The three watches in the John Franklin Set are the latest additions to the Instrument Collection and take as their subject three famous paintings from London’s National Maritime Museum. The timepieces, which feature a true-beat seconds and off-centre hour and minute hands, each depict an episode in the life of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, vessels that eventually perished in the course of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition to discover the North-West Passage in the mid-19th century.
To the British government, the North-West Passage had long been an obsession. It represented a shorter route to the Indies that would eliminate the need for rounding Cape Horn and avoid meetings with the hostile fleets of other European nations. And although its mythical status as a faster route to the East had evaporated by the mid-19th century, it was still one of the last uncharted coastlines of the world. In 1845, Sir John Franklin set out on his third expedition to the area in HMS Erebus, accompanied by HMS Terror. After being sighted by whalers in mid-summer, the two ships disappeared. Over forty expeditions set out to locate and rescue them but found only remnants of the expedition.
The three references in the Sir John Franklin Set are fitted with the A&S6103 automatic movement developed, designed and manufactured in-house at the Arnold & Son workshops in La Chaux de Fonds. The A&S6103 movement is rhodium treated with classic Haute Horlogerie finishing that includes hand-chamfered bridges and polished edges, fine circular-graining and Côtes de Genève rayonnantes, a brushed and skeletonised rotor and blued screws. It is housed in an 18-carat rose gold case measuring 44 millimetres in diameter.
Arnold & Son manufacture movement, self-winding, ceramic ball bearing, 30 jewels, diameter 30.4 mm, thickness 7.79 mm, power reserve 50 h, 28’800 vibrations/h, stop seconds
Functions: hours, minutes, true beat seconds
Movement decoration: rhodium treated with Haute Horlogerie finishing: hand-chamfered bridges with polished edges, fine circular graining and Côtes de Genève rayonnantes, brushed and skeletonised oscillating weight, blued screws with bevelled and mirror-polished heads
18-carat rose gold, diameter 44 mm, cambered sapphire with anti-reflective coating on both sides, see-through sapphire case back, water-resistant to 30 m
Hand-finished miniature, mother-of-pearl
Hand-stitched brown alligator leather
28 sets of 3 timepieces
1ARAP.M08A.C120P: Sir John Franklin Set – Friendly Encounter
1ARAP.M07A.C120P: Sir John Franklin Set – Antarctic Adventure
1ARAP.M06A.C120P: Sir John Franklin Set – North-West Passage