Just ahead of Baselworld 2018, which begins this Thursday, the adventurous watchmakers at Arnold & Son are taking us on a trip high above the earth, eventually transporting us to the stars. Two debuts, Globetrotter and Nebula Lady, lead off Arnold & Son’s 2018 collection, which we suspect will again offer another pleasing range of distinctive, technically focused designs. We’ll see more later this week, but for now let’s take a quick look at these first two launches for 2018.
This new 45mm steel watch is perfect for world time fans who prefer dial maps to less graphic displays of multiple time zones. The map here is a three-dimensional world time disk that appears to float over most of the dial. (Arnold and Son says this disk is one of the largest rotating world time displays on a wristwatch.) The disk is held into place by a large arched bridge that spans almost the entire diameter of the dial. Did you flash to the arched bridges on MB&F Legacy models? I did.
The disk supported by that bridge offers the wearer a view of the northern hemisphere that rotates once every 24-hours and serves as the generalized world-time display as well as the night-day indicator. For the latter purpose, the surrounding bezel-like sapphire disc is transparent between 6.00 and 18.00, and translucent from 1800 to 6.00, making daytime and nighttime easily evident. Still, determining world times with this globe will always be approximate, given the lack of city indications and marks to align them with.
With world time precision not a strong point on the Globetrotter, one should instead enjoy the artistry here. Arnold has excelled in that regard. To create the highly detailed globe display, Arnold and Son starts with a rounded piece of brass, chemically etches the oceans and continents, sandblasts it to create the mountains, and then hand-lacquers in the blue oceans.
The Globetrotter is set using a three-position crown system. You’ll wind the watch while in the first position, set the red-lacquered local time (hour hand) in the second, and in the final position set both the hour and minute hands and the world-time. Red-lacquered filled local time hands contrast nicely with all the blue, black and silver on the dial, making local time easy to see while retaining the eye’s focus on the globe. Both the main time display as well as the world-time function can be adjusted forwards and backwards.
This is a fairly large watch, measuring 45 mm in diameter and 17.2mm thick, or 10.4mm without the crystal.
At $16,995, the Arnold & Son Globetrotter won’t be the least expensive globe-focused world timer out there by any means, but at this level of in-house craftsmanship, and with its apparently one-of-a-kind artistic display, it’s one of the most unusual.
With its polished steel or gold bridges arranged symmetrically around its wide open in-house Caliber A&S5101, the Arnold & Son Nebula earned accolades as soon as it debuted two years ago at Baselworld. This year, Arnold & Son adds diamonds and red gold bridges to the red gold-cased version of the watch, places it on a white leather strap, and renames the result the Nebula Lady.
Dubbed the “the skeleton watch just for her,” the Nebula Lady simply amplifies what was already an attractive timepiece for anyone, male or female, who enjoys skeletonized and somewhat avant-garde design. Sized exactly like the original at 41.5mm in diameter, this new Nebula also fits a bit smaller on any wrist given its 8.7mm thickness and curved lugs.
Arnold & Son named the watch Nebula because of its bridges. They radiate from the perimeter of the dial toward the center to mimic an inverted, exploded star. Arnold & Son adds that this design also echoes its own brand history, much of it steeped in English movement architecture. These gold bridges, however, serve beyond their role as eye-candy because they support many of the in-house movement’s gears. Note that among those gears sit two mainspring barrels that together support a superior 90-hour power reserve.
Arnold & Son’s feminine enhancements focus on contrasting the silvery palladium-tone base plate with the gold bridges and case. Of course the latter also glitters now that it is set with ninety brilliant-cut white diamonds. In the Nebula Lady, the central hours and minutes hands as well as the small seconds hand are given a black treatment. Polished and faceted hour markers also nicely contrast against the palladium chapter ring. All of this color and contrast is then placed onto a white calf leather strap.
The Arnold & Son Nebula Lady is a limited edition of fifty timepieces. Price: $35,000