As part of the Instrument Collection, the Métiers d’Art TB Dragon Limited Edition timepiece by Arnold & Son represents a consummate expression of traditional craftsmanship at its finest.
In Chinese mythology the dragon is a divine creature signifying power and good fortune, and is the free spirit of the zodiac. The same characteristics perfectly apply to Arnold & Son, historic British watchmaking brand – now part of the prestigious Swiss group La Joux-Perret, owned by Citizen – which for more than two centuries has made the history of horology thanks to its strong identity, charisma and artistic bravery. A legacy that lives on to this to day, stronger than ever.
The latest addition to the Arnold & Son Instrument Collection combines the marine precision of the true-beat (TB) movement with aesthetic perfection. Featuring one of the instantly recognizable design cues of the Instrument Collection, the off-centre positioning of the time display at 9 o’clock leaves a generous open area and creates a perfect setting for the exquisite engraved and hand-painted depiction of a dragon. To underline its exclusivity, this fabulous example of high-precision technology and aesthetic perfection is available in a limited edition of just twenty-eight pieces.
The model comprising the Métiers d’Art TB Dragon Limited Edition from Arnold & Son was created to celebrate the dragon: a divine, inspiring, mythological creature. The dominant feature of this fine-quality wristwatch is a hand-engraved appliqué of a dragon executed by Arnold & Son’s master engraver, which is then duplicated for the series. Hand engraving is a traditional art form that makes use of hardened steel tools called burins and other special implements. They create cuts, lines and texturing that build up entire images or, as in the case of the TB Dragon, a perfectly sculpted figure of a dragon in solid 22-karat rose gold.
The breathtaking richness of detail is then duplicated in rose gold for the rest of the series. Once the appliqué is in place on the dial, the dragon’s textures and shades are emphasized by hand-painting, a process that accentuates its three-dimensional nature. Hand engraving and miniature painting both call for infinite patience and expertise and take many years of concentrated practice to fully master.
With its pure, timeless design, the Instrument Collection takes its inspiration from the chronometers produced by John Arnold’s son, John Roger, in the latter part of his career. “These were specially designed to withstand the rigours of life on the high seas,” explains Philippe Boven of Arnold & Son, “and to deliver the true-beat, downto-the-second precision needed by marine navigators to determine longitude. The true beat is a rare complication these days, and combining it with an automatic winding system calls for enormous technical expertise.”