Admiring the Armin Strom Gravity Date Earth, the black and white color scheme masterfully collaborates to enhance the whole, interacting and, by default, complementing each other.
I am a hirsute gentleman and prefer the restricted view, front to back, of these contemporary open-worked watches, because I don’t particularly enjoy seeing my wrist hair magnified beneath a sapphire crystal. Conversely, I do love admiring various movement parts disclosed in finely finished glory. The Armin Strom models of today wonderfully sate both of these desires.
The Armin Strom Gravity Date collection, launched at Baselworld 2014, is presented in four variants, each referencing one of the brand’s elements. These elements include Air, Fire, Water and Earth. It is the latter option that is the focal point of this review.
Part of the design language of Armin Strom is the off-center dial ring, biased to the westerly flank of the case. This allows sufficient space, adjacent the crown, for an arc-shaped cartouche to reside, proclaiming the watch company’s name.
The hour and minute hands are bold, highly polished and lined with white luminescent fill that glow green in low light. Gracing the hour circle, applied gleaming Arabic numerals feature at 3, 6 and 12 o’clock. Minutes are shown in between these hour markers using a combination of printed Arabic numerals and white strokes. Legibility is excellent and the time can be readily ascertained within fractions of a second.
Positioned at 9 o’clock is a complex subdial consisting of three hands. A short, open-worked hand points to one of two semi-circular areas, presented in white and black, denoting daylight and nocturnal hours. Surrounding this is a date display, presented on a circular scale with the prevailing value imparted with a larger, open-worked hand. Finally, the third hand is long and solid, reaching a seconds track encircling the subdial.
These indications are in close proximity to each other and do require the wearer to pause and interpret the information for a moment longer than the aforementioned hour and minutes display.
A key aspect of this watch is the fascinating vista it presents to the wearer. Its micro-rotor, barrel underside, gears and wheels are impressively on display. Armin Strom also indulges eyes with an agreeable view of the mainplate, adorned with circular Côtes de Genève motif.
The case is constructed of stainless steel and features black PVD treatment. Most areas of the case and pin buckle exhibit a matte finish. However, there are smatterings of gleaming black metal on the beveled edges of the lugs, bezel and caseback.
The diameter of this timepiece is 43.4mm and the height is 13mm, the same case dimensions Armin Strom uses for the majority of its models. My prolonged on the wrist experience revealed the watch accorded sublime levels of comfort and at no stage did the crown gouge or chafe my arm, nor did it impinge free movement.
A date corrector is incorporated into the caseband at 10 o’clock and can be adjusted with a suitable push-type tool.
In common with other watches from this Swiss watch brand, the case features a lip at 6 o’clock, again another part of the watch company’s design language. I adore this idiosyncratic feature as it introduces a distinctive deviation from the customary round bezels.
My press loan watch was delivered on a black rubber strap presented on a steel PVD black pin buckle. In addition, an additional strap in genuine black horn-back leather comes as standard with this timepiece. The watch company from Biel-Bienne also offers a coordinating double-fold clasp for a price supplement.
I have witnessed first hand Armin Strom’s prodigious watchmaking talent. The company makes high-quality movements in-house, including this model’s automatic Caliber ADD14, which has an impressive power reserve of five days. Despite the modern aesthetic of the watch, the balance has a frequency of 18,000 vph (2.5Hz), reminiscent of traditional timepieces.
Interestingly, Armin Strom also follows tradition by imbuing its timepieces with fine Swiss watchmaking craftsmanship at the finish of each of its watches. This is readily visible when holding the Gravity Date Earth. Adjacent to the balance, peerless perlage is visible on the mainplate with each circular grained pearl overlapping half its neighboring pearl. The perlage also decorates the balance bridge.
Screws brightly gleam next to circular grained wheels. The gear train bridge is decorated with a hand-engraved motif representing Earth, manifestly showing the adroit skills of the time-served artisans who expertly work with burins and wax while staring through powerful microscopes.
Armin Strom has chosen to provide much space around the balance, revealing much of the escapement at work. The balance is of the screwed variety and the hairspring features a Breguet overcoil, testament to its exacting creation. The escape wheel and pallet lever are constructed of massive gold with hardened functional areas.
I enjoyed wearing the Armin Strom Gravity Date Earth. It is comfortable in use, allows the wearer to readily read the time and proffers a profusion of stylish details.
Placing the watch upon the arm encourages the fortunate custodian of the timepiece to explore each component in macro view. Turning over the watch proves equally compelling, with matchless finishing sumptuously presented.
The chosen colors of the Armin Gravity Date Earth are very attractive. The smatterings of red rubies, silvery-hued components and gold escapement parts add alluring tones to the horological ensemble presented. However, the predominant use of black and white shades augments the appeal of this watch, improving legibility and harmoniously fusing together in spellbinding glory.
Model: Armin Strom Gravity Date Earth
Case: Stainless steel; diameter 43.40 mm; height 13.00 mm; water resistant to 50 meters, sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date display with day/night indication.
Movement: Armin Strom caliber ADD14, self-winding movement; frequency 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz); power reserve five days
Strap: Black horn-back alligator leather strap supplied on a steel PVD pin buckle as well as an additional black rubber strap. A steel PVD double fold clasp is available at additional cost.
Limited Edition: 100 pieces
Photographs by Euan Davies