With timepieces that reference its English watchmaking heritage, Arnold & Son unveils a new limited version of its famous TB88, which pays tribute to the old English gunsmith tradition. England has not only offered the world some of the best watchmakers ever but is also the cradle of the finest gunsmith craftsmanship. Conceived, designed and manufactured in-house, this superbly engineered wristwatch is part of the Royal Collection that combines classical styling with leading-edge technology.
John Arnold was an exceptional watchmaker, who excelled in the development and production of marine chronometers. With his son, he built up a company that established itself as one of the most reputable suppliers of timepieces to the Royal Navy as well as intrepid explorers like James Cook, Matthew Flinders and George Vancouver, to name but a few.
The manually wound A&S5003 movement, made in-house.
By the early 19th century, he had several major patents to his name and created a minor storm in precision timekeeping with the Arnold No. 36, the first-ever watch to be called a “chronometer” – a term used to this day for a supremely accurate timepiece. The Arnold No. 36 was considered so important that it was included in the collection of the National Maritime Museum in London, where it can still be seen today.
Caseback view of the TB88.
The TB88 is proof that the company has lost none of its appetite for innovative technology or precision timekeeping. The A&S5003 caliber brings together all the technical and aesthetic characteristics of a classical John Arnold chronometer. The letters “TB” stand for “true beat” (or “dead beat”), a complication that alludes to the precision timekeeping required for navigation at sea. Unlike conventional mechanical watches, a true beat movement measures out time in complete seconds rather than fractions dependent on the balance frequency. This is useful for determining the exact time and, consequently, longitude, and makes it invaluable at sea.
The TB88 is also a tribute to John Arnold’s earliest known pocket watch, of which the original case bears the number “88.” The number is replicated by the design of the movement, with its perfectly symmetrical layout featuring the twin barrels at the top, the balance wheel between 4 and 5 oíclock and the true beat seconds indicator between 7 and 8.
The movement’s 16 bridges are highlighted in purple.
But the feature that unquestionably sets Arnold & Son’s new TB88 apart is its unique “English” movement design, as expressed through features like the straight-cut bridges. Each of the pivoting elements in the movement is mounted on its own bridge, 16 in total! Compared to usual movements, the TB88’s movement is partly “inverted”, which means that the technically and aesthetically interesting features are on the dial side of the movement instead of being hidden away on the reverse.
The front showcases the two barrels, which generate a minimum of 100 hours power reserve when fully wound, the gear train and the balance wheel with its Breguet overcoil spring. Bending and fitting such a spring by hand is a delicate and highly skilled operation mastered by a precious few watchmakers. The complex true beat seconds system as well as the winding and setting mechanisms are located on the reverse of the movement.
Further shining examples of watchmaking at its finest is the A&S5003 movement’s entire haute horlogerie finishing, with the hand-chamfered and polished edges of the bridges and of all the steel parts. The three-dimensional effect of the movement is further enhanced by the fascinating juxtaposition of gray and brushed bridges on a gray, grained main plate.
The TB88 is water-resistant to 30 meters and secured to the wearer’s wrist by a black Cordura strap with calf leather lining.
This special tribute to the fine old English gunsmith tradition is limited to just five timepieces, is exclusive to North America, and is available now for pre-order at Cellini Jewelers.
The limited edition TB88
Hours, minutes and true beat seconds at 8 o’clock
– Arnold & Son manufacture hand-wound movement (A&S5003)
– Diameter 37.80 mm, thickness 5.90 mm,
– Power reserve 100 hours, two barrels,
– Nickel-silver movement
– NAC grey treated bridges and main plate with haute horlogerie finishing: manually chamfered bridges and steel parts with polished edges and brushed surfaces
– chamfered and circular satin-finished wheels
– screws with beveled and mirror-polished heads
– Sandblasted stainless steel with dark grey DLC (ìgunmetalî) coating
– 46mm diameter
– Cambered sapphire with anti-reflective coating on both sides
– Sapphire crystal caseback
– Water-resistant to 30m
Cordura 1100 with calf leather lining