Swiss Watchmaking with English Roots
Arnold & Son embodies modern watchmaking encased in a traditional exterior. The House eschews commonly expected conventions to create singular collections imbued with English heritage. It thus unites the exacting standards of Swiss watchmaking with a unique aesthetic.
Based in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Swiss Jura region, Arnold & Son draws on the heritage of master watchmaker John Arnold (~1736 – 1799), whose name it shares. John Arnold is one of the very few watchmakers to have achieved legendary status by revolutionising his field of study. Born in Cornwall, he learnt from his watchmaker father before training in the Netherlands. He obtained complete watchmaking proficiency at a time when the Kingdom of Great Britain dominated the production of precision timepieces. He was later joined by his son John Roger Arnold, who eventually took over from his father.
As a contemporary Swiss watch brand, Arnold & Son continuously reinvents its approach to pay homage to the work of John Arnold, a man who provided solutions to the challenges of his era, notably the accuracy and reliability of timepieces. As a renowned watchmaker, he produced some of the most accurate marine chronometers of the 18th century and won several awards from the Bureau des Longitudes, spurring him on in his research into timekeeping. As an inventor, he filed a number of patents, including one for a compensation balance featuring a bimetallic balance-spiral (1775) and another for a helical balance spring with terminal curves (1782). He also produced simplified chronometer design principles that permitted mass production of these timepieces, a number of which were made available to His Majesty’s Royal Navy, making John Arnold one of its principal suppliers. One of his least known but most significant contributions was the modern definition of the term ‘chronometer’, which today refers to a high-precision timepiece driven by a movement that has passed an accuracy inspection carried out by an official neutral body.
A Fine Watchmaking House stands out for its mastery of the classics. Arnold & Son has based its identity on its ability to produce fine watchmaking complications that are linked to the heritage of John Arnold. These include true seconds (or dead-beat seconds) – a function recalling the escapements of pendulum clocks marking out the seconds – and dual time zones driven by twin regulating organs, which hark back to the original method of maritime positioning. The moon-phase displays also illustrate the brand’s mastery of the classics, while revealing a more unconventional side through the use of large moons in sculpted gold. Lastly, the power reserves of up to eight days offered by Arnold & Son pay homage to marine chronometers, which also benefited from an impressive autonomy.
The twenty or so calibres presented to date by Arnold & Son have all been conceived, designed, developed, machined, decorated, assembled and adjusted by its sister Manufacture, La Joux-Perret. This independence and creativity demonstrate the House’s ability to perpetuate John Arnold’s exceptional inventions.
The style of Arnold & Son timepieces is instantly recognisable. The three-dimensional architecture of their movements, the late-18th-century-style cantilever balance-cocks, the George-V-style bridges, the constant quest for multiaxial symmetry and the artfully crafted guilloché dials go hand-in-hand with openworked components, from a single barrel to the full range of grande complication calibres.
Arnold & Son’s remarkably balanced collections are all produced in limited series and distributed around the world through carefully selected points of sale. They are priced fairly, because excellence is bound to honesty.
As Swiss watches with English roots, they stand out without being ostentatious. Arnold & Son timepieces are a delight for the eyes and the mind, and are aimed at customers who are looking for something unique.