The three-dimensional, openwork movement and dial of the Nebula offer views into the very heart of the in-house manufacture calibre. Two mainspring barrels providing a healthy 90 hours power reserve at the top, find near-mirror symmetry with the small seconds display and dial-side balance below.
It has long been a proven fact that when we consider a person’s face “beautiful” we are actually noticing facial symmetry because the human brain finds beauty in symmetry. And it’s not just the visually balanced faces of people that we find attractive, but symmetrical faces in general – including those of timepieces. This goes a long way toward explaining the watch lover’s strong attraction to the refined Arnold & Son Nebula, which is symmetrical not only horizontally and vertically but also front and back.
Besides the evident careful attention to balance, the powerful allure of the Nebula also derives from the meticulously calculated proportions and ratios of diameter versus height and the size and placement of every gear and wheel. Rather than being an assembly of disparate components – case, dial, and movement – Nebula was designed from the ground up to be completely holistic, with all components blending harmoniously into one. The “dial” actually acts as a bridge in supporting some of the intricate gearing.
The movement bridges − there are no less than ten in this complex calibre, compared to four in a standard watch − form the dial.
The name “Nebula” (Latin for “cloud”) was selected because with its bridges distinctively radiating from the perimeter of the dial toward the centre, the sculptural movement looks like an inverted, exploded star. Nebulae, an astronomical term describing a cloud of cosmic gas and dust, are formed from the debris of exploding stars and constitute the regions in our universe in which new stars are born . . . new stars like the Nebula.
Highly legible central hours and minutes rotate above the movement that was conceived and developed from the outset to be openwork rather than have superfluous material skeletonized as an afterthought. Dial side, symmetry at top to bottom is provided by the two mainspring barrels, which provide a very healthy 90 hours of power above, and small seconds plus the oscillating balance wheel below. Seven of the skeletonized and chamfered triangular bridges with polished edges fixed around the perimeter of the movement and radiating inward offer a contemporary take on traditional English movement architecture.
Not only is all of the movement visible and highly decorated, all of the most technically interesting and animated mechanisms, including the barrels, gear train, balance and escapement, and winding mechanism, can be appreciated from the dial side without having to turn the timepiece over.
But that’s not to say the underside of the movement is something to be overlooked. The view through the display back reveals even more of the superlatively hand-finished movement, with its skeletonized and chamfered main plate with polished edges, solid 18-karat gold chatons and gears featuring polished chamfers.
The Nebula is available in a 41.50 mm, 5N red gold or stainless steel case, with a sapphire crystal display back for viewing the superbly hand-finished movement.
£12,500 – £22,900