Armin Strom Can the Brand Democratise Haute Horlogerie?
The independent watchmaker puts its energies into a new classic watch. Intrigued, WorldTempus takes a trip to Bienne for a closer look
It is a sweltering hot day as my taxi pulls up in front of the Armin Strom headquarters in Bienne, but everything is cool and white inside this small - but fully integrated watch manufacture. It is amazing what this team has produced over its 12-year existence. But one market segment that it hasn’t really addressed is the classic dress watch… that is until now.
“We’re the heirs to a long tradition of manually-wound dress watch design at Armin Strom, but like much of the rest of the market, we had moved away from that,” shared Claude Greisler, Master Watchmaker and Co-Founder of the revitalized Armin Strom. “Over time, this became a source of deep regret for me, and I was ultimately inspired to do something about it.”
Tribute 1 © Armin Strom
This something comes in the form of the Tribute 1, a new collection of contemporary dress watches that will be produced in small capsules of 25 pieces each. The idea was to return to pure haute horlogerie with precision, design, and exquisite finishings.
The Tribute 1 timepieces come in a 38mm stainless steel case with a height of just 9mm. The crown is located at two o’clock as a nod to modern design, but also to ensure wearer comfort.
Tribute 1 © Armin Strom
The devil is in the details, as the saying goes, and a close eye will notice the level of finishing on the offset black gold dial and on the movement. The hand-polishing on the dial-side of each barrel bridge takes over 12 hours to complete, for example. Another nice touch is that the bridge on the dial side is crafted from solid white gold.
On the caseback side, the gear train bridge is beveled and polished at an angle of 60 degrees, a process that is far more complicated than it looks and takes double the time to complete. In terms of decorations, a keen eye will also notice Cotes de Genève, polished jewel sinks, circular graining, and hand-bevelling.
Tribute 1 and its Calibre AMW21 © Armin Strom
The hands have also been hand-polished to the highest level, along with the barrel that delivers 100 hours of power reserve. It is also interesting to note that this highly efficient motor barrel is also unusual as the arbor turns around the mainspring within the barrel itself, making it more efficient, while also conserving space.
The Tribute 1 is part of the brand’s System 78 Collection, whose objective is to create fine watchmaking with impeccable hand-finishing and a number of innovative horological firsts, while maintaining attractive prices. Unfortunately, many watch aficionados are excluded from the world of haute horlogerie due to the particularly high prices. With the Tribute 1, Armin Strom has committed itself to dedicate a portion of its limited production capacity to accessible haute horlogerie timepieces.
Each of the 25 Tribute 1 timepieces comes with an impressive 10-year guarantee (it is usually five years at Armin Strom), and a price tag of just CHF 13,900. When this capsule collection has sold out – which I imagine is already the case at this price – a new and different limited edition will follow suit.
So, clients are not only getting a haute horlogerie timepiece at such a high level of craftsmanship and at an unbeatable price, but they are also getting something strictly limited and rare. I don’t know about you, but that sounds extremely democratic to me!
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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