Today we bring glad tidings to women who appreciate mechanical watches with a certain dose of complexity. Armin Strom, the independent Swiss brand renowned for its revolutionary use of resonance, is releasing Lady Beat, a watch designed by women for women. Unlike many men’s watches that stray into female territory with smaller case sizes and a sprinkling of diamonds, Lady Beat has been designed from head to toe by an external team of female design consultants. With a similar dial layout to the Gravity Equal Force, the mechanics take centre stage in a watch that will appeal to women who enjoy the spectacle of fine mechanical movements.
You could say that Mr Armin Strom, the founder of the brand, put skeletonising on the map years before it became fashionable among mainstream brands. In 1990, he earned a Guinness World Record for creating the world’s smallest hand-skeletonised watch for women. In the hands of Serge Michel and watchmaker Claude Greisler since 2006, Armin Strom has developed into a fully integrated manufacture and presented its first in-house calibre, the ARM09 with a 7-day power reserve in 2009. We visited the manufacture in 2016 and produced this video to offer our readers an insider’s view. Additional in-house calibres followed, but perhaps the technical revolution that generated the most excitement is the Mirror Force Resonance with resonating dual regulators for maximum precision.
The brand’s System 78 Collection (referring to the year in which both Greisler and Michel were born) is intended to be the entry point for Armin Strom, offering complications at a reasonable price. The Gravity Equal Force model, launched at the end of 2019 as the inaugural piece of the System 78 family, encapsulates the brand’s codes of distinctive design and horological innovation. Motivated by the quest to transmit equal force to the balance to increase the rate consistency, Armin Strom developed an ingenious stop-works declutch system that limits the torque delivered to the balance to ensure a smooth, consistent delivery of power. With its off-centred dial and three parallel bridges, the Gravity Equal Force is the design muse behind Lady Beat.
A Feminine case
Placing the Gravity Equal Force and Lady Beat side by side, you can appreciate the similarities in design with the off-centred hours and minutes dial on the left and the three openworked bridges on the right. However, a closer inspection of the components under the bridges reveals two very different movements. Lady Beat is a straightforward automatic while the Gravity Equal Force is a far more complex beast. Nevertheless, the fact that parts of the movement are exposed on the dial will certainly appeal to women who enjoy mechanical watches.
The case is crafted from stainless steel and measures 38mm in diameter with a height of 11.65mm, a watch with presence and plenty of viewing room. The designers settled for a slightly oval-shaped middle case with a round bezel on top, a highly feminine shape that looks great on the wrist. The onion crown with its domed profile adds a dash of femininity to the watch, and the fact that the white satin strap is integrated into the oval middle case (no lugs) adds a pleasant streamlined sensation.
Yin and Yang
There is something very yin and yang about this dial, starting with the white area on the left side of the dial complemented by the darker area on the right. The crescent-shape bridge on the left is surmounted by a round disc for the hours and minutes. Both are finished with an intriguing and eye-catching pattern of pleats that add a great deal of volume to the otherwise minimalist treatment of the time.
The right side of the dial features a granular sandblasted grey background providing the necessary contrast to highlight the mechanical components and the three openworked bridges. In order of appearance: the uppermost bridge holds the balance wheel in place; the middle bridge reveals part of the crown’s stem and gear train; while the lowest and longest of the three bridges secures the barrel. The handmade finishes, including the steel hands, are superlative with horizontal brushing on the bridges and polished bevels. The only touches of colour on the elegant grey and white dial are the bright pink rubies in the bridges.
The new Calibre ALA20
The reverse side of the watch reveals the in-house automatic movement with its large central rotor. A similar pleated pattern to the one featured on the dial appears again on the dark grey (ruthenium-coated) rotor. Like the dial, the finishings are top-quality and the bridge displays circular Côtes de Genève and polished bevels. Beating at a frequency of 3.5Hz – an unusual rate, but fairly standard at Armin Strom – the movement can store up to 70 hours of power reserve.
Availability and price
Lady Beat is also available with a black dial. Both models are fitted with a rubber and Alcantara strap that imitates the texture of satin. The price of the watch is CHF 16,900.
More information at arminstrom.com.