2012/02/27 - Arnold & Son TB88 True Beat

Timeless elegance meets innovative technology

With a timepiece that references its English watchmaking heritage, Arnold & Son unveils the TB88 featuring the hand-finished A&S5003 calibre. Conceived, designed and manufactured in-house, this superbly engineered wristwatch heralds a new collection that combines classical styling with leading-edge technology.

John Arnold was an exceptional watchmaker, who excelled in the development and production of marine chronometers. With his son, he built up a company that established itself as one of the most reputable suppliers of timepieces to the Royal Navy as well as intrepid explorers like James Cook, Matthew Flinders and George Vancouver, to name but a few. By the early 19th century, he had several major patents to his name and created a minor storm in precision timekeeping with the Arnold No. 36, the first-ever watch to be called a ‘chronometer’ – a term used to this day for a supremely accurate timepiece. The Arnold No. 36 was considered so important that it was included in the collection of the National Maritime Museum in London, where it can be seen to this day.

The latest model from Arnold & Son, the TB88, is proof that the company has lost none of its appetite for innovative technology or precision timekeeping. The A&S5003 calibre brings together all the technical and aesthetic characteristics of a classical John Arnold chronometer. The letters ‘TB’ stand for ‘true beat’, a complication that alludes to the precision timekeeping required for navigation at sea. Unlike conventional mechanical watches, a true beat movement measures out time in complete seconds rather than fractions dependent on the balance frequency. This is useful for determining the exact time and, consequently, longitude, and makes it invaluable at sea.

The TB88 is also a tribute to John Arnold’s earliest known pocket watch, of which the original case bears the number ‘88’. The number is replicated by the design of the movement in this latest model, with its perfectly symmetrical layout featuring the twin barrels at the top, the balance wheel between 4 and 5 o’clock and the true beat seconds indicator between 7 and 8. The watch movement is ‘inverted’, which simply means that the technically interesting features are on the dial side of the movement instead of being hidden away on the reverse. This showcases the two barrels, which generate a full 100 hours’ power reserve when fully wound, and the Breguet overcoil balance spring. Bending and fitting the spring by hand is a delicate and highly skilled operation mastered by a precious few watchmakers.

But the feature that unquestionably sets Arnold & Son’s new TB88 apart is its unique ‘English’ design, as expressed through features like the straight-cut bridges. Each of the pivoting elements in the movement is mounted on its own bridge, 16 in total. Further shining examples of watchmaking at its finest are the hand-chamfered edges of the bridges and other key parts of the movement, together with the fascinating juxtaposition of the black and brushed components.

The TB88 from Arnold Son is housed in either a 18-carat rose gold case or stainless-steel measuring 46 millimeters in diameter, which is water resistant to 30 meters and secured to the wearer’s wrist by a hand-stitched black alligator strap.

Technical Specifications

  • Hand-wound, Manufacture Calibre A&S5003, independent-lever true beat seconds system, two series-coupled barrels, Breguet balance-spring, 18,000 vib/h, 32 jewels, over 100-hour power reserve, black ruthenium or grey NAC finish, hand-chamfered and decorated bridges. 
  • Hours, minutes, true beat small seconds 
  • 18K pink gold or stainless steel, 46 mm 
  • Bezel in gemset or non-gemset versions 
  • Domed sapphire crystal with multiple anti-reflective treatments and transparent back 
  • Water-resistant to 30 m / 3 ATM 
  • Openworked dial 
  • Balance at 4.30 
  • True beat small seconds at 7.30 
  • Gilded or silver-toned hands 
  • Black alligator with 18K pink gold or steel pin buckle