Arnold & Son promised big things for 2014 – the 250th anniversary of their namesake – and so far they are over-delivering; presenting the incredible DTE. The name itself is pretty self-explanatory but I am going to go ahead and spell it out for you anyway, DTE stands for Double Tourbillon Escapement. What the name doesn’t spell out however is just how incredible this timepiece is. A masterpiece of symmetrical and mechanical excellence, Arnold & Son has once again shown us why this brand is one to watch (pardon the pun).
Looking Back At History
Now, I’m sure more than a few of you will be quick to compare this piece to MB&F’s now legendary Legacy Machine No. 1, after all they both have dual time displays that can be independently set. However, the fact is that aside from both using two smaller sub-dials to indicate the respective time zones, these pieces could not be more different.
For a start the LM1 shares one common regulator (balance and escapement) between both displays (an incredible achievement in and of itself), whilst the new DTE from Arnold & Son has a dedicated gear train and tourbillon escapement for each display (hence the name). And whereas both time displays on the former can be completely independently set, the latter allows for the secondary time zone to differ from Greenwich Mean Time by quarter- or half-hour increments.
What both pieces do have in common though is a desire to recognize and celebrate the art of classical watchmaking. For Arnold & Son this means bringing back to life the centuries-old tradition of double movements, with a 21st Century twist. Now, this doesn’t literally mean two separate movements of course – although I am sure you will be more than pleased with the brand new hand-wound, double-barrel calibre A&S8513 beating behind the dial – but rather, as I’ve already mentioned, dual gear train and tourbillon escapements.
The end result is nothing short of spectacular. The dial has been arranged in such a way that the focus is almost exclusively on the carefully constructed tourbillon escapements – taking pride of place at 3 and 9 o’clock respectively – without compromising legibility in any way. And yet, in spite of this apparent simplicity, the dial is absolutely mesmerizing. Just imagine what it must look like when both tourbillons are spinning in unison!
As with all Arnold & Son pieces, the devil is in the detail. Two white lacquered domed dials – one each at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock – are responsible for displaying the respective time zones. I particularly like how the top display has Roman numerals whilst the bottom one has Arabic. It’s a subtle touch but it really adds that extra something.
Maintaining this symmetry, the two tourbillon escapements are perfectly opposed at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, floating effortlessly above the dial thanks to raised 18-carat red gold bridges. What I really like though is the fact that Arnold & Son have resisted the urge to skeletonize the movement, which would have been spectacular no doubt, but would have detracted from the simplistic elegance of this piece. Instead a decorated vertical Côtes de Genève stripes plate provides the perfect backdrop for incredible show unfolding on the dial. The two crowns – one each for setting the local and the home time – are located at 2 o’clock and 8 o’clock, and the two mainsprings are wound using the crown at 2 o’clock.
Limited to just 28 pieces, the DTE will be presented in a 43.5 mm 18-carat red gold case. Those white dials I mentioned earlier are accented with blued hour and minute hands, whilst the back of the watch features a transparent sapphire crystal for viewing the splendidly decorated nickel-silver movement.
No official word on pricing but I would expect in the low six figures.
The Final Word
It really is amazing what hard work, dedication, a little ingenuity and a whole lot of investment can achieve. It was only a few years ago that people were ready to right Arnold & Son off as another with brand with great potential that was never going to quite make it. Not so anymore. If you didn’t know already you do now, Arnold & Son has arrived.