Based in Switzerland, the former British brand Arnold & Son builds on the legacy of its founding father John Arnold who used to make watches for King George III (1738-1820) and his court. This particular Arnold & Son HMS1 Royal Blue (Ref. 1LCAP.U02A.C110A) is claimed to be inspired by a half-quarter repeater that was made almost 240 years ago.
Featuring an easily recognizable Arnold & Son exterior, the watch is presented in a mid-sized 18-karat rose gold body. Although very compact by today’s standards, the case offers an impressive dial opening thanks to its slim bezel that makes the rose gold hands and hour markers look especially bold.
The source of the timekeeper’s inspiration shows in the finish of the dial. Its engine-turned guilloche pattern is elegantly painted with multiple layers of lacquer of the noblest hue of royal blue. Besides looking great, the chosen color also serves as a nice background for the hour and minute hands radically increasing the readability of the HMS1.
Even the slightly oversized subsidiary seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock is easily readable in almost any lighting conditions, save for total darkness. Yes, you won’t be able to read the watch without an external source of light, but I would gladly sacrifice even the thinnest strips of Superluminova or tritium tubes in favor of this extremely elegant design.
According to the brand’s press release, the HMS1 Royal Blue is powered by their “exclusive” A&S1001 hand-wound movement. Measuring 30 millimeters in diameter and less than 3 millimeters thick, this tiny, hand-decorated engine features whole 80 hours of guaranteed power reserve that comes courtesy of its two-barrel winding system.
As far as I know, Arnold & Son doesn’t make its own movements in the strict meaning of the word, so this particular caliber must be, as usual, created by the Swiss-based La Joux Perret manufacture, which, too, owned by the same The British Masters group that also happens to own A&S.
So far, the Swiss brand plans to offer this beautiful dress watch at a recommended street price of CHF 15,680 or USD 16,860, which makes it a good choice if you are looking for a mechanical timekeeper in a gold case. There will also be a version with its bezel set with diamonds, but it will probably be a lot more expensive and also not as noble-looking as this one.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Arnold & Son
Arnold & Son HMS1 Royal Blue (Ref. 1LCAP.U02A.C110A) specification
Price: CHF 15,680 / USD 16,860 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, Caliber A&S1001, in-house, 30mm x 2.7 mm, two barrels, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 21 jewels
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: 80 hours
Movement decoration: Hand-finished, rhodium-plated, Geneva stripes, and circular-graining
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Case, Bezel and Crown: Rose gold
Size: 40.00 mm
Dial: Royal Blue
Hour markers: Rose gold
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched brown alligator leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides, cambered