The latest timekeeper from the Royal collection by Arnold & Son is dubbed TES and can be considered as a real horological treat. To reflect the brand’s origin, it is made with some design solutions characteristic for the traditional English watchmaking which are naturally enhanced with a twist of modernism. The watch features a skeletonized movement with a tourbillion, the combination of sapphire and open-worked bridges that give it a lot of depth and an opulence of hand-performed Haute Horlogerie finishes. When it comes to the tourbillion complication itself, it is much more interesting than the ones of a conventional style since it features an inverted design where the functioning parts stand on the front dial side. Its novel hand-wound movement is set in a 44 mm wide rose gold housing and exposed from both sides. Arnold & Son Royal TES is made in a limited edition of 28 pieces and has a price tag of around $185,000.
Caliber A&S8100 in Focus
When it comes to the latest newcomer from the Royal series, its movement is in focus and it defines its entire appearance. Fortunately, the caliber can be seen from both sides of the case and might we say there are plenty of impressive things to see. Caliber A&S8100 made of silver-nickel is in the brand’s common practice developed specifically for and will be used solely in the new model. Its mainplate with NAC treatment is decorated with a lovely guilloche pattern that was characteristic for the brand’s vintage pocket watches. The evoking of the brand’s heritage is not accidental by any chance, especially since it is a movement with a tourbillion complication. This is significant because of the role of John Arnold, the brand’s founder, in the development of the complication itself since he was closely cooperating with Abraham-Louis Breguet. The famous French watchmaker who fathered one of the most, if not the most impressive horological complications, used an idea conceived by Arnold. The input of the renowned Brit in the creation of the complication itself can be demonstared with the fact that the first ever tourbillion made by Breguet was fitted into a Caliber 11 of the watch by John Arnold.
After a short excursion to the proud history of the brand and its founder, let us concentrate a bit more on the design of Royal TES and its caliber. As it has been mentioned, its tourbillion which is placed on the bottom is designed in an opposite manner than it is mostly the case in order to reveal its functioning. The tourbillion cage features a three-spoke design which is a trait that is repeated on several other occasions. Its bridge is triangular in design and skeletonized, just like the movement’s motion-work red gold treated bridges.
Caliber A&S8100 possesses a symmetrical design. A skeleton barrel sits on the upper side of the face, and serves as a sort of a mirror image of the tourbillion cage. The exposed barrel and the wheels (which are also constructed in a three-spoke manner) are mounted on a bridge that is one of the best examples of the mentioned traditional English approach improved with modern touches. The barrel bridge is made in a traditional wavy form yet constructed from sapphire in order to offer a view on said components. Not only that it reveals the mentioned components, but also gives the caliber a modern three-dimensional appearance and depth. Other recognizable British watchmaking solutions displayed in the movement are the use of wolf-teeth gearing for the winding system and the presence of solid gold chatons.
When it comes to the functioning of the 19-jeweled movement with the diameter of 32.6 mm and the height of 6.3 mm, we should notice that it operates at the frequency of 21,600 vph which is common for the calibers with a tourbillion complication. When fully wound by hand, its power reserve lasts for around 80 hours, while its supported functions include central hours, minutes, and seconds executed via tourbillion.
Apart from the mentioned guilloche pattern on the mainplate and the solid gold chatons, the caliber features several other supreme decorations that give away its status as a true high horology piece and which in congruence with its other traits raise the price to hefty $185,000. For example, the wheels are with circular satin finish, as well as with polished and manually-chamfered edges. Moreover, its tourbillion carriage and its bridge are ornamented with a mirror-polish finish, whilst the utilized screws are beveled and topped off with mirror-polished heads.
Red Gold and Sapphires
Arnold & Son Royal TES model has a 44 mm wide circular housing made of 18 K red gold. On the front side and surrounded by a fixed golden bezel, there is a cambered sapphire crystal with a double reflective treatment. As it has been mentioned, sapphire is also featured on the rear side of the case with supported waterproofness of 30 m. Due to the presence of sapphire sections on both sides and the fact that the area around both tourbillion and barrel is open-worked, its wearer can actually look through the entire piece.
Since the main focus of the watch is its tourbillion caliber, the anthracite colored dial is reduced to a flange. The periphery of the face is with applied gold treated spindle-shaped hour markers and painted minute markers which are used in the conjuction with two central hands with the red gold plating, of which the stumpy hour hand has an especially interesting appearance. The watch with the reference number 1SJAR.V01A.C112A is paired with a hand-stitched alligator leather strap in brown or black color, depending on the buyer’s preference.