Independent Swiss watchmaker Armin Strom adds retro-inspired markers to its contemporary Tribute 1 while also enhancing the color options for the manual-wind model’s already distinctive offset dial.
With the new Tribute 1 California, Armin Strom places so-called California markers onto the Tribute 1 dial, which can now also be ordered in a choice of five fumé colors that contrast nicely to the also-new black guilloché dial plate framing the dial.
While the new colors and markers highlight the new series, for many collectors it’s the dial plate itself that stands out here: Much-lauded Finnish watchmaker Kari Voutilainen crafted each of the black guilloché dial plates by hand.
The California dial, distinguished by alternating Roman and Arabic numerals, differs fairly dramatically from the thin stick markers found on earlier Tribute 1 models. Their presence here, in combination with Voutilainen’s traditional guilloche plate, stylistically contrasts with the modernistic exposed and decorated mainspring barrel that dominates the lower section of the 38mm steel watch.
I suspect that this juxtaposition will jar very few contemporary minded Armin Strom collectors.
Armin Strom is offering five different fumé (sunburst-pattern) dials, including versions in blue, light blue, green, burgundy and black. The dials are each set with Armin Strom’s own distinctive hour, minute and seconds hands.
Inside Armin Strom places is own manual-wind manufacture Caliber AMW21 that boasts an incredible 100-hours of power reserve. Armin Strom notes that its watchmakers assemble, disassemble and reassemble each caliber to ensure that each individual part was cleaned, dried, reassembled and lubricated before being regulated, tested and placed back into its steel case.
Finally, Armin Strom adds that its presents each Tribute 1 California watch on a black alligator leather strap with stitching that matches the color of the dial. The Tribute 1 California is available in editions limited to five per color and Armin Strom will make only twenty-five of these new watches in total.
Armin Strom this week introduces Lady Beat, the independent Swiss watchmaker’s first watch designed with feminine customers in mind. And while the new collection aesthetically echoes Armin Strom’s existing Gravity Equal Force collection, with its open-dial three-bridge design, Armin Strom has built an all-new, less-complicated caliber and has placed it within a fairly thin new 38mm case, a first for the brand.
Armin Strom explains that the Lady Beat was designed in concert with female design consultants, who sought to answer the question: “What does a woman desire on her wrist?”
Thus, the new Lady Beat features an off-center dial that displays only a minute and hour hand with no markers except the company logo at 12 o’clock. This contrasts with the classic three-hand display with small seconds found on the Gravity Equal Force.
And, instead of powering the watch with a visible micro rotor (as on the Gravity Equal Force) Armin Strom has developed a full-sized central rotor and placed it on the back of the new Caliber ALA20.
And while the wearer can still eye the movement’s vibrating balance directly on the front of the Lady Beat, Armin Strom has removed the stop-works declutch system and novel ‘equal force’ motor barrel from the new caliber. This allowed Armin Strom to create a caliber for Lady Beat that is thinner than the movement inside the existing Gravity Equal Force.
Also contributing to the Lady Beat’s “soft shapes” design brief, Armin Strom replaced classic lugs in favor of an integrated strap. Circles and semi-circles replaced the earlier design’s angular shapes throughout.
“These soft, moon-like shapes fill the optics of this watch,” explains Armin Strom co-founder Claude Greisler. “Look closely and you will see a half-moon-shaped plate sharing the watch’s lower level with the mechanical elements, while a full moon-shaped subdial sits atop it.”
Conclusion: Armin Strom succeeds on its own terms with its first feminine watch as it avoids the all-too common watch design trap of simply adding gemstones to a smaller version of an existing model.
Armin Strom offers two Lady Beat models. One with a white dial and the other with a black dial.
Price: 16,900 CHF (about $18,600)
Specifications: Armin Strom Lady Beat
Movement: Automatic caliber ALA20, high-quality décor, 25,200 vph, seventy-hours of power reserve.
Case: 38mm by 11.65mm steel, sapphire crystal and case back with anti-reflective treatment. Water-resistance to 30 meters.
Dial: Offset in white or black with hand-finished steel hands.
Strap: Delivered with a bi-material rubber and Alcantara in satin white or black, and double-fold clasp in stainless steel.
At the end of every issue of International Watch, we present a one-page item about a watch with a particularly handsome rear view. It’s a popular feature we’ve published for many years– in print only and within our online full-on digital editions.
If you’re not subscriber to our quarterly print publication, perhaps you haven’t seen this feature. If you haven’t, below we remedy that sad state of affairs with just a few of our more recent BackStory items.
Enjoy the view.
BackStory: Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance
Even from the back of this unusual 59mm x 43.4mm oval titanium case, Armin Strom’s Masterpiece Dual Time Resonance looks like no other wristwatch. While on the front you’d see a dual-time display, a 24-hour dial and two oscillators, from the back the view underscores that four barrels power these movements. As they delightfully unwind simultaneously, they become synchronized.
As a result of this resonance, a physical phenomenon, the watch creates a highly stable timekeeping rate that heightens overall precision. Resonance, a technically difficult (and hard to regulate) technique used by only a few other watchmakers, also means the watch is more efficient and is less prone to shock-inflicted error.
Indeed, Armin Strom say that its own laboratory testing has revealed gains in precision of 15-20% for two COSC chronometer-level regulated movements placed in resonance.
