Arnold & Son has proven once again their versatility in interpretation of classical watchmaking with this new moonphase watch – with a moon display via a textured globe in marble and avdenture which is claimed to have the largest volume ever made. Coupled with a very sexy aventurine dial, and we have a winner! We got one for a week to try out. Here is our comprehensive review.
Review: Arnold & Son Luna Magna
Reference 1LMAR.A02A.C153A has an indicative worldwide retail price is CHF 43,900 before taxes in red gold case. Limited Edition of 28 pieces only.
Luna Magna is Arnold & Son’s first three-dimensional moon, having dabbled with huge moonphase displays quite successfully in the past. One of our favourite moonphase watches is the HM Perpetual Moon and the update with an aventurine dial are two examples. Both show a gorgeous, photo realistic moon which is absolutely huge! Covering almost half the dial’s real estate. And now with this new Luna Magna, they have the largest 3 dimensional moon by volume ever made.
The case, dial and hands
Cased in an elegant red gold case measuring some 44mm in diameter, the watch features a box shaped sapphire glass crystal protecting the most eye catching elements on the dial. The off-centered dial at 12 o’clock, is aesthetically balanced by the huge speherical representation of the moon at 6 o’clock. This rotating sphere accurately mimics the appearance of the quarters of the moon against the starry backdrop created by the rest of dark blue aventurine dial – the bright gold sparks on this glittering glass looking like the dazzling stars in the night sky.
The off-centered dial layout is one of the signature designs of the Arnold & Son brand, an English watchmaker name, but totally based in Switzerland, though now owned by Citizen. The hour-minute dial is framed by a annular ring marked with the minutes, and the sub-dial carrying the time indication is in white lacquer with Arabic numerals.
The moon itself is a huge 12mm sphere, which is made half of a white textured and mottled marble and half in aventurine. On close examination, as in the photograph below, the light (marble) surface looks like the textured surface of our Moon, though this is not intended as a realistic representation. The way the globe emerges from the dial is a beautiful sight.
Although the moon sphere itself measures 12mm in diameter, the entire watch, from box crystal in the dial side to the box crystal in the back measures no more than 15.9mm, which is quite a feat. The entire ensemble does not feel thick at all on the wrist, in fact it actually feels rather slim. A testament to the design ability of Arnold & Son to cleverly conceal the height to make the watch look, feel and wear thinner than it is.
The movement: A&S 1021
The movement used is the in-house La Joux-Perret manufactured caliber unique to this watch. From the case back, the layout and some components look very similar to the A&S 1215, but the bridge layout and locations of the wheels is totally different, and this is a totally new caliber. Of course the 3 dimensional moon display is a novel concept to A&S. This new hand-wound calibre, is designed with the lunar globe in mind, and features a 90-hour power reserve and a regulating organ oscillating at a frequency of 3 Hz.
A sub-dial indicating the age of the moon, in a manner which affords more accuracy than a rotating sphere is provided at the case back. The moonphase display is constructed in the classical way where it requires a one day adjustment once every 122 years. This correction is made from the crown.
Movement finishing is excellent, and in line with the haute horlogerie aspirations that A&S is targetting the Luna Magna at. All the essential finnisage is addressed well. The fausses côtes, or Côtes de Genève are nicely ruled on the bridges, The jewels are seated in their own polished countersinks and the anglage on the edges of each bridge is nicely done.
Of note, the balance bridge shown above, featuring two sharp outward horns and a pierced inner surface which carries its own anglaged inside edges. The only nit pick we can find on the movement is that we wished A&S would use inward pointing angles on the many pierced openings to demonstrate hand working, and a more beautiful appearance, rather than the rounded edges of these edges.
The competitive landscape
The market landscape for a 3 dimensional moonphase display is rather thin. From the top of our heads and looking through our archives, we can perhaps find that De Bethune produces several versions of their DB28 which feature a small 3 dimensional moonphase shown by a small sphere in platinum and blued steel. Link to the original 2011 launch model, and subsequently revised in 2016 and again in 2018. And in the independent watchmaker, Christian van der Klaauw Real Moon Joure had made a 3 dimensional display for the moonphases, also set in a dial of aventurine. CvdK claims his moonphase is the most accurate with a one day in 11,000 years. However, we do note that Andreas Strehler, though does not have a watch with a 3D display, has a moonphase movement accurate to 1 day in 2.045 million years. This was demonstrated in his Sauterelle à lune perpétuelle.
The Arnold & Son Luna Magna is a very beautiful watch. When it was with us, the entire staff were enthralled with the looks and easy functionality of the displays. It kept time accurately, and wore very comfortably. Much more than the 44mm case diameter would suggest. This was one which wore smaller, felt like perhaps 41mm – no small feat for a watch of the 44mm diameter x 15.9mm thickness, and due to the clever design of the slightly curved box crystal extending into the long sweeping curved lugs which hug the wrist.
This is a significant step for Arnold & Son to be able to show its technical virtuosity in a watch which is does only showcase watchmaking merit, but also one which is aesthetically very beautiful.
The Arnold & Son Luna Magna was photographed in our studio. Leica SL2-S and either the Sigma 70mm ART lens or the Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-L 60mm f/2.8.
Arnold & Son Luna Magna Technical specifications
Functions hours, minutes, astronomical three-dimensional moon phases (one-day correction required every 122 years), moon-phase indicator on the back
Calibre A&S1021, hand-wound
Diameter 37.60 mm
Thickness 12.00 mm with three-dimensional moon (4.75 mm without moon)
Power reserve 90 hours
Frequency 3 Hz / 21,600 vph
white lacquered hours dial, Arabic numerals
blue PVD flange
Moon 12.00 mm in diameter
white marble hemisphere and goldstone hemisphere
Material 18-carat red gold (5N)
Diameter 44.00 mm
Thickness 15.90 mm (with crystal)
Crystal domed sapphire with an anti-reflective coating on both sides
Case back sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on the inside
Water-resistance 30 metres / 100 feet
Material hand-stitched blue alligator leather
Buckle pin buckle in 18-carat red gold (5N)