March 19, 2015
by Ariel Adams
Hands-down one of the sexiest watches in 2013 was the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid that aBlogtoWatch reviewed here. A year later in 2014, Arnold & Son followed up with a version of the Time Pyramid watch in a steel case (debuted here). What was so interesting about the Time Pyramid? Well, first of all, just look at it. If you are into history, mechanical watches, and design, there is just too much to enjoy in this gorgeous creation. Perhaps the only thing I could say against it (aside from the fact that as a luxury item many people can’t afford it) is that you can see right through the detailed, colorful, and symmetrical mechanical movement to your hairy wrist.
Yes, the woes of the watch that is “too” skeletonized, but I assure you that you’ll forgive pieces like the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid for making your wrist feel a bit too naked in spots. From a size and functionality perspective, the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid ref. 1TPAR.S01A.C124A in 18k red gold and the ref. 1TPAS.S01A.C124S in steel are the same. The only difference is the finishing on the movement (the movement is “NAC grey treated” for a darker color in the steel model), and the price.
At 44.6mm wide, the Time Pyramid doesn’t wear “huge” because, first of all, it lacks a crown on the side. Going with the awesome obsession with symmetry, Arnold & Son designed the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid with a crown at 6 o’clock. The steel version is even more subdued because of its greater focus on being closer to monochromatic with its mostly gray and silver colored components. The Arnold & Son Time Pyramid in 18k red gold sticks out a bit more due to the case material and brass gears in the movement. Having said that, Arnold & Son did conceive the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid to be a statement on the wrist, so it isn’t going to wear like a petite dress watch – far from it.
I really don’t know if everyone feels the same way I do about the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid. I am not particularly shy about my love for the majority of what Arnold & Son has been doing in regard to watch design, but I just think that the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid watches are extra cool. There is just so much to look at and appreciate in the designs – and they are really enjoyable to wear as well. So if you happen to share my excitement for Arnold & Son, you’ll likely get giddy for the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid as well.
I suppose some people might try to complain about the “squiggly” serpentine-style power reserve hands. Each time I write about a Bovet watch with some hands in this style, there are inevitably a collection of people who disagree with the choice of design. Nonetheless, I think the serpentine hands work really well in the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid, because they help distinguish the power reserve hands from the hands that tell the time. Despite the more sober and dark colors of the steel version’s movement, the same style of blued steel hands work just fine.
Let’s discuss the movement inside of the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid watch just one more time, since we are on the topic of it. It is the in-house produced caliber A&S1615 manually wound movement with about 90 hours of power reserve operating at 21,600 bph. While it looks like there are double power reserve indicators, they don’t do exactly the same thing. As I understand it, the A&S1615 movement has two mainspring barrels. One of them kicks in as the primary mainspring winds down and loses torque. At that point, the secondary mainspring kick is to preserve isochronism (as best as possible). This roughly means that the movement design is meant to preserve accuracy as power winds down in the spring that powers it.
Time is indicated on a lower subsidiary dial that is remarkably legible given its integration into the skeletonized face. Just above, it is a slightly hard to see subsidiary seconds hand which exists one level down on the three-dimensional display. At the top of the “pyramid” is the regulator system with oscillating balance wheel. I like that it is the only unfinished brass part of the movement.
Arnold & Son has always given credit to a British-made clock from circa 1830 as the inspiration for the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid watch collection. In fact, many of Arnold & Son’s contemporary pieces are inspired by vintage clocks and pocket watches. This is not a new thing in the watch industry, but what is unique is just how skillfully Arnold & Son’s head of design and development Sebastien Chaulmontet consistently arranges these inspirations into classic yet modern looking timepieces for today.
In steel, the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid has very much the same personality as the gold model, but in a slightly more discreet yet equally visually fascinating manner. What will motivate many people about the watch is of course its more accessible price. I will never refer to a watch priced at over $10,000 as being affordable. I prefer to take the lead of PR professionals in my industry and simply stick with “more accessible,” and it does not conceal the fact we are still talking about luxury items.
Whereas the Arnold & Son Time Pyramid in 18k red gold retails for $40,035, the ref. 1TPAS.S01A.C124S Time Pyramid in stainless steel is priced at $29,850. That is a cool $10,000 less. Arnold & Son just make it that much closer to many people’s grasp, but is this horological beauty within that many more people’s reach? arnoldandson.com