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Arnold & Son - DSTB Only Watch 2019

Arnold & Son DSTB Only Watch 2019

In 2019, for the second consecutive year, Arnold & Son is supporting the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy by participating in the Only Watch auction.

For Only Watch, Arnold & Son has created a unique edition of its Dial Side True Beat model, better known by the acronym DSTB. The brand chose this piece in particular to highlight the infinite treasures of every second and to celebrate life. Each short second also serves to underscore the long periods of time devoted to scientific and medical research into muscular dystrophy.

Arnold & Son’s DSTB model calls on the watchmaking science of John Arnold, a British watchmaking genius active in the late 18th century. Throughout his career, he focused his efforts on the quest for extreme chronometric accuracy. John Arnold garnered renown in part for his marine chronometers, which naturally featured a “dead-beat second” mechanism – more favourably known as a “true second” hand. This complication involves the second hand making 60 jumps per minute. It makes pronounced jumps from marker to marker instead of following the rhythm set by the oscillator frequency, which moves the hand several times per second and results in a continuous second.

DSTB Only Watch 2019

© Arnold & Son

As the display always points to a readable marker on the minute circle, it allows for an extremely precise reading, recalling both regulator-style workshop clocks and marine chronometers. Both of these kinds of timepieces had to be extremely precise as well as clearly legible.

Despite being a common feature in quartz watches, where it is used to save energy, it is exceptionally rare for a true second to be added to a mechanical calibre – making it an utter delight for lovers of traditional watchmaking. Arnold & Son offers this complication on several models, one of which in particular has made a name for itself. Instead of incorporating it into the movement, the DSTB places the entire true seconds mechanism on the dial side, making it easy to understand and, above all, spectacular.

The components of this unusual display can be found under a large transparent sapphire circle punctuated with light sky-blue indexes. To produce these precise components, the brand had to call on LIGA production technology, where, instead of being machined, the parts are formed using a technique reminiscent of microprocessor production.

DSTB Only Watch 2019

© Arnold & Son

The system operates in a similar way to a detent escapement. The movement drives an indirect seconds’ wheel with a lever fitted with a counterweight. This is connected to a lever ending in a ruby pallet stone. Every second, the energy accumulated lifts up the pallet stone, which allows the true seconds wheel and hand to move forwards by one notch. A spring then returns the lever to its place. 

At the heart of the system, an anchor plays the highly visible role of counterweight. A symbol of the House and featured in its logo, the anchor serves as a reminder of the watchmaking roots of John Arnold, who devoted years of work to marine chronometers.

As only befits a watch donated to the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy, the DSTB Only Watch edition is a unique piece. It is characterised by its brushed anthracite DLC-treated steel case, its calfskin strap whose turned-out stitched seam is aligned with the off-centred hour and minute dial, and of course by the light sky-blue details chosen as the theme of Only Watch 2019. But Arnold & Son has gone further still in the pursuit of uniqueness. The winning bidder for the DSTB Only Watch will be invited to choose the shape of the true seconds counterweight to replace the anchor-shaped piece.

Arnold & Son will then produce the component in question – after carrying out the necessary specific development and production processes – and incorporate it into the timepiece. The piece will then be both unique and personal.

The DSTB will be auctioned in Geneva on Saturday 9 November 2019.


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Named after John Arnold, the English watchmaker of the 18th century renowned for his ingenuity and work on marine chronometers, Arnold & Son perpetuates today his legacy, exploring contemporary ways to interpret traditional watch craftsmanship.

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