Arnold & Son has a long and storied past filled with ornate complications that herald fine watchmaking and elegant design. In their newest addition to the Instrument Collection, the new Golden Wheel is updated from the previous model with touches like black numerals on the sapphire discs, a new outer ring on the dial, and a black ADLC dial plate. The Arnold & Son Golden Wheel Ref.1HVAR.M01A.C120A carries over the tradition of the Golden Wheel line, which was the first watch to have both wandering hours and true beat seconds complications together. A unique piece in an 18k red gold case, this watch looks as cool as ever.
The mother-of-pearl arc reaching from 10 to 2 provides a backdrop to the current hour that is displayed as a numeral that moves along a minute track, while the true or “dead” beat seconds are indicated by the central hand. The hours make their way to the top via three floating sapphire crystals that seem to hover above the dial with a simple arrow above each numeral to indicate the minutes. Wandering hours as a complication originates as far back as the 17th century, when it could be found in table clocks or those commissioned by such figures as Pope Alexander XII in 1656. Eventually, the craft made its way into pocket watches and as a result to modern wristwatches, which is quite a technical feat. Arnold & Son place a lot of emphasis on the fact that the Arnold & Son Golden Wheel is the world’s first wandering hour complication with true beat seconds in a wristwatch. True beat seconds, of course, create an effect in which the second hand “ticks” or “beats” each second rather than the customary sweeping motion typical of mechanical watches.
The new Arnold & Son Golden Wheel is housed in a 44mm 18k red-gold case with a 30-meter water-resistance and cambered sapphire crystals on the front and back. That’s not the only sapphire at work here, though. This new version features black numerals on the three sapphire discs as well as an ADLC treated dial plate with Côtes de Genève finishing and a newly designed outer ring, all of which promises to increase readability. The previous version featured golden numerals, so the black will surely ease the wearer’s eye here.
The Arnold & Son Golden Wheel is powered by the Arnold & Son manufacture self-winding A&S6018 that runs at 28,800vph and offers a 45-hour power reserve. Featuring hand-chamfered bridges, the movement is treated with palladium and has Côtes de Genève rayonnantes. The skeletonized weight is also palladium-treated and has smooth, brushed surfaces to create a fluid experience.
One of the greatest problems in regards to accuracy is moderating the source of power to the regulating organ of the timepiece (in this scenario, the tourbillon featured at the lower right quadrant of the flow). The mainspring, like every component of this size, is susceptible to certain molecular inconsistencies acquired during the creation procedure. Any external or internal inconsistency could result in a fluctuation of electricity delivered to the gear train. And that is before one even believes the extreme drop-off in torque once the mainspring satisfactorily uncoils. Since the mainspring winds down, the amount of power delivered to the escapement dips. This can potentially play havoc with the timekeeping, therefore Arnold & Son have attempted to eliminate this error by installing a “constant-force” mechanism. The modern incarnation of the business that lay dormant for more than a century is doing what it is to reconnect with the origin of its inspiration.Practically talking, this component takes the place of a fuseé, which can be an old-fashioned constant force complication we have observed on aBlogtoWatch very recently in the new Zenith Academy Georges Favre-Jacot Anniversary piece (read the review), for instance. To compensate for the inevitable drop-off in power generated with one barrel in a standard set-up, Arnold & Son have started out with two gaseous barrels in series. The first barrel powers the equipment train, while the next barrel tops up the torque of the first if it drops below an optimal level. But their innovation doesn’t end there.
The update to the Arnold & Son Golden Wheel definitely increases the contrast and legibility of an already beautiful timepiece. I much prefer this variant to the previous for the inclusion of the black numerals on the sapphire discs alone. A wandering hours complication is rare, and Arnold & Son has managed to keep improving. It is always nice to see a brand not only take on the more complex complications, but pair them with special features such as the true beat seconds we have in this instance.
The Arnold & Son Golden Wheel comes paired with a dressy hand-stitched alligator leather strap in either brown or black. Pricing is $47,500. arnoldandson.com