By merging mineral with myth, Arnold & Son is adding a new dimension to its thinnest tourbillon. The five versions of the Ultrathin Tourbillon Dragon & Phoenix, each released as an edition of five pieces, feature dials made from rarely used varieties of hardstone. Their structure, colour and richness serve as a backdrop for the two legendary creatures as they dance around their prized pearl.
Each of the five Ultrathin Tourbillon Dragon & Phoenix models features a dial made from a different hardstone. Bronzite, Eudialyte, Marcassite, Pietersite and Verdite are coloured minerals with deep surface effects, but are little known and rarely used in watchmaking. Arnold & Son chose these varieties of hardstone for their evocative properties. In Bronzite, pearlescent, red and black inclusions stand out against predominant beige tones. Black and grey Marcassite is scattered with outgrowths like stones emerging from a flat landscape. The deep blue grey of Pietersite is crossed by expansive iridescent clouds. Verdite, meanwhile, reveals a bright, shifting green. Lastly, intense Eudialyte contains gradients of purple opposing mottled white veins.
Each of these versions comes with a large-scaled alligator skin strap that matches the dial, paired with 18-carat gold thread topstitching. The strap attaches to a 5N red gold case measuring 42 mm in diameter and 8.60 mm thick. This thinness is all the more remarkable as the Ultrathin Tourbillon Dragon & Phoenix models incorporate a tourbillon calibre. It simultaneously offers accurate timekeeping, a refined skeletonised structure, mechanical nobility and, for good measure, a symmetrical architecture. The symmetry of the pieces even extends to the domed sections: the skeletonised tourbillon bridge slightly protrudes from the dial, level with the off-centred dial, which is also domed. Meanwhile the mythical creatures carved from gold balance out the design horizontally. The precise proportions, the dynamics and the composition are the product of a keen aesthetic and mechanical sense.
Beneath the rare stone dials lies the A&S8200 calibre. Measuring 2.97 mm thick, it is one of the thinnest to be regulated by a tourbillon. Like all the movements used by Arnold & Son, the A&S8200 calibre was entirely developed, produced, decorated, assembled, adjusted and cased up within the walls of the brand’s manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds. This calibre is based on a large barrel with an oscillation frequency of 3 Hz, giving a 90- hour power reserve that is extremely rare for a tourbillon, especially given its thinness. The structure is refined further still by the skeletonised tourbillon bridge and hand engraving on the rear tourbillon bridge. As the light passes through the Ultrathin Tourbillon Dragon & Phoenix, it illuminates the mythological scene and brings the mechanical lacework into the mineral landscape.
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