Reading through the press materials on this one-of-a-kind piece, I couldn’t figure out why Arnold & Son was producing this mother-of-pearl/falcon dial. Aside from Arnold & Son’s long history of royal clockmaking, there isn’t any strong connection between the watchmaker and the noble pastime of falconry. They have made other hand-painted Métiers d’Art pieces over the years that celebrate the sea-going history of the company as a pioneer in marine navigation, which makes sense. But here, I was stumped.

Then they subtly admit it:

Today, falconry is a tradition that is still upheld in various parts of the world, particularly the Arabian Peninsula.

So they want to boost their reputation in a lucrative market, while making a bundle. And then, if there was any doubt:

If desired, the watch is available with a diamond-set bezel.

I’m sure that’s a reasonably priced, very tasteful upgrade. It’s certainly appropriate for a watch that celebrates a sporting pastime. The brown alligator strap, however, seems like a more reasonable choice for such a watch. And I can certainly imagine the un-bedazzled version on the wrist of a gentleman falconer.

While the dial is supposed to be the star of this show, the movement soars for me. I’m sure that the hand-painted miniature falcon is stunning in person; in pixel it looks like a commemorative plate. The ultra-thin A&S1001 in-house manual packs 90 hours of power in 30 mm x 2.70 mm and it is of course beautifully finished. The 40-mm 18k-karart rose gold case has a sapphire back to show off the handiwork.

Pricing is “depending on the final version,” i.e., with or without diamonds and, i.e., if you have to ask, it’s too much.

Arnold & Son Métiers d’Art HM Falcon

  • Price: Upon Request.
  • Who’s it for? One lucky sheik or oil tycoon, preferably with falcon.
  • Would I wear it? I am neither a sheik nor an oil tycoon, so no. But if I was headed to Downton Abbey for an afternoon of falconry, it would be the perfect companion.
  • What I’d change? It is perfect for what it is.
  • Standout feature? Obviously the dial is the selling point, but the movement lights me up.

Tech Specs from Arnold & Son

  • Case Material: 18k-karart rose gold
  • Case Size: 40 mm
  • Movement: A&S1001
  • Crystal: Cambered sapphire with anti-reflective coating on both sides
  • Band Material: Hand-stitched brown or black alligator leather

By Jim Manley

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