Turning the golden wheel with Arnold & Son

16 Jun 2016
3 min read
FOUR speaks to Frédéric Wenger, CEO of luxury British watchmakers Arnold & Son, as they unveil a new version of the Golden Wheel: The world’s first wandering hours and true beat seconds watch.

With a rich British watchmaking heritage that dates back to the 18th century,Arnold& Son masterfully reinterprets history with a visionary eye to the future. Underscoring its watchmaking prowess,Arnold& Son regularly unveils complicated watches with a unique twist. The patented Golden Wheel deftly reflects the brand’s ingenuity and commitment to Haute Horlogerie.

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born in Lausanne (Switzerland) and grew up in Switzerland.

How did you get into the watch business?

15 years ago when I was able to acquire the mechanical movements specialist firm which eventually developped into theArnold& Son manufacture.

Tell us a bit about the backgroundArnold& Son watches…

A&S watches are inspired by the work of JohnArnoldwho together with Breguet invented modern watchmaking as well as by the great heritage of British watchmaking overall. We take the inspiration from this heritage to produce our neo-classic yet modern / contemporary time pieces. We aspire to create watches which are beautiful objects of mechanical arts.

Where does the inspiration for the watches come from?

From the works of JohnArnoldand his son John Roger as well as from traditional English watchmaking in general. But as said, we never produce replicas of historical watches but take the inspiration from the past to produce contemporary neo-classic time pieces.

The newest edition to theArnold& Son family comes in the shape of the Golden Wheel, can you tell us a bit more about this?

The Golden Wheel combines the first-ever wandering hours function with the true beat seconds complication. It is part of the Instrument Collection, which pays tribute to the timepieces focused on chronometry that were developed during the second half of JohnArnold’s life and with his son Roger.

The Golden Wheel timepiece is a unique three-dimensional interpretation of the ancient wandering hours complication that has roots in table clocks of the mid-17th century. In fact, the first implementation of the wandering hours complication in pocket watches was most likely made in England at the beginning of the 18th century. Thus, it is a fitting complication for theArnold& Son watchmakers – inspired by British watchmaking heritage – to reinvent anew, perpetuating the long tradition of wandering hour watches.

What makes it so special in your opinion?

Arnold& Son crafts the central time-carrousel in solid 18-karat red gold, thereby giving the masterpiece its Golden Wheel name. The latest version of the Golden Wheel now features sapphire discs with black figures, a redesigned outer ring and a black ADLC treated dial plate in order to further increase contrast and readability.

The mother-of-pearl arc displays the current hour, as the sapphire disks with the black hour numerals float over the contrasting white arc. Black arrows on the hour disks now point to the minutes dial-frame located above the hours arc. Finally, the true beat seconds indication is displayed via large dots on the outer ring and read via the central golden hand. The dial plate is now black ADLC treated with Côtes de Genève finishing.

Is there a signature design style that is apparent in all of the creations?

Our overall aim is to produce timeless designs which are not subject to fashion trends and pass the test of time. Some additional elements that are common to many of our watches are a the very high attention to perfect proportions, symmetry in movements and dials as an expression of beauty and refinement, three dimensional architecture of the watch, dial side visible movements and complications and as already mentioned English design elements.

What do you think it takes to create a classic or timeless watch nowadays?

It takes a very clear vision what you want the watch and the brand to represent. Then it takes to assemble the different talents to turn this vision into reality.

In terms of top design trends what is hot on your radar at the moment?

As already said, our main aim is to create beautiful mechanical timepieces which are objects of mechanical arts. So the focus is really on the different elements mentioned above and on very high attention to detail. We are less interested in following the latest design trend which will fade quickly again.

Find out more about Arnold & Son here |www.arnoldandson.com