Arnold & Son Eight-Day Royal Navy

The Arnold & Son Eight-Day Royal Navy is equipped with twin barrels, delivering an impressive power reserve of 192 hours. Furthermore, this timepiece incorporates a plethora of additional virtues, distinguishing it as special.

This detailed review of the Arnold & Son Eight-Day Royal Navy includes live images, specification details and price.

Arnold_and_Son_Eight-Day_Royal_Navy_black dial_wrist - ESCAPEMENT MAGAZINE - reviews of fine wristwatches by Angus Davies

The Lennon/McCartney tune, ‘Eight Days a Week’, expresses the boundless love a man has for his ‘babe’. This affection transcends the ordinary and the adoration the gentleman feels for the woman of his dreams is so intense it cannot be contained within the usual framework of a seven day week.

Like many workaholics, I also wish there were ‘Eight Days a Week’. I sometimes struggle to complete all of my occupational duties within seven days. Moreover, when I do fulfil all of the professional tasks sat in my in-tray, I am invariably left devoid of energy. Thankfully, no such indignity befalls the new Arnold & Son Eight-Day Royal Navy, launched earlier this year at Baselworld 2016.

The Arnold & Son Eight-Day Royal Navy is equipped with twin barrels, according the hand-wound movement with 192 hours of autonomous operation. However, beyond this impressive capacity to function for much longer than lesser horological mortals, there are a multitude of attributes which make the Eight-Day Royal Navy an impressive performer and worthy of its regal nomenclature.

The dial

Arnold & Son, the impressive practitioner of haute horlogerie based near La Chaux-de-Fonds, offers would-be buyers a choice of three dial options, silver-grey, royal blue and, my favourite, black anthracite. Surprisingly, despite sharing virtually identical DNA, each variant exhibits its own distinct character. I feel particularly drawn to the black anthracite dial, with its dusky tone delivering a fascinating interplay with light.

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The inner dial is adorned with a lacquered guilloché motif. This is yet another detail which endows the dial canvas with beguiling pockets of brilliance and shade, compelling the wearer to closely inspect each square millimetre with a loupe in hand. Indeed, this is a dial to be savoured.

The ‘modern’ faceted hands are polished to a brilliant gleam and collaborate with ‘diamond polished indexes’ to articulate time with notable enunciation. Adjacent 6 o’clock, a snailed subdial displays the running seconds. An aperture within this subdial reveals stylised numerals that eloquently impart the date.

Residing in the northerly area of the dial is a power-reserve indicator, employing an arcing hand and circular scale to show the amount of energy held within the two spring barrels. Arnold & Son state this function was inspired by ‘ancient Arnold & Son marine chronometers’. This historical influence on the aesthetics of the Eight-Day Royal Navy has conferred another gorgeous feature to the landscape of this horological vista.

The case

Unlike some of the more complicated timepieces within the Arnold & Son collection, the Eight-Day Royal Navy eschews noble metal in favour of stainless steel. This approach has allowed the maison to deliver a comparatively affordable timepiece imbued with matchless movement finishing.

Arnold_and_Son_Eight-Day_Royal_Navy_black dial_case - ESCAPEMENT MAGAZINE - reviews of fine wristwatches by Angus Davies

The 43mm case proves very comfortable when worn. Close examination reveals that an impressive degree of ‘added value’ has been imparted to the case. The curving sides are more time-consuming to produce than flat sided, milled from billet flanks, but the resultant outcome is an enchanting courtship ritual with light, augmenting the sense of luxury.

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The case features a ‘double-step’ bezel and ‘double-step’ caseback, wonderfully eclipsing the run-of-the-mill execution found on lesser brands. The lugs, in common with other Arnold & Son timepieces, feature brushed lug inserts which can be removed when remedial polishing is necessary. It is this attention to detail which distinguishes this Arnold & Son timepiece as extraordinary.

Arnold_and_Son_Eight-Day_Royal_Navy_black dial_caseback - ESCAPEMENT MAGAZINE - reviews of fine wristwatches by Angus Davies

Arnold & Son has equipped the Eight-Day Royal Navy timepiece with an exhibition caseback, allowing the wearer to view the hand-wound Calibre A&S1016. Indeed, to keep this movement hidden behind a solid caseback would seem like an act of sacrilege.

The movement

The manual Calibre A&S1016 at the heart of the Eight-Day Royal Navy is magnificent. It is the result of the technical minds at Arnold & Son designing, developing and manufacturing the movement within the confines of its own workshops. Despite its comparatively small size, this company has an impressive capacity to create timepieces par excellence.

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Exhibiting a slender profile of 4.7mm, the Calibre A&S1016 harnesses a colossal power reserve which seems at odds with its svelte waistline. Quite simply, the prodigious power of this timepiece would normally confer bulkier dimensions. The ultra-thin nature of the movement translates into a case height of 10.7mm, yielding a graceful profile to the timepiece.

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The movement is made of rhodium treated silver and should acquire an enchanting patina with the the onset of years.

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Every horological foible I possess is indulged with the specification of this movement. Screwed 18-carat gold chatons sit resplendently on the movement. Blued screws, with bevelled and polished heads, pay due reverence to fine watchmaking of yesteryear. The bridges are adorned with fantastic Côtes de Genève rayonnantes, suffusing the movement with a sunny disposition.

Personally, I find the most intoxicating aspect of the movement’s architecture is its openworked nature, graciously sharing soupçons of detail, often hidden from view. The barrel bridge is skeletonised and the gear train bridge ratchets are openworked. The Calibre A&S1016 is a feast for the eyes and will satisfy the hunger of the most discerning purist.

Closing remarks

My ability to play poker is woefully poor. I would therefore suspect that I have already disclosed my genuine admiration for this paragon of fine watchmaking, making my ‘closing remarks’ superfluous.

The Arnold & Son Eight-Day Royal Navy is superb. Indeed, there are few superlatives which can adequately convey the majesty of this Arnold & Son timepiece. It is not the most complicated watch to leave the confines of the brand’s atelier in La Chaux-de-Fonds, but it proves impressive for its mix of talents and outstanding finissage, delivered at a comparatively modest price of CHF 12,200 (21.7.2016)

This timepiece has the capacity to lucidly communicate with the wearer, envelope the wrist comfortably and function for eight days without the need for turning the neatly profiled crown.

In most areas of life ‘Eight Days A Week’ is a fanciful notion, but Arnold & Son have made it a reality and, perhaps more impressively, housed considerable power within a slender timepiece, blessed with sublime poise and admirable bearing.

Technical specification

  • Model: Arnold & Son Eight-Day Royal Navy
  • Reference: 1EDAS.B01A.D134A
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 43mm; height 10.7mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; power-reserve indicator
  • Movement: Caliber A&S1016; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 33 jewels; power reserve 192 hours
  • Strap: Black calf leather strap
  • Price: CHF 12,200 (RRP as at 21.7.2016)

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