Just when we were beginning to think that the tourbillon was as played-out as a top 40 hit, Arnold & Son pulls us back in. After the success of last year’s Baselworld release of the UTTE, Arnold and Son had set a high bar for this year’s new model. With the recent announcement of the TEC1 Tourbillon Chronograph, I think we can consider that bar blown away. Part of their Royal collection, the TEC1 features a brand new in-house movement that combines a tourbillon, column wheel chronograph and automatic winding. With a beautiful and uncommon dial layout, the TEC1 offers huge amounts of complexity while maintaining the clean and elegant lines seen in Arnold & Son’s HMS1 line.
Any in-house automatic chronograph movement is noteworthy, but the Arnold & Son A&S8305 is something special. Running at 28,800 vph and supporting a power reserve of 55 hours, this manufacture movement supports a high frequency tourbillon at twelve o’clock along with a column wheel chronograph complication that offers a maximum measure of 60 minutes on a single sub dial at six. Comprised of over 255 components with 30 jewels, the A&S8305 is beautifully hand finished with circular graining, hand-chamfered bridges and a skeletonized 22 carat rotor.
A movement like this will need some space to stretch its legs, and the TEC1 sports a meaty 45mm 18-carat red gold or palladium case with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal and a sapphire display case back. The dial layout may be my favorite part about this new A&S chronograph, with a strong sense of balance and legibility that at first glance actually hides evidence of the chronograph (aside from the pushers adorning the right flank of the case). Dial text is minimal and the chronograph seconds measure is aided by a simple seconds scale surrounding the dial. The TEC1 offers a chronograph in the format of a fine dress watch that is bolstered by the presence of a tourbillon, which seems like a solid recipe for horological success.
That is possible because they are a part of this Swiss watch movement maker La Joux-Perret (yes, it’s possessed by the Citizen Group from Japan – but they do not really make any decisions about how it is run, to be honest), which gives Arnold & Son the capacity to do things all its competitors simply can’t. At least not on this scale. What is really driving the innovation forward is likely Sebastien, that just has too many thoughts to remain idle.Ignore the movement and dial, and the Arnold & Son Nebula is very much what we’ve come to expect out of Arnold & Son dress-style watches. It isn’t the smallest or the biggest dress watch that Arnold & Son makes, but with its thinner case and classical proportions it surely works well as a more formal timepiece.In graphics, the three-dimensional thickness of this dial is hard to convey. For me, that is really the magic of looking into the Arnold & Son Nebula – along with the visually very appealing charm of the movement structure. Arnold & Son isn’t going to conquer Patek Philippe, Chopard, or Vacheron Constantin these days when it comes to the degree of motion finishing, but it’s pretty good – especially for the money. More importantly, over the years I have really seen it get better – for instance, in how they perform the beveled edges on the ends of movement bridges or wheels.
Made in honor of their 250th anniversary, Arnold & Son is offering three versions of the TEC1, a limited edition in 18 carat red gold with a blue lacquered dial, a version with a palladium case and silver-white dial and the 18 carat red gold with anthracite dial seen here (images of the first two models are not yet available). Limited or not, we assume that demand may outstrip the annual production of a new and complicated watch such as this. With a list price starting at $99,050 USD on a matched alligator strap, well-heeled horology fans have yet another very cool and tourbillon-equipped option from Arnold & Son. arnoldandson.com