespoke pieces. One piece from recent memory is the UTTE (Ultrathin Tourbillon) is the Dragon introduced in 2016. Nevertheless, this is an interesting option for potential customers. And the Tourbillon Koi is a piece unique designed to showcase this possibility. The Koi motif is also consistent with the current Japanese ownership.
Arnold & Son UltrathinTourbillon Koi
One of the models that is particularly well suited to this exercise is the Ultrathin Tourbillon, with its off-centred dial at 12 o’clock. This arrangement frees up space to provide an empty canvas that can be filled with whatever the customer desires.
The UltraThin Tourbillon Koi presents a unique piece that depicts two carp gliding between lotus blossoms. Koi are a popular theme in traditional Japanese art and inspire tranquillity. Above and beyond their beauty and serenity, they are a symbol of perseverance in the face of adversity.
A Tancho carp, recognisable thanks to the large red mark on its head, swims on the right hand side of the dial.
Peering out from beneath the sleeve, it is the first to be seen when checking the time. The scene continues with another koi in shades of white and orange gracing the other side of the dial.
Above these ornamental carp float three lotus blossoms. The petals are cut from silver and shaped, before being engraved, polished and painted in dazzling white lacquer. Each flower’s pistil is formed separately using the same techniques, then the two parts are combined.
The carp and lotus leaves, meanwhile, are painted by hand using incredibly thin brushes that allow a wealth of details to be added, such as scales, barbels and striped fins. The base of the dial is made from blue-toned mother-of-pearl, its iridescent shimmer evoking the water in which this charming scene unfolds.
Beneath this poetic depiction of pond life, Arnold & Son draws on the vast possibilities presented by the calibre A&S8200. Its thickness of 2.97 mm puts it within touching distance of the all-time records for thinness in this category.
The movement displays the hours and minutes in an off-centred dial at 12 o’clock. At 6 o’clock, an aperture reveals a tourbillon whose construction is special in more ways than one.
First and foremost, the tourbillon is a ‘flying’ variety, meaning that it only has a lower carriage bridge. Since the top is not held in place, a few precious millimetres of height can be saved, thus freeing up the view of this timekeeping mechanism. The balance, meanwhile, is off-centred from the carriage axis, creating a dynamic visual impression as the tourbillon rotates. Another distinctive feature is the balance bridge, which is domed
and extends slightly from the dial, ensuring that the rest of the movement is unaffected by the total height. This, in turn, makes the tourbillon’s rotation all the more spectacular.
The effect is further accentuated by the skeletonised main plate located just beneath the tourbillon. The resulting transparency creates an ethereal impression consistent with the refined theme of the Ultrathin Tourbillon Koi. Finally, this manually wound movement features an exceptional 90-hour power reserve – another technical signature of the House.
The A&S8200 certainly is a very beautiful movement, and a proven caliber, as it has seen service in the UTTE for a while. Suitably decorated it provides an excellent foil to the miniature painting on the dial. The flying tourbillon offers a clear, un-fussy view to the dial without a bridge or cock interfering. From the back the display case shows the movement – almost a full plate with only a huge, pierced hand-engraved tourbillon cock holding the regulating organ in place.
Arnold & Son Tourbillon Koi specifications
Functions hours, minutes
Calibre A&S8200, 1 minute flying tourbillon, manual winding
Diameter 32.00 mm
Thickness 2.97 mm
Power reserve 90 hours
Frequency 3 Hz / 21,600 vph
Finishes main plate: Côtes de Genève stripes radiating from the centre and
hand-engraved tourbillon bridge
bridges: polished and chamfered by hand
wheels: circular satin-finished
screws: blued and chamfered, mirror-polished heads
tourbillon carriage: satin-finished, polished and chamfered
Dial miniature painting on black mother-of-pearl
silver lotus flowers, engraved and painted by hand
Material 18-carat red gold (5N)
Diameter 42.00 mm
Thickness 12.23 mm (with crystal)
Crystal domed sapphire with an anti-reflective coating on both sides
Case back sapphire crystal
Water-resistance 30 metres / 100 feet
Material hand-stitched alligator leather
Buckle pin buckle, 18-carat red gold (5N)
Edition unique piece
Guide price CHF 89,000
excl. tax (subject to change)