Armin Strom says that its Resonant Clutch Spring (which was initially developed for an earlier watch called the Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance) can take up to ten minutes to synchronize the two systems. To further back its claims regarding the technology, the CSEM (Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique) has officially certified Armin Strom’s resonance system based on the clutch spring as being a true system in resonance.
As is evident in this back view, Armin Strom has underscored its technical proficiency with and equally impressive high level of finish on the Caliber 17 ARF bridges and plates.
The Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance, pictured here with a titanium case, is also available with a rose gold and white gold case. Armin Strom has also introduced the watch cased in a clear sapphire case.
Movement: Armin Strom manufacture calibre ARF17 with manual-winding, frequency of 3.5 Hz (25,200 vph), patented resonance clutch spring, dual off-center time indications, 4 mainspring barrels, two independent regulation systems connected by a resonance clutch spring 419 total components, power reserves: 110 hours for each movement,
Case: 59mm x 43.4mm x 15.9mm grade 5 titanium, sapphire crystal and case back with antireflective treatment, water resistance of 50 meters Price: $169,000 (titanium case) to $268,000 (sapphire case)
BackStory: Greubel Forsey QP à Équation
Not long ago, Greubel Forsey debuted a red gold version of its QP à Équation, an exquisite ultra-complicated timepiece with complete perpetual calendar, tourbillon and equation of time function.
The watch, which was awarded the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève award for the best Calendar in 2017, utilizes a type of ‘mechanical computer’ to manage all the changes in the displays.
This ‘computer,’ which is Greubel Forsey’s seventh ‘invention,’ is an entirely integrated twenty-five-part component composed of a stack of cams with movable fingers that shift the indications on the dial and caseback. The month’s cam changes the month (seen on the front of the dial).
But at the same time, different cams within that stack moves the Equation of Time disc, the year indicator and the seasons indication disc on the back, which is the focus of this issue’s Backstory page.
With it color-coded indicators, the Equation of Time display is the most visible of the back displays. . Essentially, the Equation of Time is the conversion factor between solar and mean time. This still rarely made complication seeks to distinguish the difference between solar time and mean time, which can vary from a few seconds to as much as sixteen minutes during the year
Greubel Forsey’s QP à Équation makes these calculations internally. The watchmaker-led construction team created an easy-to-read, color-coded display of the results on the caseback. The red portion shows when the sun is ahead of the solar mean time while the blue means the sun is behind solar mean time.
On the number scale, you see how many minutes the time is behind or ahead. The other colors show the seasons, the months are indicated using letters and two semi-circles show the equinoxes. An also-rare four-digit indicator displays the year.
And finally, if you’re wondering how all these calculations are made, feel free to watch the ‘mechanical computer’ itself, which is visible directly below a sapphire disc.
Case: 43.5mm by 16mm 5N ‘Rose’ Gold
Movement: 36.4 mm by 9.6mm, 624 parts total w/86 tourbillon cage parts, flat black-polished steel tourbillon bridges, 75 olive-domed jewels in gold chatons, two coaxial series-coupled fast-rotating barrels (1 turn in 3.2 hours), 21’600 vibrations/hour, with a power reserve of 72 hours, Phillips terminal curve, Geneva-style stud, nickel silver main plates, frosted and spotted with polished beveling and countersinks, straight-grained flanks, nickel-palladium treatment, 4 engraved gold plates, one with the individual number, synthetic sapphire mechanical computer bridge.
Armin Strom this week releases a rose gold version of its Gravity Equal Force, an innovative time-only design with an unusual constant-force mechanism.
The watch, which Armin Strom debuted in steel last year, features an in-house movement that takes a cue from high-precision pocket watches of yore. The watch’s ASB19 automatic movement features a motor barrel (where the mainspring resides) that stays locked after the watch is wound, creating a more precise arbor to rotate and drive the gears that move the watch’s hands.
Effectively, the watchmakers at this independent Swiss atelier added a stop-work de-clutch mechanism to the automatic watch, driving consistent power to the balance.
As Armin Strom explains “it is clear that it is a demonstrably better system as it is more precise and stable during operation of the movement. Armin Strom’s watchmakers built on this idea to create an entirely new watch.”
The Gravity Force debuted with a steel case last year as an update to the Armin Strom Resonance Clutch Spring that first demonstrated the brand’s retro-futuristic approach to delivering constant force within its automatic movement.
This newest rose gold-cased version brings along a bit of luxury to what remains a technically focused watch.
When it debuted, the watch’s 41mm case was a new size for the brand. That size remains on this new model, as do the dominant three bridges that echo the vintage pocket watch inspiration behind the movement’s design. Here the bridges are gold, creating a luxurious contrast with the black dial.
The Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force in rose gold is priced at $26,600.
Specifications: Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force, rose gold
Movement: Armin Strom manufacture Caliber ASB19, automatic winding with micro rotor, Geneva-drive equal force barrel, offset display with subdial seconds, balance wheel with 4 regulating screws. Power reserve limited to 72 hours. Frequency: 3.5 Hz (25,200 vph)
Case: 41mm by 12.65mm rose gold, sapphire crystal and caseback with anti-reflective treatment. Water-resistance to 30 meters
Dial: Offset with hours, minutes plus a seconds inner subdial, power reserve indicator subdial, rose gold hands.
Strap: Black alligator leather and 18-karat rose gold ardillon buckle. An 18-karat rose gold double-folding clasp is an option.