A hands-on look at the recently announced Arnold & Son TE8, a watch with an alluring inverted tourbillon movement.

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Compared to some of Arnold’s & Son’s more recent offerings such as the CTB or DSTB, the TE8 is relatively tame in that it’s a time-only tourbillon watch void of any unique complications. Its execution however makes the TE8 so much more than just another tourbillon.

Part of the brand’s Royal Collection inspired by the ornate pieces John Arnold produced during the first part of his watchmaking career, the TE8 is not one to go unnoticed. Housed in Arnold & Son’s signature tapered round case in either red or white gold with a 44mm diameter, the TE8 bears tremendous presence.

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Let’s focus on the dial- or rather the movement. Unlike most tourbillons on the market where an opening in the dial reveals the whirlwind escapement, Arnold & Son’s TE8 features an inverted movement construction, where all the interesting parts of the movement are present on the dial-side of the watch. And when you have a movement this gorgeous, you don’t really need a dial at all. The result is a mechanical landscape that doesn’t lack for depth or detail in the least.

Crafted from nickel silver or Maillechort as the French call it, the TE8’s in-house developed and manufactured movement features a three-quarter barrel bridge, a typical trait in English watchmaking lore. Beautifully chiseled to form a radial wave pattern, the red gold version comes with a rhodium-treated bridge atop a NAC grey main plate, while the white gold version is done in a NAC grey barrel bridge with a black rhodium main plate. Same watch, two very different looks.

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The sudden cutoff between the barrel bridge and tourbillon adds a lot of volume to the movement, in a visually captivating sort of way. Just looking at the mirror or “black” polished tourbillon cage and bridge, you can tell that Arnold & Son didn’t take any shortcuts when it came to decorating this sculpture of a movement.

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If you look closely at the winding system’s wheels, you’ll notice that the teeth have a fairly uncommon form known as “wolf’s teeth”, a rare treat in modern watches since producing them on an industrial scale is much more cumbersome than conventional “cycloid” teeth.  It is believed that wolf’s teeth are supposed to improve overall performance thanks to longer areas of transfer contact, less friction, and better resistance to bending. Besides, they just look really cool.

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And just because all the action’s on the dial-side doesn’t mean the case back view was neglected. Here you really get to appreciate the finer details such as the circular satin-finished wheels with hand-chamfered and polished edges, the screwed gold chatons and the beveled screws with mirror-polished heads. Also note the gear train’s bridge in the same shape as the tourbillon bridge.

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Limited to 25 pieces in each version, the Arnold & Son TE8 comes with a price tag of 108’000 CHF for the red gold and 112’800 CHF for the white gold version (not including taxes).

More information on www.arnoldandson.com