Arnold & Son UTTE (World Record Thin Tourbillon)

World’s thinnest tourbillon…2.97mm…WOW!

Arnold & Son UTTE

Arnold & Son brought some big news today — the La Chaux de Fonds based manufacture has claimed ownership of the world’s thinnest tourbillon:  the new A&S8200 tourbillon caliber measures a mere 2.97 mm thick.  This is more than 0.5mm thinner than Piaget’s Caliber 600P which is now the world’s second thinnest tourbillon.  The caliber is in the Arnold & Son UTTE (Ultra Thin Tourbillon Escapement) which is also now the world’s thinnest tourbillon watch at 8.34mm thin (vs. the Piaget Ref. G0A34126/600P at 9.4mm).  This is an incredible achievement by Arnold & Son, and they have presented it beautifully (though I can’t say the same about how they’ve named it).

Arnold & Son UTTE

World’s Thinnest Tourbillon

Limited edition 50 pieces in each of red gold and palladium

Arnold Son UTTE Dial Closeup

The A&S Cal 8200 has a double barrel configuration for 80 hour power reserve — this is unprecedented and hugely impressive for an ultra thin tourbillon caliber.  The movement diameter is 32 mm, with a massive 14mm diameter tourbillon cage (occupying almost half of the movement).  But wait, it gets better.  Arnold & Son created a totally spherical tourbillon cage that is not set into the caliber, but instead rises out of the movement and an fact sits at the same height as the hour and minute hands.  The overall aesthetic is magnificent, including its clean but refined dial and its caliber finishing which includes satin-finish with hand chamfered and polished edges, and a hand engraved tourbillon bridge (red gold model only).

Arnold Son Calibrer 8200 UTTE

UTTE is being offered in red gold ($70,185) and also palladium ($61,075), 50 pieces each.  Each movement is finished in a color to complement the case color, and each features a different Côtes de Genève pattern:  rhodiumed movement for the red gold model, grey NAC-treated movement for a more contemporary look on the palladium model.  No photos have been released, but I’ll bring you live looks later this week from Basel.

Arnold & Son Logo

Let’s consider the bigger picture here.  Along with Piaget, I suspect that will surprise many titans of the industry, particularly Piaget (former world record holder with its Cal 600P).    Piaget was the record holder for the world’s thinnest tourbillon — the Piaget caliber 600P is a mere 3.5mm thick.  Piaget is in fact known for its expertise in ultra-thin calibers.  And so while one might have expected JLC (their 1.85mm thin Cal 849 is the thinnest time-only/non-tourbillon hand wound in the world) or perhaps Audemars Piguet (their tourbillon Cal 2924 measures 4.46mm) to challenge Piaget’s standing with the world’s thinnest tourbillon, I’d say that Arnold & Son was not even on the radar.

So yes indeed this is an impressive development from Arnold & Son.  And am I surprised?  Yes, but my sixth sense was telling me that Arnold was on the cusp of something big, and I guess this is it.  In fact, I had to laugh at what I was just musing last week:

…it is quite clear to me now that there is some real talent at this manufacture [Arnold & Son].  More importantly, they are putting their resident talent to work, having issued a nice number of excellent new watches over the last year or so.  2013 in particular is looking very strong for the brand.  Of course the heritage of the brand (John Arnold) is well established, but there is clearly a revitalization ongoing that is yielding excellent product….

So while I can’t say that I predicted this, it is now perfectly evident to all that A&S is a serious contender in the high watchmaking segment.