At 12 o’clock is a day/night index for the GMT time and home time, using matching skeletonized and filled hands to tell them apart. The bottom half of the index is darkened, which aids the visual representation of the “nighttime” portion of this disk. I really do wish the Arnold & Son emblem had been located elsewhere however, as its place interrupting the moments monitor at 12 o’clock could make exact time-setting difficult. Another niggling difficulty I found was that the next hand counterweight closely emulates the look of the home time hands, which may occasionally cause a moment of confusion when you glance down and watch three hands pointing at the dial. In an ideal world, I’d have loved to see that the moment hands on each dial extended only a bit further to properly reach the minute trail, and the hour hands shortened a bit to not overlap the hour markers, but this is a little aesthetic qualm which doesn’t impact utility.On the opposite side of the Arnold & Son DBG Skeleton, the base plate of the manufacture bore A&S1309 is revealed. The movement is made from nickel silver (also called German silver or Maillechort, an alloy of aluminum, nickel and zinc) that was rhodium-plated and embellished with C?tes de Genève. The wheels are satin-finished and supply a contrasting three dimensional texture into the base plate, and involving the chamfered edges of these bridges, the gold gear train can be seen. The motion is hand wound obviously, which contributes to its thinness at a mere 3.9mm. It includes 42 stones and provides a 40 hour power reserve while the double accounts oscillate at 21,600vph, or 3Hz. That is undoubtedly a highly refined motion, but compared to the depth of detail offered by this skeletonized dial, the reverse side of this movement almost feels like a letdown.
UTTE is short for “ultra-thin tourbillon escapement” and is the name of a watch Arnold & Son introduced three years ago. Now the brand has given the UTTE an open-worked facelift, creating the slimmest skeleton tourbillon on the market.
The tourbillon regulator is of the flying type, with no bridge to hold it on the front. And the balance wheel is slightly off centre, rotating on a separate axis from that of the tourbillon cage, a construction that’s reminiscent of the extra-thin tourbillons made by independent watchmaker Vincent Calabrese (who also designed the similar Blancpain tourbillon). Because the tourbillon rises slightly above the surface of the movement, a domed sapphire crystal is necessary to accommodate it – without the crystal the watch would be even thinner.
In totality, crystal and all, the watch is just 8.34 mm high, the same as the original UTTE, with a diameter of 42 mm. But the movement is slightly different than the original, being thicker in order to compensate for the skeletonisation. The bridges had to be made more substantial to ensure rigidity, since so much material was removed for the open-working. It’s hand-wound with a 90-hour power reserve, or just over three days.
The UTTE Skeleton is a limited edition of 50 pieces in red gold, with a price of US$76,750.