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Arnold & Son Golden Wheel Watch: Return Of The Star Wheel

Arnold & Son Golden Wheel Watch: Return Of The Star Wheel Watch Releases

Some people are going to be really excited about the upcoming Arnold & Son Golden Wheel watch which marks a new “Star Wheel” style complication which many collectors have great enthusiasm for. This is a concept also known as “wandering hours” which has been around since at least the 18th century – though it is rare to find in watches today. The Arnold & Son Golden Wheel will mark a welcome return to the wandering hours concept with a little bit of Arnold & Son character and a lovely classic style.

“Star Wheel” is actually the name for a collection of watches from Audemars Piguet that was the last to emulate this style of watch. No longer produced, the Audemars Piguet Star Wheel came in a round case or in a Millenary form with the Audemars Piguet Millenary Star Wheel watch which Frank Geelen offered some hands-on with here. You can see the use of three transparent discs which revolve like a system of planetary gears which move an hour marker along a minute track. However, there is an even more modern interpretation of the wandering hours concept.

Arnold & Son Golden Wheel Watch: Return Of The Star Wheel Watch Releases

Urwerk watches, for the most part, all use the Star Wheel concept in a system they call “satellite hours.” While Urwerk adds a modern interpretation that is more complicated and three-dimensional, the concept remains the same. With that said, while Urwerk’s timepieces are very cool and undoubtedly modern in their appearance , they do leave out those people interested in more traditional style designs. So thanks to Arnold & Son, there is something new in this department with the Golden Wheel. In the watch we have a return to the transparent sapphire crystals that each have four hour markers printed on them. The entire system moves and the current hour is read at the 12 o’clock point on the case along the minute track. Under the indicator for the current hour is a base of mother-of-pearl which adds decor as well as legibility to reading the current time.

Above the entire hour indication system is a running seconds hand. This has “ticks” – it advances once every second, as opposed to 6-8 times per second – due to the dead beat seconds complication in this mechanical movement. No one is doing more dead beat seconds hand complications today than Arnold & Son, and it is interesting to see it applied here. Of course, even though the seconds hand ticks, this is a purely mechanical watch – and the dial design really takes the wandering hours concept into modern times with the view of the finely finished movement parts on the dial. This is all part of the in-house made Arnold & Son caliber A&S6018 automatic movement that operates at 4Hz with about 50 hours of power reserve.

Arnold & Son Golden Wheel Watch: Return Of The Star Wheel Watch Releases

Arnold & Son reminds us that this is the first movement in the world to combine a “jumping digital hours” complication with a “true beat” (dead beat) seconds hand – we don’t challenge that claim. The overall dial and design is very attractive, though the scales on the periphery of the dial look a bit cluttered where the minute track is overlapped by the seconds track – a minor complaint. The central “time-carrousel” that holds the discs is in 18k red gold and contrasts well against the grey movement components underneath it.

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What about the size of the Arnold & Son Golden Wheel case? It is 44mm wide available in 18k red gold for this debut limited edition version of the watch. Arnold & Son has been extending the lives of their new watches over a few years by releasing variations in different case materials and something with slightly different dial and movement finishing treatments. Regardless, I expect to see only limited amounts of the Arnold & Son Golden Wheel watch over time given their niche, yet profound, appeal to dedicated collectors. The ref. 1HVAR.M01A.C120A Arnold & Son Golden Wheel watch will be available as a limited edition of 125 pieces and will debut at Baselworld 2015. Price is $49,950. arnoldandson.com

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  • thornwood36

    Price ?,………………..oh why bother, if you have to ask, you cant afford it ! Stunning movement. Nice to see before they’re whisked off to a collector

  • Ulysses31

    It’s quite beautiful.  Not sure if I like the MOP bit though.

  • Alex Ethier

    That’s a real stunner!

  • thebalancecock

    At first I was unsure what time it displayed, maybe the angle of the photo?  It’s quite genius really.
    I would question why, with such a small amount of the dial devoted to displaying the time the watch needs to be 44mm?
    Imagine how smart this piece would be at 38mm…  

    Whomever buys these monsters-  
    YOU’RE making EASY for THE MANUFACTURES THEY’RE WORKING AT MASSIVE SCALE.

  • Time2Go

    Neato.  These will be lovely locked away in 125 safes around the world.

  • Naive question here: does this sort of work similarly to the Franck Muller “Crazy Hours” watch, though FM does it with hour pointer vs. rotating discs?

    http://youtu.be/5IZImSMPLKk

  • 5803822

    If it’s under $20K I promise to acquire one. (He said tongue in cheek)

    PS The Frank Muller is brilliant – first time I’ve seen this one. Thanks for the video.

  • Misterp1

    5803822 Same here but then again, that’s what I said about the TB88 and I still haven’t got one yet.

  • bnabod

    it is pretty and I am sure obscenely pricey. At 1st glance the AP one is easier to read.

  • Misterp1

    bnabod True but do we ever really get these based on how easy they are to read. When you are buying a watch on this level, readability is never my main concern.

  • These things are subjective of course, but my first thought on seeing this was URWERK, a brand I am far more fascinated with tan Arnold & Son (not that they’re any slouch though). The comment about this being a more classically styled watch should have been a little tongue-in-cheek I think. Yes, this uses more fairy-tale type elements like the ubiquitous rose gold or the dandy-adored mother-of-pearl (combine MOP and rose gold for some kind of awful superpower where your snotty e-review of musical theater always gets at least 100 likes), but do we really think this watch is traditionally styled? It’s in a round case and has a gator strap, but I don’t really see anything else ‘traditional” here.

    That said, I’d love to see this one working in the metal. I wonder how poetic the movement is in action. If the seconds are dead beat, do the hours change in an instant snap as well? Or slowly over time? Based on the size of the MOP detail (which actually looks like it would wash out the rose gold numeral rather than add legibility – shouldn’t the dial plate be MOP and the current hour float over the dark background?) I would assume that the hour gradually comes into place, which seems like a bit of a strange contrast to the dead-beat seconds. I’m sure there would be considerable power and torque concerns with instant change on the hour discs, but I think It would display much nicer, give a much more luxurious ‘feel’ to the watch, and harmonize better with the dead beat seconds complication.

  • shinytoys

    Yes, please.

  • Chaz_Hen I think the Franck Muller watch “simply” advances the jumping hour hand by 1 hour position (150 degrees) each hour. So, very different from the A&S piece. Aloha.

  • evandowen

    SuperStrapper  –  It looks as though the hour dial transitions from 10 – 2 which also acts as the minute hand (the minute track is located from 10 – 2 above the MOP).  By jumping hours are they referring to the hour disc jumping forward one minute when the jumping second hand gets to 12?  Ok, the Arnold & Son website states, “The wandering hours function, also known as a jumping digital hours indication, occupies the top arc of the watch dial (from 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock).  I’d like to see a real one or a video review, the above images are just renderings (all be it very good renderings) and not an actual watch.

  • evandowen SuperStrapper Even more likely is that that hour remains in place from 10 – 2 as the central star rotates. And the hour number indicates the minutes. Then as the disks rotates they engage the small star shaped gears at 4:30 and 7:30 which turn the disk so that it will be 90 rotated by the time it comes up at 10 again. At least that’s what the mechanism looks like to me eye. Buta video would explain all. Cheers.

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