Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

The Armin Strom Tribute 1 with California Dials

Armin Strom’s contemporary interpretation of the dress watch gets a California-style dial and a vibrant splash of colour.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 4 min read |
Armin Strom Tribute One California Limited Editions

The Armin Strom Tribute 1 is the indie watchmaker’s contemporary interpretation of a dress watch and appeared in the System 78 collection earlier this year. The Tribute 1 is a refreshing approach to the dress watch with compact proportions, a new, thin in-house calibre, a modern, minimalist look and exceptional hand-finishings. First released in steel with a grey dial in June 2021, two months later, it reappeared with blue and black dials. Today, the brand releases a series of five renditions, the Armin Strom Tribute 1 California, with alternating Roman and Arabic numerals, colourful fumé dials and a black hand-guilloché plate made by Kari Voutilainen.

Armin Strom, the watchmaker, was renowned for his impressive, highly intricate hand-skeletonised watches. When he retired in 2006, the brand came into the hands of a duo of childhood friends, master watchmaker Claude Greisler and businessman Serge Michel. By 2009, Armin Strom had a fully integrated manufacture in Biel/Bienne and released its first in-house calibre ARM09. Since then, Armin Strom has produced extremely complex watches with a bold, unmistakable modern design ethos that exposes most of the movement on the dial. Less complex than the Mirrored Force Resonance or the Minute Repeater Resonance, the System 78 collection was conceived with a mission to offer Haute Horlogerie watches to a broader public with more restrained prices. The collection was inaugurated with the Gravity Equal Force and is now home to the Tribute 1 and the Lady Beat.

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Good Vibrations

California dials first appeared in the 1930s and are essentially a combination of Roman numerals in the top half of the dial (from X to II) and Arabic numerals in the bottom (from 4 to 8 o’clock) with an inverted triangle marker at 12 and simple markers at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. Often associated with Panerai’s Radiomir dive watch for commandos in the Italian Navy in the mid-1930s (made in conjunction with Rolex, which patented the design in the 1940s), California dials are not that prevalent today.

Armin Strom Tribute One California Limited Editions

New Gradient Colours

The signature off-centred hours and minutes dial is now available in five colours and limited to five pieces in each tone. The palette of the Armin Strom Tribute 1 California expands to offer dark blue, light blue, green, burgundy and grey dials with a gradient effect. Also known as fumé dials, the colour is lighter in the centre and becomes deeper and darker as it reaches the perimeter. The indices and the railroad seconds/minutes track are picked out in white, and the openworked hands are manufactured by Armin Strom in steel and finished by hand. The eye-catching black guilloché background on the dial was created by hand by Finnish watchmaker Kari Voutilainen at his Comblémine dial manufacture.

Armin Strom Tribute One California Limited Editions

To match the colour of the dials, the black alligator straps feature colourful stitching in green, light blue, dark blue, burgundy and dark grey and are closed with a double folding clasp in steel.

The prominent barrel that intersects the hours and minutes dial is the salient mechanical feature of this model. Suspended by a single openworked finger bridge, the barrel is meticulously decorated by hand and engraved with the words “100 hours of power reserve” in relief. Given the configuration of Armin Strom’s Tribute 1, with its exposed barrel in the lower half of the dial, there are no Arabic numerals at 4 and 5 o’clock.

Perfect size

The Armin Strom Tribute 1 California comes in a compact 38mm case with a height of 9.83mm, perfect proportions for a dress watch. The steel case displays alternating brushed and polished surfaces and stands out from the crowd with its crown at 2 o’clock and distinctive straight, angular lugs. The signature ‘lip’ found at 6 o’clock on Armin Strom watches is also present in a smaller and more discreet manner.

Calibre AMW21

Armin Strom’s newly developed manual-winding calibre was designed with compactness and power in mind. Measuring 33.50mm x 4.20mm, the ultra-slim movement has a motor barrel with an arbour turning around the mainspring inside the barrel to save space and increase efficiency. The watch delivers a robust 100-hour power reserve and the variable inertia balance wheel, also held in place by a finger bridge, beats at a 3.5Hz frequency. Like all Armin Strom watches, the movement has been assembled twice.

Armin Strom Tribute One California Limited Editions

The finishings are in line with the rest of the watch: traditionally executed but modern. The three-quarter plate has thick Côtes de Genève with polished bevels; the mainplate displays circular graining; the countersinks are polished, and the inscriptions (like the ones on the barrel on the dial) are engraved in positive relief against a matte surface and read “1 out of 5”.

Availability and Price

The Armin Strom Tribute 1 California is limited to five pieces in each colour and will be available in December 2021 for CHF 17,900, EUR 16,500 or USD 19,000.

For more information, please visit Armin Strom’s website.

3 responses

  1. Strom, you’ve hit it out the park. The dark blue one is calling to me…

  2. Hey Gav,
    Thank you for your feedback! Glad to read that you like it. Please let me know if you require any further information. Happy to assist 🙂 Best regards, Olivier


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