Arnold & Son occupies a sort of rarified air in my own headspace when it comes to categorizing watches. It’s definitely, firmly, in the world of luxury watches, but feels like one that is also firmly out of my own budget – and will remain so. And I’m not complaining – I’m just pointing out that internal stratification I have. That said, I still just really dig seeing what they’re doing. And while I tend to not go for a skeletonized watch that much, the Arnold & Son Nebula 38 really has got it going on.

While the movement of the watch is the star of the show – for good reason – it’s actually the case of the Arnold & Son Nebula 38 that first grabbed my attention. For starters, it’s a very svelte 38mm by 8.91mm thick, so it should be wearable across a multitude of wrists. Secondly, it’s made of steel. These are luxury watches and often feature precious metals. Here, it’s good old steel. And in a second nod to everyday wearability, it actually has a relatively decent WR rating (just don’t swim with it), so you don’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain.

Tucked into that case is the A&S5101 hand-wound movement, which is plainly visible through either side of the case. What you’ll see the front the most (given that it’s the “dial” side) is a very compelling look, and that’s the photo right above this. You can see that thought plainly went in to how to package and lay out the pieces of the movement train into something that is so visually pleasing, the reverse side looks, well, less-impressive, but that is only by comparison

Arnold & Son could easily have ignored the backside, and just done whatever was necessary to make the front look clean and balanced. And sure, it is a little more cluttered here, but it’s like any back office where the real work is done – the front looks pretty, and the back just has to figure it out. That said, things are still very organized and tidy, making for an overall very cohesive look.

So, yes, the Arnold & Son Nebula 38 is just an absolutely stunning testament to what the watch designers can accomplish in concert with the engineers. As you might expect, even in a steel case, this sort of “art begets science begets art” approach to the movement does not come inexpensively. If you’d like to put one on your wrist (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t), pricing runs to CHF 13,500. If you pick one up – and you’re in Chicago – please reach out, as I’d really dig seeing this one in person.

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Arnold & Son Nebula 38
  • Price: CHF 13,500
  • Who we think it might be for:
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I?ve seen?
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be:
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch:

Tech Specs from Arnold & Son

  • Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds
  • Movement
    • Calibre: A&S5101, hand-wound mechanical
    • Jewels: 24
    • Diameter: 31.50 mm
    • Thickness: 4.04 mm
    • Power Reserve: 90 hours
    • Frequency: 3 Hz / 21,600 vph
    • Decoration
      • Mainplate: chamfered, polished and treated with black ADLC bridges: chamfered, polished and NAC-treated
      • Wheels: chamfered and polished
      • Chatons: 18-carat gold
      • Screws: bevelled, with mirror-polished heads
    • Dial: anthracite flange
  • Case
    • Material: stainless steel
    • Diameter: 38 mm
    • Thickness: 8.91 mm
    • Crystal: domed sapphire with an anti-reflective coating on both sides
    • Case back: sapphire crystal
    • Water-resistance: 30m / 100 feet
  • Strap
    • Material: calfskin, various colours available
    • Clasp: pin buckle in stainless steel
  • Reference: 1NECS.B01A

ByPatrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.