Arnold & Son Nebula

The Arnold & Son Nebula has a distinct English character courtesy of its open-worked triangular shaped bridges and inverted movement. The symmetry of the dial delivers a glorious appearance that is obvious within moments of making acquaintance with this fine Swiss watch.

This detailed review of the Arnold & Son Nebula includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Arnold_and_Son_Nebula_wrist - ESCAPEMENT watch blog - watch reviews by Angus Davies

A flower bud exhibits a shy demeanour, hiding much inner beauty yet to be revealed. In due course, nature sets aside this reserved behaviour and the petals unfurl to reveal a glorious vivacity. As each petal emanates outwards, a wonderful symmetry becomes manifest and the vibrantly coloured elements surrounding the centrally positioned stigma confer a balance and equilibrium.

I was reminded of this floral scenario when I first viewed the Nebula, a new timepiece from Swiss haute horlogerie brand, Arnold & Son. Several open-worked triangular bridges encircle the centre of the round dial and nestle adjacent the chapter ring. The resultant aesthetic mimics the evenness of form found in nature. Drawn to its comely appearance, I felt compelled to explore its composition more closely.

The dial

The diamond polished, faceted hour and minute hands exhibit brilliance and shade on their subdivided upper surfaces. Their fine tips pronounce the prevailing time with a clear tone. The end of the hour hand floats above the central dial area, whilst the tip of the minute hand interacts with the diamond polished indexes populating the chapter ring. Both the style of the hands and indexes share much in common with several other Arnold & Son timepieces, including the HMS1 and HM Perpetual Moon.

Arnold_and_Son_Nebula_dial - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch reviews by Angus Davies

Arnold & Son, once again, indulges fans of fine watchmaking with a spectacular insight into the inner thoughts of a mechanical timepiece. The upper bridges positioned between 1 and 2 o’clock and 10 and 11 o’clock support the twin barrels which are both adorned with a sunburst motif.

Positioned at 5 o’clock, a triangular shaped bridge supports the screwed balance wheel, while opposite a further bridge holds an open-worked small seconds display incorporating a floating counter ring. The scale of the balance wheel and seconds display are similar, according a harmonious appearance to the lower dial area.

Arnold_and_Son_Nebula_closeup - ESCAPEMENT watch blog - reviews by Angus Davies

The mainplate is black ADLC on the steel version of the Nebula and the bridges are NAC grey treated. The contrasting hues cause the bridges to stand out from the mainplate, delivering a handsome mien.

The case

The case of the Nebula is available in a choice of red gold (5N) or stainless steel. It was the latter model which I recently placed upon my wrist and appraised. The elegant case measures 41.5mm in diameter with a case height of 8.73mm.

Arnold_and_Son_Nebula_goldcase - ESCAPEMENT magazine - horology by Angus Davies

Arnold & Son Nebula in red gold (5N)

Arnold & Son has bestowed the Nebula with a sophisticated, graceful case design which shuns simple to execute straight flanks in favour of complex and, by default, more costly, curved vertical sides. The double-step bezel heightens visual interest and the caseback adopts a similar design.

Arnold_and_Son_Nebula_caseband - ESCAPEMENT Magazine - watch reviews by Angus Davies

The slender crown is adorned with the brand’s logo and neatly nuzzles the caseband with minimal protrusion.

Arnold & Son has given much consideration to the long term ownership of the Nebula. The lugs incorporate special satin-brushed inserts that can be removed and easily refurbished should this prove necessary at some point in the future.

The movement

Part of the allure of the Nebula is the capacity to see through the watch, front to back, courtesy of both the open-working and an exhibition caseback. By employing this design approach, the wearer is granted a sublime three dimensional vista and the various layers of the movement can be truly appreciated.

Arnold_and_Son_Nebula_caseback - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch reviews by Angus Davies

The hand-wound manufacture A&S5101 movement features twin barrels, helping to deliver an impressive power reserve of 90 hours. The dorsal view of the movement is equally beautiful and exhibits beautiful high-end finishing.

The bridges incorporate chamfered and mirror-polished edges. Screws feature bevelled slots and mirror-polished heads. White gold mirror polished chatons are visible on the rear of the movement, positioned above the twin barrels. There is a plethora of hand finished movement components, reaffirming the Nebula’s haute horologerie credentials.

Arnold_and_Son_Nebula_chatons - ESCAPEMENT Magazine - watch reviews by Angus Davies

My favourite aspect of the movement is the open-worked triangular bridges which are mirror polished. The aperture at the centre of each bridge has pristine chamfered edges, underscoring the no-compromise execution of the Nebula.

Closing remarks

Arnold & Son is an incredibly innovative watch company who continues to impress with a steady stream of new models. One area where the brand differentiates itself from many watch companies is with its willingness to craft new movements dedicated to specific models. This approach results in dial designs with optimally positioned movement components i.e. without the merest hint of compromise. Moreover, this strategy also yields benefits with open-worked timepieces, like the Nebula, where movement components are shown to glorious affect, connecting the wearer with the mechanical processes at play.

However, perhaps the single biggest strength of the Nebula’s aesthetics is how it magnificently exhibits the same symmetry, proportion and balance often seen in nature. Indeed, courtesy of its enchanting triangular open-worked bridges, the Nebula is destined to be perpetually in bloom.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Arnold & Son Nebula
  • Reference: 1NEAS.B01A.D134A
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 41.5mm; height 8.73mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds
  • Movement: Calibre A&S5101; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz); 24 jewels; power reserve 90 hours.
  • Strap: Black calf leather strap with stainless steel pin buckle
  • Price: CHF 13,500 (RRP as at 4.5.2016)

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