At a first glance, the 2013 hand-wound Arnold & Son DBS (Ref. 1DSAP.W01A.C120P) looks like it was inspired by the ultra-expensive Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre family. It is, in fact, a tribute to a pair of much older timekeepers made by John-Roger Arnold between 1796 and 1799 respectively. Both watches were able to display mean solar and sidereal time on two separate sub-dials and featured an ingenuous bimetallic thermo-compensated Z balance.
The new A&S1311 hand-wound movement is not only designed and made in-house (for a recently resurrected brand, this is a feat in itself.) The caliber also features a rare design with a double barrel/gear train and double balance/escapement running at different speeds in order to properly display mean solar time and mean sidereal time simultaneously. Yes, this is one of the precious few timekeepers where you don’t have to push a button or press a lever in order to stun your audience with the complication that 99 percent of the general population neither heard of nor particularly cares about.
Since both complications run independently from each other, it is easy to set each indicator using one of two crowns at 3 and 9 hours. To make the job even easier, A&S designers even equipped the DBS with a 24-hour day/night indicator that features two hands. The one with the star displays the sidereal time and the other is synchronized with the mean solar time indicator.
A pair of balance wheels further emphasize the perfect symmetry of the dial. Beating at a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour, they are visible through a nicely executed cutout in the silvery-white dial.
Featuring de facto two mechanisms on one main plate (they still use the same winding system, so the power reserve is relatively low at just 40 hours of guaranteed running time), the movement is predictably large at whole 35 millimeters in diameter.
The caliber is surprisingly thin, even for a hand-wound movement, at less than 4 millimeters in height. The case is also impressive in its 44 millimeters in diameter, but, thanks to a hair-thin, mirror-polished bezel it doesn’t look massive and will surely look great on a normal wrist.
The price is predictably high. The British-based watchmaker plans to charge a hefty $46,000 for the luxury to own one of these timekeepers when they finally hit select boutiques in the United States.
Photos: Arnold & Son
Arnold & Son DBS Double Balance & Sidereal Time (Ref. 1DSAP.W01A.C120P) specification
Price: $46,000 USD (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, Caliber A&S1311, in-house, 35.00 mm x 3.90 mm, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 42
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: 40 hours
Movement decoration: Rhodium-plated, circular graining and Geneva stripes, decorated by hand
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, day/night indication, solar mean time, sidereal time
Case: 18-karat Rose gold
Size: 44.00 mm
Dial: Silvery-white and Silvery-opaline
Numerals: Arabic and Roman
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched brown alligator leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, cambered, antireflective on both sides