Recently, our contributor Peter took an in-depth look (to say the least) at a watch, and he immediately loved it. Presented at Baselworld 2016, and later reviewed by us, the Armin Strom Edge Double Barrel, in its first execution (in black PVD-coated steel) was a robust sports watch combined with a real, technical and impressive haute horlogerie movement – as usual for the brand, with a high degree of skeletonization and of decoration. Later in the year, the brand introduced a rose gold version, and today we’re taking a closer look. You’ll be surprised how a change of material can transform a watch…
The Armin Strom Edge Double Barrel represents the new generation of watches created by the manufacture Armin Strom. Besides the clear evolution of the concept, compared to previous models, such as the Skeleton Pure or the Gravity collection, this novelty keeps all the attributes that made the brand successful and recognizable amongst the numerous independent watchmakers. What does it mean? Well, the Armin Strom has the same features as other models from the brand: a large case, rather massive and highly masculine, an overall rather sporty look, a thick strap (it’s more important than what you think, as it does greatly participate to the final look of this watch), the signature lip at 6 (which can serve for personalization), a long power-revere movement, manually wound, partially skeletonized and with the typical architecture of the brand – slightly off centered display of the time, sub-dial at 9, double barrel and gear train on the right side of the dial. Overall, the codes are kept with the Armin Strom Edge, yet the evolution is more profound than what this description let you think.
First of all, the Armin Strom Edge Double Barrel introduces a brand new case, which at first scared us. Indeed, at 43.4mm, the previous watches of this manufacture were not what can be called small. They were in fact rather massive. So when the Edge came, with its 46.8mm case, imagine our reaction. Well, we were completely wrong. If the central container is indeed larger in diameter, this watch does feel smaller on the wrist, more comfortable, even if the visual presence is of course more important. Still, it is simply more pleasant to wear, even for small wrists. A great improvement, not expected, however a sign of a well-thought conception. Then, the style also evolved. While previous watches were almost only featuring curves, both for the case, the dial or the parts of the movement, the Edge (as you could guess by its name) is now more edgy, more architectural, more technical, thanks to straight lines.
For instance, the bezel is notched and brushed, something that virtually makes it more blended in the overall case and dial combination, less visible than before if you will. In the same vein, the movement and the dial are less curved than before. Of course, wheels are wheels and thus, are round. Still, their arms are now straighter and the bridges that are visible on the front side are more edgy. Same goes for the numerals on the dial, for the fonts, for the hands, etc… Overall, its rather impressive to see how this watch evolved compared to the previous creations of Armin Strom, yet without changing drastically the recipe.
When introduced, this watch was offered only in a stainless case with a black PVD coating, a black strap and silver accents on the dial and the movement. A cold and masculine combination that was clearly setting this watch in the sports category. Later, as reported here, the brand introduced the rose gold version. What changes? First the material of the case (18k rose gold). Then, the strap is now dark brown. Finally, the indexes and the hands are matching the case. No drastic changes you’ll admit. Still, if you look at the photos of the PVD version and then compare to this gold edition of the Armin Strom Edge Double Barrel, there is a great difference in the style. I clearly see two distinct watches. One is somber, deep and ultra-technical. The other is warm, rich and dressier. Two tastes for two types of collectors.
In terms of mechanical content, no changes. We find back that technical movement, with 8-day power reverse thanks to two barrels, a display of the time with slightly off-centered hands, a combination of small second and power reserve indication at 9 and a view on the going train and the barrels through the opened dial. The finishing of the movement is impressive: polished sides of the bridges and wheel spokes, polished jewel and screw holders, brushed wheels and gears. The back reveals a very nice view, with beautifully designed and decorated bridges. The most surprising feature is the cross-grinding decoration applied on the parts, a sort of random brushing that gives the watch an almost industrial look. Pleasant, unusual and harder to achieve than classical Geneva stripes.
Overall, the Armin Strom Edge Double Barrel in Rose Gold is, like its black PVD sibling, an impressive, pleasant and perfectly executed piece of independent watchmaking. The style is impressively different in this gold version, which feels both dressier and somehow easier to the wrist. The movement and the execution remains a pleasure, as always with Armin Strom. Price: 39,900 Swiss Francs (retail). arminstrom.com.
Specifications of the Armin Strom Edge Double Barrel
- Case: 18k rose gold, diameter 46.80mm, height 13.20mm, sapphire crystal and case-back with antireflective treatment, water resistant to 50m
- Dial: black with golden indices and numerals, off-center time indication of hours and minutes, small seconds, power reserve indicator, rose gold hands
- Movement: ARM16, manual-winding, 8 days power reserve, double barrel, 194 parts, 34 jewels, plates and bridges with cross-grinding decoration, Escape wheel and pallets made of massive gold with hardened functional areas, screwed balance with Breguet overcoil, frequency 18,000 A/h; diameter 236.60mm, height 7.70mm
- Strap: brown alligator leather strap with rose gold ardillon buckle or double-folding clasp (option)