Arnold & Son UTTE Asprey Special Edition
A recent trip to SalonQP provided Angus Davies with the perfect opportunity to get “hands-on” with the Arnold & Son UTTE Asprey Special Edition.
This detailed review of the Arnold & Son UTTE Asprey Special Edition includes live images and specification details.
The majority of people in western society crave a svelte physique. A slim midriff is coveted by many who wish to carry their clothes with stylish aplomb. In a society where much importance is placed on physical appearance, a thin torso is perceived as a positive attribute.
In other areas of life, a lithe profile can also be viewed positively. However, often in providing a slender form, some qualities regretfully can be lost. Often companies eschew notable virtues from a specification, merely to achieve a sylphlike mien.
Recently, I had the good fortune to get “hands-on” with a special limited edition Ultra Thin Tourbillon Escapement model produced for the prestigious retailer, Asprey of London. The watch is one of only eight examples to be made by Arnold & Son, the Swiss haute horlogerie brand with a distinctively English character. The company, named after the famous horologer John Arnold, who along with his close friend Abraham-Louis Breguet, was responsible for the creation of the first tourbillon.
I admired the Arnold & Son UTTE Asprey Special Edition at close-quarters and despite its shallow profile, the case height is a mere 8.34mm, the specification is deeply impressive. Nevertheless, to focus merely on size is to overlook the many attributes which make this timepiece particularly noteworthy.
It was not the hour and minute display that proved to be first detail to capture my attention, but rather the guilloché motif applied to the dial canvas.
In some instances, cheaper watches feature guilloché-like patterns to their dials. However, these are inferior imitations. The time-served skill of a guillocher, using a rose-engine lathe, is the ultimate expression of this historical artistic craft. In a world occupied by CNC machines, it is pleasing to see hand guilloché has been employed by Arnold & Son to magnificent effect.
The resultant guilloché looks resplendent in its seductive silver hue. The intersecting lines, presented in a three-dimensional form, result in an exemplar of horological elegance.
The off-centre hour and minute display, located on the upper dial area, is a model of tasteful restraint. Blued hour and minute hands, with open-worked tips, collaborate with the Roman numerals to eloquently convey time with adroit articulation.
On the lower section of the dial, a tourbillon cage features. It occupies the same sized circular area as the aforementioned hour and minute display. The arrangement of the two elements on a vertical plane, together with their shared scale, accords an appealing symmetry and balance.
The flying tourbillon is truly enchanting, making one full revolution every 60 seconds.
As previously mentioned, the case is thin, especially as it houses a tourbillon escapement. However, it measures 42mm in diameter. Whilst it is not unduly wide, it is generous, allowing the guilloché, hour and minute display and tourbillon cage, sufficient room to breathe. Nothing appears to be crammed in and as a result the dial is eminently legible.
Arnold & Son has strived to create a noteworthy timepiece, selecting palladium for the case. The metal is arguably one of the most challenging materials to manipulate but the outcome is very appealing.
During a recent visit to Arnold & Son, I was granted access to the company’s design studio and was amazed by its unusual approach to designing watches. The dial is designed first and then a bespoke movement is created to fit the proposed dial layout. The outcome of this approach is that the dial exhibits perfect proportions and is not compromised by the architecture of the movement beneath.
This watch is intended to quench the voracious appetite of the cognoscenti seeking matchless execution. It should therefore come as no surprise that Arnold & Son has fitted an exhibition caseback to allow discriminating eyes to linger on each nuance of the finely crafted A&S8200 hand-wound calibre housed within.
The A&S8200 calibre is a manufacture movement, brought to fruition in the company’s atelier in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
One of the many attributes of this watch is the shallow height of the movement, measuring a mere 2.97mm. It is reputed to be one of the thinnest tourbillon movements in existence. Its low-profile helps Arnold & Son create the svelte case. The resultant fit on my own wrist felt like a made-to-measure garment, perfectly attiring my arm in cosseting union.
Whilst the movement is slim, it does not dispense with the fine finishing synonymous with this practitioner of haute horlogerie. The nickel-silver movement features Côtes de Genève motif on the bridges, exhibiting a granite-like hue courtesy of NAC grey treatment. Components are hand decorated with expert chamfering and polishing very much in evidence.
Moreover, despite its svelte characteristics, the movement has an impressive power reserve, reputed to be in excess of 90 hours.
I have visited many watch companies in recent years, touring facilities and observing the skills practised within the confines of each factory. However, I recall my profound sense of amazement at the breadth of abilities displayed by Arnold & Son.
The craftsmanship is exceptional and is capable of withstanding the scrutiny of the most discriminating experts. The Arnold & Son UTTE Asprey Special Edition harnesses much of this remarkable skill. The result being a thin but beautifully formed timepiece housing many virtues within its elegant torso.
Indeed, I am not alone in my opinion of this timepiece, it recently won “Luxury Watch of the Year 2013” awarded by the UK watch magazine, “WatchPro”.
- Model: Arnold & Son UTTE Asprey Special Edition
- Ref: 1UTAG.S06A.C121G
- Case: Palladium; diameter 42.00 mm; height 8.34 mm; water resistant to 30 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; subsidiary seconds displayed upon the tourbillon.
- Movement: A&S8200 movement, hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 29 jewels; power reserve over 90 hours
- Bracelet: Black hand-stitched crocodile leather presented on a palladium pin buckle
- Limited Edition: 8 pieces