One of the last watches I have seen and photographed during Baselworld 2019 was the beautiful Arnold & Son Nebula 38 – an exceptional symmetrical architecture packed in a precious 38mm case gold case. Here is my short review with video and impressions from the Basel event.
Hands-on review Arnold & Son Nebula 38
Arnold & Son introduced Nebula in 2016, at Baselworld. The main characteristic is the openwork design that reveals not only the almost perfect symmetry of the calibre A&S5101 but also its beauty. This year, the brand launched a smaller version of the Nebula in a 38mm gold case (the first Nebula having a diameter of 41.5mm).
Before going further, I want to let you know that the pictures are deplorable. It was the last appointment for Baselworld 2019. I was tired and my hands were shakings from photographing all-day (13 appointments that day). Even the flash system started to colour shift, hence some colour changes from one image to another. But I love this watch too much to let it away from my presentations. Please explore Nebula’s 38 beauty and apologise for my photos. Enjoy!
A delicate but full of details case
I loved the Nebula since its appearance. Of course, the 38mm is even more attractive. The case is rich in details: from the three parts construction to the alternation of brushed and polished surfaces. For those who know already the Nebula, the smaller version suffered no other alteration.
The older version was amazing in every detail, but in 38mm everything looks much better. The lugs make no exception. I am impressed by their construction and decorations. The crown’s decoration reminds of the brand’s origin: manufacturer of royale marine chronometers.
When everything is revealed
Looking at the dial, the only change from the previous version is the narrower chapter ring. In this way, the movement fills better the watch face. It is impressing how the cocks and bridges are spread. In their case, the symmetry is left to right.
The chapter ring is rhodium plated. As indexes and extra decoration, we find at 12 o’clock the brand’s name and printed minutes’ indexes. For hours are used hand-applied three-dimensional gold indexes.
The small seconds sub-dial uses a rhodium-plated chapter ring with ink-filled indexes. The dial makes a nice contrast with the gold balance wheel.
The legibility is surprisingly good for a skeletonised design with an almost monochromatic appearance.
Calibre A&S5101 – splendid construction, exquisite finishes
What I particularly love how the mainplate was skeletonised – symmetry is Nebula’s keyword. The mainplate was NAC-treated. The bridges are palladium-plated. The combination gave the entire movement a pleasant contrast. Other delightful details: polished gold setting for the jewels, polished chamfering (inclusive on the gear train) and a subtle overall brush.
But the calibre A&S5101 is impressive not only on the visual side. Beating at a rate of 21,600 vph (or 3Hz), the movement is capable of reaching 90 hours. The lower frequency and the double-barrel system contribute to this impressive power reserve.
Later edit: On The Naked Watchmaker Website, there is available a deconstruction of the 41.5mm Nebula. But the calibre is, as mentioned, the same. Please have a look and enjoy all the details of the calibre A&S5101.
Why I love it
Arnold & Son Nebula 38 comes as a new size for the older 41.5mm. Already a magnificent timepiece, the new size is like a dream come true for the collectors. The new size is more appropriate for a black-tie piece. It can be considered a modern dress watch, where the classical canons are replaced by modern technical construction.
The watch behaves excellent on the wrist. The curved lugs create a great impression. The watch is easy to set and wind. The winding process creates an entire show due to the visible-through-top barrels. The Nebula 38 had a launch price of 23,300 CHF (without taxes). I think it is a fair price for what it offers.
Arnold & Son Nebula 38 Technical Specifications
- Hours, minutes, small seconds
- Calibre: A&S5101, hand-wound,
- Jewels: 24
- Diameter: 31.50 mm
- Height: 4.04 mm
- Power reserve: 90 hours
- Frequency: 3 Hz / 21,600 vph
- Decoration: Skeletonized movement, palladium-treated bridges, NAC-treated main plate, chamfered bridges with polished edges and brushed surfaces, chamfered wheels with A&S three-spoke design and polished edges, gold settings, bevelled screws with mirror-polished heads
- Rhodium-plated chapter ring
- Material: 18-karat red gold (5N)
- Diameter: 38.00 mm
- Thickness: 8.91 mm
- Crystal: Cambered sapphire, anti-reflection coating on both sides
- Back: Sapphire crystal
- Water resistance: 30 m /100 ft
- Material: Hand-stitched brandy or grey alligator leather
- Buckle Pin: 18-karat red gold (5N)
World retail price CHF 23’300 without taxes (prices can be subject to change)
Limited Edition: 50 timepieces
Arnold & Son Nebula 38 Gallery
As mentioned before, most of the pictures are below the required sharpness and quality level.