Drawing inspiration from the John Arnold pocket chronometer No. 1/36, one of the most historically significant chronometers, Arnold & Son presents the Tourbillon Chronometer No.36 Gunmetal Limited editions
The John Arnold Chronometer No. 1/36 or “Arnold 36” as it is more commonly called was not only the first pocket watch by John Arnold to use a larger movement with his “T” balance, but also the first to be referred to as a “chronometer” for its superior timekeeping capabilities. In this respect, the Tourbillon Chronometer No.36 is faithful, contemporary horological homage.
John Arnold’s pocket chronometer no. 1/36 © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London John Arnold (1736-99) successfully found the way to simplify Harrison’s timekeeper design. This watch, No 1/36, made in 1778, went so well on trial at Greenwich that Arnold decided to give it a new name. In the pamphlet he published in 1780 advertising his achievement, he called the timekeeper a ‘chronometer’ and was thus the person who invented the term in its modern sense. The watch is in fact a pocket chronometer housed in a 22-carat gold case.
The new sober gunmetal coating of the case further highlights the mechanical complexity and haute horlogerie finishing of these magnificent timepieces. The gunmetal coating also pays tribute to the old English fine gunsmith tradition, which is closely related to traditional watchmaking and shares many common techniques. Following the classical codes of traditional English chronometer movements, the main pivoting elements such as the wheels, barrels, the tourbillon, and others are each mounted on their own bridge. The triangular, multilevel bridges (no less than thirteen) are mostly skeletonized, providing a more contemporary sense of three-dimensional depth to the entire timepiece.
The tourbillon, a central element of this timepiece, is highlighted in a most magnificent manner. Held by a skeletonized and mirror-polished top bridge, the one-minute tourbillon features a typically Arnold & Son three-spoke design.
Weighing mere fractions of a gram, the tourbillon cage consists of no less than 58 components. Prominently positioned on the dial side, the tourbillon can also be viewed from the back, thanks to an opening in the main plate. The same kind of opening is made below the small seconds display, adding to the symmetry of the Tourbillon Chronometer No.36.
The apparent technical virtuosity of the Tourbillon Chronometer No.36 is not only a treat for the eyes, as the watch is a COSC certified chronometer; something of a rare achievement for a tourbillon-equipped timepiece.
The decorative haute horlogerie arts are also lavishly demonstrated in the Tourbillon Chronometer No.36. The entirely in-house conceived and manufactured A&S8600 calibre features a smooth sand-blasted main plate and bridges with chamfered and polished edges. The main plate and bridges are treated with a golden coating, echoing the aesthetics of the historical pocket watches made by John Arnold. The main plate also is set with several mirror-polished 18k gold chatons, while the wheels in the gear train are embellished with circular satin finishing with chamfered and polished edges. Even the screws are beveled and feature mirror-polished heads.
The heart of the watch, the tourbillon, features a traditional construction with a top bridge, while the mirror-polished cage has the signature Arnold & Son three-spoke design, making a complete turn in 60 seconds. The double barrels, embellished with laser-engraving decoration, provide a considerable power reserve of 90 hours when fully wound.
The Tourbillon Chronometer No.36 Gunmetal is limited to 28 examples.
Model: Tourbillon Chronometer No.36 Gunmetal
Collection: Royal Collection
Limited edition: 28 timepieces
Manufacture Arnold & Son calibre, hand-wound, 33 jewels, diameter 37.8 mm, thickness 5.9 mm, power reserve 90 h, double barrel, 4 Hz / 28’800, COSC certified
Movement decoration: Nickel-silver and steel movement, 5N red gold treated bridges and main plate with Haute Horlogerie finishing: sand blasted bridges with chamfered and polished edges, 18k gold chatons, screws with bevelled and mirror-polished heads
Tourbillon cage: mirror-polished with hand-chamfered polished edges and circular satin-finished surfaces
Hours, minutes, small seconds, tourbillon
Inner bezel Rhodium treated with black indexes
Sandblasted stainless steel case with dark grey DLC (“gunmetal”) coating, diameter 46 mm, cambered sapphire with anti-reflective coating on both sides, see-through sapphire case back, water-resistant to 30 m
Hand-stitched brown or black alligator leather