A Tradition of Watchmaking with Arnold & Son

Posted April 21, 2015 in Watches & Jewelry by Janine St.Denis

Northrop & Johnson’s strategic global partner Arnold & Son has a long tradition in watchmaking. With an ethos of bespoke craftsmanship and an emphasis on maintaining that tradition while keeping in step with modern technology and style, Arnold & Son is an impressive company to watch. Steeped in tradition, Arnold & Son has been on the watchmaking scene since 1764, when John Arnold of Cornwall, England, presented a ring containing a half-quarter minute repeater to King George III of England in front of his court. From that day forward, Arnold & Son began crafting impeccable timepieces for their wealthy clientele. Only a few short years later, Arnold created the first marine chronometer capable of determining longitude through celestial navigation. This invention solidified Arnold & Son’s maritime heritage, which still prevails today.

The ingenuity, unique and innovative techniques, handcrafted finishes and the dedication to clients that John Arnold displayed in 1764 are still present within the walls of the Arnold & Son manufacturer in Switzerland. Located in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Arnold & Son sits in the heart of the Swiss watchmaking industry and prides itself on its impeccable and experienced craftsmen. These engineers and watchmakers are among the best in the world; they are precise and offer the highest-caliber production.

Arnold & Son begins every project with a blank slate. Because it develops and produces its own movements in house, Arnold & Son has earned the right to call itself a manufacturer and belongs to an extremely select collection of watchmakers in Switzerland who also boast this skillset.

An Arnold & Son Craftsman at the beginning of crafting a timepiece

Arnold & Son is proud to produce and launch at least two movements every year, only adding to its impressive list of accomplishments and solidifying itself as one of the most dynamic watch manufacturers in the world. The technical design of the movement pieces is evidence of Arnold & Son’s perfect blend of skilled micromechanics and traditional watchmaking practices. The company has embraced the old and the new, but although modern technology enhances the creation process, traditional techniques passed down from generation to generation will never be replaced by machines.

Further enhancing Arnold & Son’s movements are the impressive range of sophisticated complications also included in the collections. Arnold & Son designers are involved early in the watch production process. Not only are they visionary, they also are researchers, looking back into the history of watch manufacturing, to beautifully meld legacy with technical prowess. Arnold & Son has risen to a degree in which it not only creates its own components, but also the tools themselves.

An antique Arnold & Son Pocket Watch

Almost as important as the mechanisms of Arnold & Son timepieces is the finishing. All Arnold & Son watches are handfinished. There are 220 craftsmen and staff dedicated to perfecting Arnold & Son timepieces — after the components have been created, each individual component must be inspected to ensure top quality, then it must be hand-finished before being added to the timepiece. The finishing process is the most time consuming. Manufacturing at Arnold & Son continues 16 hours a day, as it can take hours to inspect and finish the tiniest mechanisms. Up to two hours can be spent satin-polishing one piece. This is a process that must be completed by hand as it is an extremely delicate procedure.

But as Fabien Dutriaux, vice president of sales, assures, “We are professional and we take the time to do what’s necessary. This only increases the value of the brand. We don’t cheat on anything when it comes to making Arnold & Son timepieces.”

Every single mechanism in an Arnold & Son timepiece receives treatments, not just what you see on the surface. These treatments play with the light and entice the eye. Arnold & Son is proud to assure that each and every minuscule component of its timepieces is perfectly fashioned to ensure the highest quality for its clients.

Skilled hand works on a timepiec

Once again keeping in step with the traditions it was founded on, Arnold & Son is sure to keep and cultivate the craftsmanship needed to create its timepieces. From ornate hand-finished engravings to hand-painted dials, Arnold & Son has employed some of the most creative minds and skilled hands to beautifully finish its watches. The exquisite details they create are truly an art. Arnold & Son is able to customize its timepieces — its skilled professionals are able to create hand-painted dials to match anything from a family crest to the insignia of your yacht to an image of your yacht itself.

In 2015, Arnold & Son partnered with yacht brokerage Northrop & Johnson. This partnership was a natural fit considering Arnold & Son’s maritime heritage. Arnold & Son’s timepieces and the yachts sold and chartered by Northrop & Johnson have much more in common than simply being luxurious. From the engineering prowess required to make both work properly, to the intricate styling details, yachts and timepieces aren’t dissimilar. Much like the engine that powers a superyacht, the mechanics that are utilized to assure the movements of an Arnold & Son watch are working in precise order, also require an incredible amount of engineering knowledge and manpower to put them together properly.

Arnold & Son Pyramid timepiece

Much like the beautiful interior décor of a yacht, the smallest details of the Arnold & Son watch have to be perfectly tailored to offer the highest aesthetic quality. Additionally, the owners and charterers of Northrop & Johnson’s yachts are not so different from the owners and aficionados of Arnold & Son’s timepieces. Both appreciate the beauty of the timepieces or yachts and both expect the highest possible quality not only in the product, but also in the services provided by the supplier. Both Northrop & Johnson and Arnold & Son share the same values, which makes brand alignment effortless.

Arnold & Son offers ingenuity, a dedication to preeminence and a time-honored heritage, ideals that perfectly align with those held by Northrop & Johnson. Our strategic partnership is founded on these principles and a continued promise to offer our clients the very best.

The craftsmen of this bespoke watch manufacturer open their hearts and doors and invite you to join them to see how they create the beautiful watches you see. “In order to understand the true value of an Arnold & Son timepiece, you must appreciate the time and skill invested by the people creating them,” says Dutriaux. “Our timepieces are not just watches. They must be cared for; time must be spent with them in order to really receive the most value from them. We invite all Northrop & Johnson friends to join us in Switzerland to see the passion and history that we create every day.”

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