Delicately placed on a mother-of-pearl dial, hand-painted carp and sculpted lotuses surround a flying tourbillon. Arnold & Son presents the Ultrathin Tourbillon Koi, a delicate unique piece that blends fine watchmaking and the artistic crafts. The House showcases its broad spectrum of skills within a red-gold case measuring 8.34 mm thick. Here, the finest craftsmanship builds on tried-and-tested watchmaking technique.

Photographs courtesy of Arnold & Son

Arnold & Son is highlighting its tradition of bespoke watch creations. Ever attentive to the wishes of its customers, the brand is offering them the chance to personalise its collections. Customers can apply substantial changes, making a case, movement or dial unique through engraving, gem-setting, miniature painting or sculpted elements.

One of the models that is particularly well suited to this exercise is the Ultrathin Tourbillon, with its off-centred dial at 12 o’clock. This arrangement frees up space to provide an empty canvas that can be filled with whatever the customer desires.

Photographs courtesy of Arnold & Son

Beneath the surface

In the same vein, the Swiss brand with English roots presents the Ultrathin Tourbillon Koi, a unique piece that depicts two carp gliding between lotus blossoms. Koi are a popular theme in traditional Japanese art and inspire tranquillity. Above and beyond their beauty and serenity, they are a symbol of perseverance in the face of adversity.

A Tancho carp, recognisable thanks to the large red mark on its head, swims on the right-hand side of the dial. Peering out from beneath the sleeve, it is the first to be seen when checking the time. The scene continues with another koi in shades of white and orange gracing the other side of the dial.

Photographs courtesy of Arnold & Son

A pond in full bloom

Above these ornamental carp float three lotus blossoms. The petals are cut from silver and shaped, before being engraved, polished and painted in dazzling white lacquer. Each flower’s pistil is formed separately using the same techniques, then the two parts are combined.

The carp and lotus leaves, meanwhile, are painted by hand using incredibly thin brushes that allow a wealth of details to be added, such as scales, barbels and striped fins. The base of the dial is made from blue-toned mother-of-pearl, its iridescent shimmer evoking the water in which this charming scene unfolds.

Photographs courtesy of Arnold & Son

A ripple of opportunity

Beneath this poetic depiction of pond life, Arnold & Son draws on the vast possibilities presented by the calibre A&S8200. Its thickness of 2.97 mm puts it within touching distance of the all-time records for thinness in this category.

The movement displays the hours and minutes in an off-centred dial at 12 o’clock. At 6 o’clock, an aperture reveals a tourbillon whose construction is special in more ways than one.

Photographs courtesy of Arnold & Son

Movement in the water

First and foremost, the tourbillon is a ‘flying’ variety, meaning that it only has a lower carriage bridge. Since the top is not held in place, a few precious millimetres of height can be saved, thus freeing up the view of this timekeeping mechanism. The balance, meanwhile, is off-centred from the carriage axis, creating a dynamic visual impression as the tourbillon rotates. Another distinctive feature is the balance bridge, which is domed and extends slightly from the dial, ensuring that the rest of the movement is unaffected by the total height. This, in turn, makes the tourbillon’s rotation all the more spectacular. The effect is further accentuated by the skeletonised main plate located just beneath the tourbillon.

The resulting transparency creates an ethereal impression consistent with the refined theme of the Ultrathin Tourbillon Koi. Finally, this manually wound movement features an exceptional 90-hour power reserve – another technical signature of the House.

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About The Author

Helene Ramackers

Heléne Ramackers is a freelance journalist who enjoys interviewing local and international celebrities but thinks she has found her calling amongst the travel writing fraternity. A creature comfort girl at heart, she loves all things opulent. Her first taste of the bushveld was all it took to get bitten by the ‘bush-bug’, an absolute life-altering experience. She now longs for the expanse of wide open spaces, a pollution-free sky and the roar of a lion lulling her to sleep. When she’s not fantasizing about her next leopard sighting, she thrives on taking photographs of her family and loves capturing the beauty of sunrises, sunsets, rainbows and the magnificence of the full moon. Born and bred in Cape Town, this wife and doting mother love visiting the beauty that is right on her doorstep – the splendor of Table Mountain, the crashing waves at Bloubergstrand and the alluring scenery of the Winelands. To add Upscale Living to her portfolio is a dream come true!

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