John Arnold was born in Cornwall in 1736. His father was a watchmaker and his uncle a gunsmith, which probably explains his early interest in precision engineering and metalwork. A talented craftsman and scholar, he left England for the Netherlands at the age of 19 after completing his apprenticeship to hone his watchmaking skills. He returned two years later speaking excellent German, which stood him in good stead later at the court of George III, and had established himself as a watchmaker of repute in London’s Strand by his mid-twenties.
After Arnold presented the smallest repeating watch ever made to King George III and to the court, he rapidly acquired a wealthy clientele. He was one of the most inventive watchmakers of his day and held patents for a detent escapement, bimetallic balance and helical balance spring . Arnold’s “No. 36” was the first timepiece to be called a chronometer, a term reserved for unusually precise watches to this day.
Today, Arnold & Son belongs to a select group of watchmaking companies in Switzerland entitled to call themselves a manufacture, a French term reserved exclusively for watch manufacturers who develop and produce their own movements in-house.
The brand’s prowess in the development and production of in-house movements is reflected by an impressive collection of Arnold & Son calibers with a complete range of sophisticated complications.
Every Arnold & Son movement has its own story to tell and reflects the brand’s heritage. They range from the minuscule repeating watch presented to George III that cemented the founder’s reputation, to the precise marine chronometers that made travel at sea so much less hazardous and put the British Empire on course to expansion.
Today, the brand maintains a product philosophy established well over 200 years ago, combining traditional, hand-finished craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technology.