Coming up with a quirky idea in a mainstream watch brand is unlikely to prosper. However, if you are independent, inventive and have a fully integrated manufacture watchmaker, the sky is the limit. Armin Strom is one of these rare exceptions, and founder Serge Michel and master watchmaker Claude Greisler have tallied 23 in-house calibres to date. Although the brand is renowned for its exposed mechanics on the dial and the integration of resonance in wristwatch format, Armin Strom turned to the straightforward date complication to restage it in a new light. Introduced in March 2022, the Orbit displays the date on the bezel and features an on/off date function. Following the success of the first limited edition, the sporty Armin Strom Orbit Manufacture Edition is back with a black bezel and dial and will become a permanent edition in the System 78 collection.
Date or no date?
Date functions spark debate because they often turn up in awkward places on the dial. Well, one solution is to take the date off the dial, which is what Michel and Greiseler decided to do with the Orbit. Placed on the black ceramic bezel and indicated by a large red letter ‘A’, the date function comes with a surprising twist: you can turn it off or on. The on/off mechanism functions very much like a chronograph and is fitted with a column-wheel command, which in true Armin Strom style was developed in-house and staged dial side. Everything is explained in the video we produced when the first limited edition was released:
By selecting stationary mode, the red date hand is off and remains in a static position at noon. However, the pusher on the left side of the case engages the hand, which instantaneously jumps to the correct date on the engraved bezel and then advances one day at midnight. Another push of the button and the hand jumps back to noon. To avoid any confusion with the neutral date position, the retrograde date mechanism lets the hand jump back from 31 to 1. If the watch hasn’t been worn for some time, the date can be set using a rapid corrector button on the case side at 8 o’clock or manually via the crown.
Gravity Equal Force
The Armin Strom Orbit is based on the movement of Armin Strom’s Gravity Equal Force that provides consistent power delivery to the regulating organ for superior chronometric performance. As the world’s first automatic movement with equal force transmission, the in-house calibre ASS20 delivers a smooth and consistent flow of energy to the balance. Using a centuries-old watchmaking principle known as a stop-work mechanism (upgraded), it provides constant torque from the barrel by preventing the mainspring from fully unwinding.
As with almost all of the brand’s models, the action of the Armin Strom Orbit is dial side and staged with contemporary flair. The off-centred hours, minutes and small seconds on a sub-dial are placed on a black dial on the left side of the dial, freeing up the rest of the dial for the mechanics.
The three straight bridges on the left side are silvery in colour to contrast with the black bezel and dial. Underscoring the sportier nature of this watch, the numerals, hour markers and hour and minute hands are treated with off-white Super-LumiNova. As a testament to the brand’s autonomy, even the steel hour and minute hands are made in-house. Other refined hand-finishings include chamfered and polished edges on the rhodium-plated bridges, polished chatons and perlage on the main plate.
Designed for everyday wear, the solid 43.4mm x 12.6mm stainless steel case has a slim, integrated bracelet, both finished with alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces.
Availability & Price
The Armin Strom Orbit Manufacture Edition is not a limited edition and will become a permanent member of the System 78 collection. However, the brand states that “it will be produced in limited quantities“. The retail price is CHF 29,500, EUR 31,300, GBP 26,500 or USD 29,500.
For more information, please visit arminstrom.com.