Armin Strom Armin Strom presents 180 new models at Baselworld 2017
The small brand from Bienne offers a novel approach to buying a watch.
It has been familiar to car buyers for a number of years, in some cases even going as far as replacing the bricks and motor showroom for car makers. But it is only now starting to gain traction in the watch industry. What is it? It’s the “configurator”. Basically it’s an application that allows you to choose the individual components of your watch. The reason that it has not caught on earlier is that many watch brands do not have full control over the components that they use in their watches and cannot therefore offer such a choice. But with the increasing possibilities of watch customisation, such applications are becoming more widespread.
Such a configurator is what allows Armin Strom to boast, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that it is presenting 180 new models at Baselworld this year. Since the brand’s annual production is barely more than a couple of thousand watches, the figure seems staggering. But it is also virtual. The fact that Armin Strom can offer this service at all is thanks to its extremely high level of vertical integration. Around 95% of the components in an Armin Strom watch are produced internally at the company’s workshop in Bienne, Switzerland.
It all starts with the movement, which buyers can choose from the range of the brand’s existing mechanical calibres. But since Armin Strom also has its own in-house galvanising department, it can also offer a choice of colours, finishes and engravings for the movements, or just for individual components. The buyer can then complete his or her watch with their own choice of case material, the style and colour of the dial and hands, the clasp and even the colour of the stitching on the strap. The price is constantly adapted on screen as the different options are chosen, even though the watches bought via the configurator are no more expensive than the brand’s series production models.
Such systems call into question the relationship between the brand, its retail network and the customer, however, since the configurator effectively bypasses the in-store retail experience. The customer can even choose to pick up their watch directly from the workshop in Bienne, with a free tour of the factory thrown in. But Armin Strom stresses that its Watch Configurator will also be an indispensable tool for its authorised dealers to assist customers with their choice of a watch.
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.Find out more
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