For the year 2012, the British watchmaking house has prepared yet another version of their outrageous Hornet collection of “world timers.” The 2012 Arnold & Son Hornet World Time Skeleton features the same impressive body of gargantuan proportions, which is now crafted from stainless steel and features an open-worked dial that makes quite a dubious impression.
The great thing about this timekeeper is that, like it is the case with almost all skillfully skeletonized watches, the dial of this piece looks very entertaining providing an almost unobstructed view at the complicated guts of the caliber A1766 automatic movement that powers the device. On the other hand, with all the elements of the mechanism now shamelessly exposed, the dial looks harder to read with its steel hour and minute hands virtually lost in the hodgepodge of parts, all sorts of displays and indicators.
You see, the Hornet World Timer is a complicated watch.
Besides the three time zones (the second one is indicated with the long, arrowhead-tipped hour hand that circles around a 24-hour scale with day and night halves, and the other, which can be set to move in 15-minute increments, displayed with a sun-tipped hand,), it also features a big date indicator at 5 hours, a circular month indicator, as well as mean solar time and equation of time displays.
Even equipped with a standard dial, the skeletonized Hornet is difficult to read (at least, until you get used to it) and with the skeletonized face, all these elements may easily overwhelm an unprepared user.
As you can tell from the photo, the whole setup is also difficult to operate. The device has not one, but whole three setting crowns (the one at 10 o’clock is here to adjust the second time zone / mean solar time indicator, while the one at 9 hours adjusts the outer ring with the names of 24 cities) and a time zone push-piece at 2 o’clock!
Since the in-house* caliber A1766 automatic movement that powers the new Arnold & Son Hornet World Time Skeleton is also large measuring almost 39 millimeters in diameter and more than seven millimeters in height, the body is naturally big. Whole 47 millimeters in diameter (45 mm without crowns), it is almost prohibitively huge with only a small share of wrists ready to accommodate this stainless steel British beast.
There is still no information regarding the timekeeper’s price. However, another version, which is, too, offered in a stainless steel case, but comes with a sold dial is currently on sale at a recommended price of some $25,000, so there is a great chance that this skeletonized model will be even more expensive.
*Well, it is not REALLY in-house since Arnold & Son doesn’t make their movements on their own premises. However, like another British brand Graham, the company is owned by The British Masters group, which, in its own turn, owns the Swiss-based movement maker La Joux Perret that supplies them with ready to install calibers. So, in a sense, the movement is SORTA in-house, but not in the strictest meaning of the word. Something like that.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Arnold & Son
Arnold & Son Hornet World Time Skeleton specification
Movement: Automatic, caliber A1766, in-house (made by La Joux Perret), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 41
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: Skeletonized, rhodium-treated, fine circular graining, Cotes de Geneva finish
Functions: Hours, minutes, equation of time, mean solar time, three time zones (GMT), big date, circular month indicator
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 45.00 mm (47.00 mm with crowns)
Hands: Stainless steel and rose gold
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched brown alligator leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective