Baselworld 2016: Presenting the new Arnold & Son Nebula. Hands-on Review, Live Pictures & Pricing.

The new Arnold & Son Nebula was one of those watches that we couldn't wait to see in the metal at Baselworld 2016. This new watch from Arnold & Son presents a three-dimensional, openworked movement and dial that offers views into the very heart of the in-house manufacture calibre. Two mainspring barrels providing a healthy 90-day power reserve at the top, find near-mirror symmetry with the small seconds display and dial-side balance below. The name "Nebula" —Latin for "cloud"— was selected because with its bridges distinctively radiating from the perimeter of the dial toward the center, the sculptural movement looks like an inverted, exploded star. Nebulae, an astronomical term describing a cloud of cosmic gas and dust, are formed from the debris of exploding stars and constitute the regions in our universe in which new stars are born; new stars like the new Baselworld 2016 Arnold & Son Nebula.

It has long been a proven fact that when we consider a person’s face "beautiful" we are actually noticing facial symmetry because the human brain finds beauty in symmetry. And it's not just the visually balanced faces of people that we find attractive, but symmetrical faces in general —including those of timepieces. This goes a long way toward explaining the watch lover’s strong attraction to the refined Arnold & Son Nebula, which is symmetrical not only horizontally and vertically but also front and back. Fitted with a perfectly sized case measuring 41.50 mm in diameter, the new Arnold & Son Nebula is available in 5N red gold with anthracite dial flange ref. 1NEAR.S01A.D135A or in stainless steel with black dial flange ref. 1NEAS.B01A.D134A.

Besides the evident careful attention to balance, the powerful allure of the Nebula also derives from the meticulously calculated proportions and ratios of diameter versus height and the size and placement of every gear and wheel. Rather than being an assembly of disparate components —case, dial, and movement— Nebula was designed from the ground up to be completely holistic, with all components blending harmoniously into one.

The "dial" actually acts as a bridge in supporting some of the intricate gearing. The movement bridges − there are no less than ten in this complex calibre, compared to four in a standard watch —form the dial.

Highly legible central hours and minutes rotate above the movement that was conceived and developed from the outset to be openwork rather than have superfluous material skeletonized as an afterthought. Dial side, symmetry at top to bottom is provided by the two mainspring barrels, which provide a very healthy 90 hours of power above, and small seconds plus the oscillating balance wheel below right at 7 o'clock. Seven of the skeletonized and chamfered triangular bridges with polished edges fixed around the perimeter of the movement and radiating inward offer a contemporary take on traditional English movement architecture. All over from whichever angle you look at it, the new Arnold & Son Nebula offers a stunning performance of an horological symphony.

Not only is all of the movement visible and highly decorated, all of the most technically interesting and animated mechanisms, including the barrels, gear train, balance and escapement, and winding mechanism, can be appreciated from the dial side without having to turn the timepiece over.

Fortunately with the new Arnold & Son Nebula turning the watch around reveals another beautiful surprise. The view through the display case back of the manual wound Arnold & Son calibre A&S5101, reveals a fully skeletonized and symmetrical stunning movement. Fitted with 24 jewels, two mainspring barrels and a mere thickness of 4.04 mm, the movement provides an outstanding power reserve of 90 hours when fully wound. The movement decoration includes NAC-treated bridges and black ADLC-treated main plate for the stainless steel model or palladium-treated bridges and NAC-treated main plate for the red gold model with haute horlogerie finishing, chamfered bridges with polished edges and brushed surfaces, chamfered wheels with A&S three-spoke design and polished edges, gold chatons, screws with bevelled and mirror-polished head.

The new Nebula is equipped with a supple hand-aged anthracite calf leather strap for the stainless steel model and a hand-stitched brown or black alligator leather for the red gold model. The strap is fitted with a pin buckle making the Nebula wear like a glove on the wrist. Perhaps one of the most unique looking straps out there, the strap on the stainless steel Nebula is also one of the nicest straps we saw this year at Baselworld 2016.

On the wrist, the watch wears true to its size and simply captivating. The level of work on the openworked dial and movement make this timepiece truly hypnotizing. Reading the time on this new watch from Arnold & Son should be considered a ritual, rather than a mere action. Kudos to Arnold & Son for putting together such a masterpiece of horology.

Sticker Price $14,500 for Stainless Steel and $25,750 for 5N red gold. For more info on Arnold & Son click here.