The latest addition to the Arnold & Son Instrument Collection combines the marine precision of the true-beat (TB) movement with aesthetic perfection. Featuring one of the instantly recognizable design cues of the Instrument Collection, the off-centre positioning of the time display at 9 o’clock leaves a generous open area and creates a perfect setting for the exquisite engraved and hand-painted depiction of a tiger. To underline its exclusivity, this fabulous example of high-precision technology and aesthetic perfection is available in a limited edition of just 28 pieces.
The dominant feature of this fine-quality wristwatch is a hand-engraved appliqué of a tiger executed by Arnold & Son’s master engraver, which is then duplicated for the series. Hand engraving is a traditional art form that makes use of hardened steel tools called burins and other special implements. They create cuts, lines and texturing that build up entire images or, as in the case of the TB Tiger, a perfectly sculpted figure of a tiger in solid 22-carat rose gold. The breathtaking richness of detail is then duplicated in rose gold for the rest of the series. Once the appliqué is in place on the dial, the tiger’s black stripes are painted by hand, a process that accentuates its three-dimensional nature. Hand engraving and miniature painting both call for infinite patience and expertise and take many years of concentrated practice to fully master.
With its pure, timeless design, the Instrument Collection takes its inspiration from the chronometers produced by John Arnold’s son, John Roger, in the latter part of his career. “These were specially designed to withstand the rigours of life on the high seas,” explains Philippe Boven of Arnold & Son, “and to deliver the true-beat, down-to-the-second precision needed by marine navigators to determine longitude. The true beat is a rare complication these days, and combining it with an automatic winding system calls for enormous technical expertise.”
In the A&S6103, this was made possible by a patented system comprising a sophisticated double wheel, an oscillating pinion and a pallet mechanism. A solution of this complexity calls for microscopic precision (to tolerances of a micron, or one thousandth of a millimetre), and the key components are made using state-of-the-art LIGA manufacturing technology. LIGA, a German acronym, stands for Lithographie, Galvanoformung, Abformung – lithography, electroplating and moulding – and describes the sequence of processes used to produce metal parts made of nickel and nickel-phosphorus.
The case houses the rhodium-treated A&S6103 movement with Haute Horlogerie finishing. All the plates and bridges in the movement are hand-chamfered and decorated – a further indication of the traditional craftsmanship upheld by Arnold & Son.
The TB Tiger special edition is limited to just 28 timepieces.