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Arnold & Son - Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 Gunmetal

Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 Gunmetal

The latest incarnation of the Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 pays tribute to the closely related worlds of old English watchmakers and gunsmiths.

The Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 has a lot to live up to, since the original No. 36, made by John Arnold in England in 1778, was the first pocket watch to be referred to as a chronometer to stress its exceptional timekeeping capabilities. This was at a time when watchmakers were vying to win prizes offered by England’s Board of Longitude to devise marine chronometers (the term chronometer was coined by Englishman Jeremy Thacker in 1714) that could be used to calculate longitude to an accuracy of less than one degree. At the time such chronometers were bulky and housed in boxes, so Arnold’s success at miniaturising the technology to fit into a pocket watch was nothing short of a sensation.

If the Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 looks unusual to you, it is probably because its movement (most of which is visible on the dial side rather than from the back of the watch, where only the tourbillon and the small seconds can be seen) is configured according to the design codes of the classic English watchmakers, rather than those of the Swiss or French. Every mobile element is mounted on its own individual bridge. There are 13 separate triangular bridges in all, in different sizes and shapes, all of which have been skeletonised to add depth to the movement. As befits a watch brand based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, there is, however, a decidedly Swiss flavour to the component finishing, with a mirror-polished bridge for the tourbillon and bevelled and polished edges on all the bridges. The mainplate is sandblasted and set with several mirror-polished jewel chatons in 18-carat gold. The mainplate and bridges have also been given a 5N red-gold coating in recollection of John Arnold’s No. 36 chronometer, which was produced in 22-carat gold.

Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 Gunmetal

Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 Gunmetal © Arnold & Son

The anthracite gunmetal DLC coating on the stainless-steel case matches perfectly with the red-gold colour and is just one way in which this watch stands out from the crowd. One may think that it is only natural that the in-house calibre A&S8600 movement should have the COSC chronometer certification, but this is far from being the norm for a tourbillon. Furthermore, the power reserve is an impressive 90 hours, thanks to the two barrels that can be seen clearly in the upper part of the movement. Most impressive of all, however, is the price: At 36,400 Swiss francs (excluding VAT) this limited edition of 28 is great value for money considering its horological content.

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Named after John Arnold, the English watchmaker of the 18th century renowned for his work on chronometers and marine chronometers, Arnold & Son perpetuates the legacy of its namesake from the heart of the modern-day Swiss watch industry.

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