A New Astral Body Is Born: The Arnold & Son Nebula
Nebula could well be described as the little sister of the TB88 and last year’s monumental Constant Force Tourbillon, although the movement is different.
While the latter two timepieces were all about providing superior chronometry, Nebula focuses on the aesthetic side of mechanics, offering a unique take on the time-only skeleton watch.
Like pretty much all Arnold & Son creations of recent years, Nebula is not a watch powered by a fancy iteration of an existing movement, but rather a brand-new movement conceived from the ground up with a specific design and sense of purpose.
The beautiful symmetry of the result clearly shows as much.
The first thing that grabs you about this timepiece is its visual balance. Void of a dial per se, save for the flange ring and the seconds’ subdial (which actually doubles as a bridge), Nebula is a fascinating and elaborate exercise in creating a striking and truly singular skeleton movement. Its multiple bridges give a nod toward traditional English movement architecture.
Of the ten bridges in the movement, seven are almost identically triangular shaped, skeletonized in the center, and arranged in a way that they appear to radiate toward the center of the movement.
This sort of “exploded” alignment of elements is meant to evoke imagery of an interstellar cloud where astral bodies are born. This is called a nebula.
A contemporary take on English movement architecture deserves a suitably modern contrasting finish. The red gold version comes with an ADLC-treated base plate, NAC-grey bridges on the stainless steel model, and a grey base plate with palladium-coated bridges in the red gold version.
While perhaps more basic in its functions, you won’t find any discrepancies in the level of finish and attention to detail between the Nebula and Arnold & Son’s more complicated pieces.
Nebula features hand-chamfered and polished bridge edges and wheel spokes, mirror-polished screw heads, white gold chatons, you name it.
A pleasant surprise for those who appreciate Arnold & Son’s pieces but find them often a tad too big is that Nebula’s case measures a very wearable 41.5 mm in diameter. Compare this to its larger, more complex siblings the TB88 and Constant Force Tourbillon, both of which measure 46 mm.
Nebula is also relatively slim, measuring only 9.73 mm in height.
And, amazingly, the price positioning of the Arnold & Son Nebula makes it perhaps the most accessible piece in the boutique brand’s impressive lineup.
What it lacks in complication it more than makes up for in distinctive visuals and – of course – impeccable execution.
For more information, please visit www.arnoldandson.com/nebula.
Case: stainless steel or 5N red gold, 41.5 x 9.73 mm
Movement: manually wound Caliber A&S5101, skeletonized, 90 hours of power reserve provided by twin spring barrels; 3 Hz / 21,600 vph
Functions: hours, minutes, (off-center) small seconds
Price: $14,500 in stainless steel and $25,750 in 5N red gold