When we left the Baselworld fair, we left with smiles. For watch geeks, the fair amounts to a proverbial “kid in the candy store” experience, and each turn of a corner is another chance to lose your heart. Choosing a favorite or even group of favorites seems arbitrary because Baselworld is like entering Alvin Toffler’s 1970 novel, Future Shock, in which he describes a future characterized by “information overload.” Chronographs, divers, and tourbillions are everywhere, and after traversing the maze of watch brands, one is left to decipher a cavalcade of information. This collection, however, made a lasting impression: Armin Strom’s Gravity.
Seeing this collection was like love at first sight. Right away, we knew the collection was special, and as we spent more time with the watches, they only rose in our esteem. The Gravity Collection offers a blend of mechanical design and aesthetic presentation in which the two become one. Unlike a type of skeleton watch that offers only a stark transparency, the Gravity teases, and its unveilings create a purposeful dial design. With these watches, the idea is not simply seeing the movement, but seeing the effects of gravity on the movement and presenting this interpretation in four elemental designs: Air, Earth, Water and Fire (in order shown below).
Each of these limited edition pieces (100 for each model), has a signature color and a corresponding movement decoration, elaborating on their elemental theme. The case materials specify the color motif: Gravity Air (Titanium), Gravity Earth (Stainless steel PVD black), Gravity Water (Stainless steel) and Gravity Fire (18ct rose gold). The straps continue the color display. Each watch has a sumptuous alligator horn-back strap, matched to its element’s color, with ardillon buckle of the case material, and an additional theme-colored rubber strap is included. A double fold clasp is optional.
￼The hand-etched bridges are more a sculptured canvas than a movement decoration. Again, each etching translates the elemental themes of nature. Given the brand’s history with skeletonization and engraving, this collection provides continuity with the past while offering a new creative design. The mesmerizing beauty of this mechanical art is a stop-in-your-tracks offering. Technical innovations are progressive, and each year ushers in new achievements, but here you have an inspiration, a combination of engineering and architecture which is at once scientific and beautiful.
Sir Isaac Newton’s Law of Gravity (g = GM/r2) comes to life in these watches. On the dial, the small seconds sits symmetrically to the side, granting a spacious front view of the movement to the right. As gravity spins the rotor, there is a slight peek-a-boo with only the top half of the rotor’s rotation visible. Seeing the rotor from the dial is possible due to a novel concept of transmission for the rotor, which remains smaller in size than the diameter of the going barrel. Atop this multi-level dial sits mirror polished hands, positioned slightly off-center. To accommodate the hands’ positioning, the chapter ring retains its circular shape by also shifting slightly to the left with the company badge filling the gap to the right. Finally, notice the downward lip at the bottom of the 43.4mm case, a visible representation of gravity’s pull. Sir Isaac Newton would be proud.
Armin Strom’s new in-house caliber AMR13 transforms the movement, often hidden from view, into an integral part of telling the time. The lower barrel houses the uni-directional micro-rotor, which winds the mainspring in the upper barrel – both visible on the dial. The accumulated energy provides a generous five days of power reserve. 171 individual parts, 32 jewels, and an 18,000 vph (2.5hz) frequency comprise the AMR13. As you check the time, the laws of physics are plain to see, but by all means, do turn the watch over. There you will find the escapement and the aforementioned hand-engraved, themed decoration.
The Gravity watches’ indelible impression is cause to scrutinize this offering. Of all that Baselworld has to offer, these watches remain as a distinctive memory. Is this a purely subjective reference or does the Gravity collection have a certain je ne sais quoi that sets them apart? Maybe they possess a magic, conjured by the Druids, from the elements of air, earth, water and fire. If so, be careful, you might become trapped by their spell.
Please visit the Armin Strom website for more details.