The tourbillon, one of the most elegant complications in the world of horology, has 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 A.-L. Breguet worked closely, sharing both their knowledge and passion. Evidence of their partnership is A.-L. Breguet’s first ever tourbillon mounted in John Arnold’s No. 11 movement, a watch that can be found today in London’s British Museum.
What sets Arnold & Son’s Tourbillon TE8 esthetically and technically apart is its unique “English” design: the barrel bridge has a ¾ wave-shape, the tourbillon and motion-work bridges are triangular, and even the wheels are shaped with a distinctive three-spoke design. This same design cue can also be found on the tourbillon cage and the barrel bridge as well.
When compared to more conventional tourbillons found today, the TE8 model is said to be “inverted”, that is to say most technical elements and visually interesting features are shown on the dial side, when those would normally be hidden on the reverse of the dial. Other typically English technical idiosyncrasies will seduce even the most demanding watch connoisseurs. Take, for instance, the symmetrical layout of the movement; to achieve such a feat requires overcoming a number of technical challenges. Thus the barrel spring and the tourbillon cage are centered along the watch’s longitudinal axis. When examining the winding system and the gear train, one notes the traditional construction, which uses wheels with long and narrow spokes known as wolf’s teeth, used to improve the smoothness of the overall movement.
Each single TE8 Métiers d’Art II is hand-engraved by Arnold & Son’s own master engraver, who went as far as to create a new engraving pattern solely for this special edition. This new pattern is composed of complex geometrical elements arising from the center of the movement. The engraving of this masterpiece is particularly painstaking as the motif is conceived as a bas-relief in order to increase the three-dimensional effect. The engraver must pay great attention not to slip off and constantly sharpen his tools, as their wear and tear is very high.
Hand-engraving is a traditional art form that involves the use of hardened steel tools called burins in combination with other special tools. These create cuts, lines and texturing that build up entire images or, as in the case of the TE8 Métiers d’Art II, a beautiful hand-engraved pattern on the barrel bridge and on the back of the main plate, bringing a breathtaking richness of detail to an already exceptional tourbillon timepiece.
It goes without saying that every finishing touch on this striking piece has been done by hand by Arnold & Son’s master watchmakers, thus fulfilling the highest standards of superlativeHaute Horlogeriefinish and bringing more brilliance and depth to each element of the movement.
This unique timepiece measures 44 mm in diameter in its classically elegant 18-carat red gold case. It will be produced in a limited edition of only 8 timepieces, with each case individually hand-numbered by our master engraver.