Arnold & Son Reaches For The Moon With The New Luna Magna
The La Chaux-de-Fonds-based brand with English roots unveils its first 3D moonphase featuring the largest moon sphere ever built into a wristwatch.
Arnold & Son, the Switzerland-based watch company inspired by the work of 18th-century English watchmaker John Arnold, is no stranger to creating timepieces with sizeable moonphase indications. The brand’s Perpetual Moon collection features a number of eye-catching references depicting the age of the Earth’s satellite through semicircular dial apertures that are some of the largest on the market.
While impressive, Arnold & Son’s interpretation of one of the oldest – and certainly one of the most romantic complications – is usually displayed two-dimensionally. In other words, flat.
But last week, all that changed when, at Watches & Wonders 2021, the brand caused somewhat of a revelation by unveiling the Luna Magna. It is the first Arnold & Son timepiece to boast a rotating, three-dimensional, moonphase indication – and it happens to feature the largest moon sphere ever built into a wristwatch.
Unmissable Moon Emerging from the Dial
Below the dial, the unmissable moonphase emerges 6 o’clock and measures a staggering 12mm in diameter. To put that in perspective, the new green-dialed Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711A is just 8.30mm in height. The whole watch.
Composed of two hemispheres made from two different materials, one half of the Luna Magna’s moonphase indication is precision-machined from natural white marble, the other from aventurine glass. The white marble, of course, represents the illuminated part of the Moon, while the aventurine glass is the dark side of the Moon. Aventurine glass is also employed on the rest of the dial to evoke the starry sky at night.
While the large lunar sphere certainly does catch the eye, it is not overbearing and is counterbalanced by the white lacquered, hour-minute sub-dial with blued hands, off-centered at 12 o’clock.
The beautifully fashioned dial is encircled by an 18K red gold case, 44mm in diameter. The watch’s height is kept at a rational 15.90mm by using a glass box sapphire crystal to accommodate the orbicular moonphase.
This glass box technique is repeated on the caseback so that the crystal rests on the wrist. But as our hands-on pictures show, despite the sizeable dimensions at play, the Luna Magna remains an eminently wearable watch.
And it is through the back sapphire crystal that we can admire the manually wound, in-house A&S1021 caliber. Fun Fact: The A&S1021 was specifically developed for the Luna Magna by Arnold & Son’s manufacturing arm, La Joux-Perret.
Secondary Moon Phase Display
Moreover, via the exhibition caseback, we get to see the other side of the moonphase, as it were. On the back, above the large lunar orb, there is a secondary display with an arrow indicator that allows for precision adjustment of the moonphase using the crown.
Once the moonphase is set, you’re basically good to go for the next century and a quarter – assuming the movement can be kept wound and working for that length of time. That is because the complication has been engineered to stay faithful to actual lunar cycles, becoming one day out of sync only after 122 years, when it will require adjusting again.
The movement decoration certainly brings out the best of the elements on show, like spotting on the mainplate, circular and radial finishing on the gears, plus the chamfered bridges are decorated with Geneva stripes, while the heads of the blued, chamfered screws are polished.
More Exciting Creations to Come
President of Arnold & Son, Bertrand Savary, says that the Luna Magna is just the first of a number of exceptional pieces that Arnold & Son will release this year. We can’t wait to see what else the company has in store.
Fitted with a blue alligator leather strap and red gold pin buckle, the Luna Magna is limited to just 28 pieces and priced at $50,000 (CHF 43,900).
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)