The Horological Society of New York (HSNY) has kicked off Timepieces for HSNY: 2021 Charity Auction, in partnership with the watch experts at Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, which began online on June 7 and runs through June 14. Watch collectors and enthusiasts can bid on seven one-of-a-kind timepieces, including the one we focus on today, created specifically for HSNY by Arnold & Son: a unique piece with a uniquely New York inspiration.
Paying tribute to the HSNY, a 155-year-old institution with a mission to “preserve, enrich, and disseminate watchmaking knowledge throughout the United States,” and the dynamic metropolis where it was founded back in 1866, the unique piece has an 18k 4N rose-gold case measuring 40 mm in diameter and a modest 7.68 mm thick. Under its domed sapphire crystal, with nonreflective treatment on both its surfaces, lies a white mother-of-pearl dial with a miniature painted depiction of New York City that takes on distinctively different appearances during daytime and nighttime — much like the Big Apple itself.
The miniature painted dial, just a few square centimeters in size, features a vanishing-point perspective from the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, with classical, red-brick New York buildings tapering toward the center to a view of the iconic Manhattan Bridge, spanning the East River under a blue sky. Details like the street lights, selected windows on the buildings, and the lights of the bridge have been coated with Super-LumiNova, giving the hand-painted scene a nocturnal urban glow in the darkness. The luminous substance, normally applied to watch dials in service of a functional purpose, like reading the time at night, is here used solely in an aesthetic role, to illustrate the timepiece’s representation of the image and the idea of New York.
Like all Arnold & Son timepieces, the unique piece is outfitted with a mechanical movement developed and built entirely within the brand’s manufacture in the Swiss watchmaking cradle of La Chaux-de-Fonds. In this case, its the manual-winding Caliber A&S1001, which like the golden shell that houses it is exceptionally thin, at just 2.7 mm. The movement oscillates at 3 Hz and stores an uncommonly lengthy power reserve of 90 hours. Its visible elements, on display behind a sapphire caseback, feature the meticulous haute horlogerie decorations for which Arnold & Son has become known, including a radiating côtes de Genève motif, emanating from the balance staff, on the mainplate; polished and chamfered bridges; circular satin-finished wheels; and blued screws with polished heads. The watch is mounted on a hand-stitched alligator strap, whose brick-red tone is designed to echo the buildings on the dial and which fastens with a rose-gold pin buckle.
Other highlights from the Timepieces for HSNY: 2021 Charity Auction (you can bid here) include two rare Rolex references, one a stainless-steel Ref. 5500 from 1979, the other a yellow-gold Ref. 1500 from 1980; a 1942-vintage Ulysse Nardin silver chronometer deck watch; a rare 1973 Patek Philippe Ref. 3589 with cushion-shaped white-gold case; a Greubel Forsey tourbillon celebrating the brand’s 10th anniversary; and a new Grand Seiko SBGM239 dual-time steel watch. All proceeds from the auction benefit HSNY’s initiatives to advance the art and science of horology, including providing financial aid to watchmaking students in the United States.