Skip to content
Portrait of John Arnold

John Arnold

English Watchmaker (1736 – 1799)

Born in Cornwall, he left England for the Netherlands at the age of 19 and returned to London speaking fluent German. This stood him in good standing at the court of King George III, from the House of Hanover, to whom Arnold presented a ring with the smallest half-quarter repeater ever made.

John Arnold is known as one of the most innovative watchmakers of his day and held patents for a Detent escapement, a bimetallic balance and a helical balance spring. Arnold also played a central role in the significant events of his age, such as the competition to determine longitude at sea, and won several grants and awards offered by the British Board of Longitude.

Birth of John Arnold in Cornwall.

Arnold leaves England for the Netherlands.

He returns home speaking excellent German, which stood him in good stead later at the court of King George III.

It is said that Arnold repairs a repeating watch for a certain McGuire, who gives him a loan to set up his watch business in London.

Arnold gains an introduction to King George III by presenting him with a ring containing a half-quarter repeater.

The earliest marine chronometers by Arnold are completed for official testing.

John Arnold’s marine chronometer No. 3 accompanies James Cook on his second voyage.

Following his invention of a detent escapement, John Arnold builds his first pocket chronometer.

Arnold is granted a patent for his bimetallic compensated balance and helical balance spring.

Arnold’s pocket watch No. 1/36 sent to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich is praised for its precision.

Arnold patents his design of the terminal curves for the helical balance spring along with designs for a spring detent escapement and epicycloid teeth.

John Arnold retires, transferring the company to his son, John Roger Arnold (1769-1843).

John Arnold dies.

Abraham-Louis Breguet presents his first tourbillon escapement, mounted in an Arnold pocket chronometer in memory of their friendship.

Arnold’s chronometer No. 2109 accompanies Rear Admiral Sir William Edward Parry on his voyage towards the North Pole.

John Roger Arnold files a patent for his ‘U’-shaped balance. He also becomes a predominant supplier to the Admiralty.

After the death of John Roger Arnold, Arnold & Son is continued by Charles Frodsham, a renowned English watchmaker, until the middle of the 19th century

Arnold & Dent’s chronometer No. 4575 accompanies Dr David Livingstone on his expedition to Africa.

The British Masters in Timekeeping relaunch Arnold & Son in Switzerland.

Arnold & Son becomes part of Manufacture La Joux-Perret. Its calibres are all developed and produced in-house.

Astronomy, Chronometry and World Time are embodied in the brand’s contemporary timepieces. Echoes of John Arnold’s inventions and preoccupations, these three principles represent the foundations on which the Arnold & Son collections are based.