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Armin Strom - From the man to the brand

Armin Strom From the man to the brand

A short explanation of how a master watchmaker specializing in skeleton watches gave his name to a rising independent watch brand.

Mr. Armin Strom studied watchmaking and set up his own store in his native town of Burgdorf in 1967. In parallel with the normal activity of a small watch shop, he also offered a restoration service and gradually developed a particular knack for the art of hand skeletonizing, long before it became fashionable among the mainstream brands. The first watches bearing the Armin Strom name were presented in 1984 at what was then still called the Basel Watch Fair. His desire to push the limits of his skills earned him a Guinness World Record in 1990 after he created the world’s smallest hand-skeletonised watch for ladies. He also caught the attention of Switzerland’s bigger watch brands, who discreetly started turning to him to skeletonize small series of their own watches.

From the man to the brand

Guinness World Record in 1990

 When Armin Strom was looking for someone to take over the company, Serge Michel, a watch collector and friend of the family, jumped at the chance, bringing his childhood friend and watchmaker Claude Greisler on board with him. With memories of the man of mystery who would head off in his exotic Jaguar E-Type to deliver watches to his customers personally, Serge and Claude drew up ambitious plans to uphold the Armin Strom legacy of skeletonizing and fine watchmaking and at the same time develop the brand into a fully-fledged “manufacture” in the true sense of the word, the young team producing the majority of their movement components in-house. Armin Strom started the production of its own mainplates, bridges, levers, springs, wheels, pinions and screws in 2008 and one year later presented its first in-house calibre, the ARM09 with 8-day power reserve. This established the brand’s credentials as a “manufacture”, which Armin Strom has constantly developed ever since, achieving a level of vertical integration that is now measured quite precisely at 97%.

From the man to the brand

The world’s smallest hand-skeletonised watch for ladies by Armin Strom

 Other in-house calibres followed, such as the AMW11 in 2011 and soon after the ATC11 tourbillon movement, with an impressive 10 days of power reserve. The brand’s biggest breakthrough came in 2017, however, when it presented the Mirrored Force Resonance to the world. For the first time in a watch, two separate oscillators (the balance spring assembly) were connected by a resonance clutch spring that brought two separate seconds hands into perfect synchronicity once the oscillators achieved resonance because of their proximity to each other. It was the culmination of two and a half years of development for Claude Greisler and his team and another step along the path towards ever greater precision for Armin Strom watches.

From the man to the brand

Mirrored Force Resonance 2017 © Armin Strom

 Although it is a small brand with a small team, Armin Strom likes to flaunt the luxury of its independence. Its in-house movements are the most evident example of this, but watch connoisseurs will appreciate the more subtle manifestations, such as the configurator that allows them to customize individual elements of their timepiece, including the colour for the coating on movement components, and the slightly off-centre location of the hour and minute hands, which is only possible when a brand has full control of its own design and manufacturing.

The brand

The ARMIN STROM manufacture expresses the very substance of its founder’s legacy. Its guiding principle is that of reinterpreting watchmaking tradition. To this end, it applies the principle of making movements visible and decorating them at every stage of their design and production.

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