By Osheen Arakelian
Arnold & Son recently unveiled 2 new beautiful timepieces to compliment the already impressive Instrument Collection range. Aptly named the Arnold & Son UTTE that stands for ultra-thin tourbillon escapement, the new editions have become some of the world’s thinnest wristwatches measuring in at an incredibly thin 8.34mm in overall size (and that includes the movement and tourbillon escapement, simply breathtaking). We were lucky enough to get hands on with the 18ct red gold variant for you viewing pleasure but before any wristshots here’s some more in depth detail of what the new Arnold & Son UTTE offers to the world of horology.
The Instrument collection by Arnold & Son is identified by its unique features including the off centre dial design, with off-centre positioning of the hours and minutes allowing the display of any other complications to be shown off without having any overlap. What this does is enhance the various complications and show off their amazing engineering on the dial without massive amounts of clutter and overlap. The UTTE follows this aesthetic with the tourbillon escapement occupying the lower half of the dial with the hours and minutes display sitting comfortably above in the top half of the dial.
Another wonderful feature of the UTTE is the size of the Tourbillon cage, which measures in at a whopping 14mm in diameter. What houses the Tourbillon movement is the exclusive Arnold & Son A&S8200, one minute flying tourbillon hand wound movement. The movement itself is only 2.97mm thick and has 2 different finishes depending on what colour is chosen, 18ct red gold or palladium in order to compliment the case perfectly. Another ingenious design feature is how the Tourbillon cage is built and positioned sitting not in the movement itself but rather higher on the dial almost flush with the hours and minutes markets. With only one visible screw thanks to the great engineering of the white coats at Arnold & Son, the timepiece not only has a great 3D effect but also looks unbelievably clean and gentle on the eyes.
The caseback is also beautifully presented with this particular variant housing a rhodium finished movement with gold accents and decorated with Côtes de Genève rayonnants. The Tourbillon Bridge is also decorated with hand engraving by the master engraver at Arnold & Son (A real treat on the eyes).
On the wrist it feels amazingly light and definitely draws a lot of attention especially with the way the Tourbillon dances inside the cage and stands out thanks to the positioning. It’s very comfortable and also form fit on the wrist and even though the case is 42mm in diameter it doesn’t feel big and overstated. Everything is clearly legible and beautifully presented making it a real treat to wear.
The visionary UTTE is the perfect embodiment of a tourbillon escapement – a Haute Horlogerie complication that played a crucial role in Arnold & Son’s History. An exceptional watchmaker, John Arnold was an active participant in one of the most extraordinary partnerships in the world of innovative horology. Indeed, both he and Abraham-Louis Breguet worked closely together, sharing both their knowledge and passion. Evidence of their partnership is A.-L. Breguet’s first-ever tourbillon escapement mounted in John Arnold’s No.11 movement – a watch that can be found today in London’s British Museum.
For more info, please visit arnoldandson.com
- A&S8200 – Exclusive Arnold & Son ultra-thin tourbillon movement, one-minute flying tourbillon, hand-wound, 29 jewels, diameter 32 mm, thickness 2.97 mm, tourbillon cage diameter 14mm, power reserve over 90 h,
- 21,600 vibrations/h
- hours, minutes, tourbillon
18-carat red gold case model
- nickel-silver movement, rhodium treated with Haute Horlogerie finishing: unique hand-engraved tourbillon bridge, hand-chamfered bridges with polished edges, fine circular graining and Côtes de Genève rayonnantes, circular satin-finished wheels with hand-chamfered and polished edges, blued screws with bevelled and mirror-polished heads. Tourbillon cage: satin-finish with chamfered and polished edges.
Palladium case model
- nickel-silver movement, NAC grey treated with Haute Horlogerie
finishing: hand-chamfered bridges with polished edges, fine circular graining and Côtes de Genève, circular satin-finished wheels with hand-chamfered and polished edges, screws with bevelled and mirror-polished heads. Tourbillon cage: satin-finish with chamfered and polished edges.
In 12 o’clock is a day/night index for both GMT time and home time, using fitting skeletonized and filled palms to tell them apart. The bottom half of the indicator is striped, which assists the visual representation of this “night” portion of the disc. I do want the Arnold & Son emblem was located elsewhere however, as its position interrupting the moments track at 12 o’clock can make precise time-setting difficult. Another niggling issue I discovered was that the second hand counterweight closely emulates the appearance of the home time hands, which may occasionally cause a moment of confusion once you glance down and watch three palms pointing at that dial. In an ideal world, I would have loved to observe that the moment hands on each dial stretched just a bit further to properly reach the minute trail, and the hour palms shortened a tad to not overlap the hour mark, but that is a minor aesthetic qualm that doesn’t impact utility.On the reverse side of the Arnold & Son DBG Skeleton, the bottom plate of this manufacture bore A&S1309 is shown. The movement is made from nickel silver (also known as German silver or Maillechort, an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc) which was rhodium-plated and embellished using C?tes de Genève. The wheels are satin-finished and supply a contrasting three dimensional texture into the bottom plate, and involving the chamfered edges of these bridges, the golden gear train can be seen. The motion is hand wound obviously, which contributes to its thinness in a mere 3.9mm. It features 42 jewels and offers a 40 hour power reserve while the twin balances oscillate at 21,600vph, or 3Hz. This is undoubtedly a highly refined motion, but compared to the depth of detail given by the skeletonized dial, the opposite side of this movement almost feels like a letdown.
- silvery-white and silvery opaline / light-grey and silvery opaline
- 18-carat red gold / palladium, diameter 42 mm, cambered sapphire with anti-reflective coating on both sides, case back see-through sapphire, water- resistant to 30 m
- hand-stitched black or brown alligator leather
Osheen Arakelian – Contributing Editor
Drawing on a lifelong love of horology and a more recent introduction to appreciation of fine whisky, Osheen brought the two together with watch & whisky. He is proprietor of the site, which covers everything related to watches and whisky. In between completing a degree in commercial law and supporting a rich social life, he is out and about attending all the latest watch and whisky events Sydney has to offer. His passion has also taken him around Australia attending a number of events and he hopes to continue his career in the watch industry on a more serious level after he graduates. Read his articles here.