You have seen quite a few watches since you started collecting and you appreciate the craftsmanship required to produce reliable movements. You may be an owner of A. Lange & Söhne watches or watches from other high-quality brands, and you’re looking for something different without compromising on uniqueness and/or quality. If so, the Armin Strom Edge might just be the watch for you. Our team immediately fell in love with it, when the watch arrived.
The Armin Strom Edge Double Barrel was introduced at Baselworld 2016 and shortly after we were fortunate to get the watch for a more in-depth review. Personally I appreciate functionality, perfection and understatement in watches. So why do I like the Armin Strom so much? It is not exactly a watch which can be qualified as “understated”. Pictures did not stir an emotion either. Yes, I was impressed but I did not have an emotional connection. That changed when I saw the watch in the flesh, felt it, looked at it and wore it, and felt sad when it had to be returned after a few weeks.
Armin Strom: some background information
For those who have not had the time yet to see our video report about the company, herewith a synopsis: Armin Strom was founded by Armin Strom, born in 1938. He opened his first business in 1967 in Burgdorf, Switzerland, and soon he started creating his own timepieces, in a workshop behind the salesroom. Armin Strom’s hallmark of creating skeletonized watches emerged in 1983, and several years later, to be precise in 1991, the Guinness Book of Records reported about the “smallest hand-skeletonized watch”. In 2006 the company Armin Strom was incorporated, thus laying the foundation for further growth and investments. In 2008, owner Serge Michel and director Claude Greisler decided to develop their own in-house movement and in 2009, the new manufacture was inaugurated, in order to build the new Calibre ARM09. This was the real starting point of the actual Armin Strom collection, which now relies mainly on modern skeletonized (or better: open-worked) watches, with high-end finishing and in-house movements. The excellence in product design is illustrated by the Red Dot award that was awarded in 2015 to the Skeleton Pure Water.
Case and Dial of the Armin Strom Edge Double Barrel
The design is functional yet bold. It combines the finesse of skeletonized watches with the robustness of sports watches. When you look at the watch from a bird’s eye view, you notice various circles: the bezel, hours/minutes embraced with what seems a waxing-crescent-moon in metal-color that seems to nurture time, the hours/minutes dial, and three smaller symmetrically positioned circles, one being the sub-dial with seconds and power-reserve and two being barrels. The gear in the off-centered middle seems to connect barrels and sub-dial. At first sight one may say “the dial isn’t round but eccentric” but in reality it isn’t. Depending on how you look, the large hands are in the middle… or not given the view. The grey colour variations and patterns match well and the silvery white hour markers are clearly legible. The power reserve indicator in bright red makes it clearly distinguishable from the second hand.
The shape of the case and lugs as well as the cutouts in the bezel gives the watch an industrial look. The black PVD coating of the steel case contributes to this look as well. The crown is “embedded” in what seems like a two-story building. That also seems to add a “layer” when you look at the right side of the watch. A wonderful design job. What about the size? The case measures 46.80mm and is 13.20mm thick. Large but it is still comfortable on the wrist.
Movement Calibre AMR16
When the watch is on your wrist, the in-house manufactured movement reveals some character to you but it shows its full glorious beauty when you turn the watch. In our Baselworld report we already mentioned the newly designed elements and finishes: spoked wheels, bolder-shaped bridges and cross-grinding finishing. The latter gives the watch a surprising new look when compared to the usual symmetrical and classical finishing of movements.
Much attention has been paid to the finishing. It is a difficult job that has been executed superbly: polished sides of the bridges and wheel spokes, polished jewel and screw holders, brushed wheels and gears. The only thing that may raise your eyebrows is the finishing of the balance bridge, which is pèrlage (or circulair graining in English) and does not quite match, or fit in with, the finishing of other parts. Something you may like or dislike.
We also admire the watch from a design perspective. For example, look at the positioning of the jewels. With some fantasy, you see an antenna or an Eiffel tower, depending on how you look. The asymmetry continues in the movement: off-centered jewels for the hour and minute hand pinion, heptagon-shaped holes for the barrels and dome-shaped holes for the power-reserve indicator and escapement, differences in angles between the for barrel bridges versus those of power reserve indicator and balance wheel. All in all a unique, industrial-looking and beautifully finished movement.
Strap and Clasp
The strap is made of black alligator leather. Its thickness matches the size of the watch. Rather than being artificially thickened, the leather feels sturdy yet soft. The white stitching gives a nice touch. This is clearly one of the best straps we have seen. The watch comes with an ardillon buckle in stainless steel with a PVD black coating or a double-folding clasp in black PVD stainless steel.
Despite its size, the watch is a real pleasure to wear and use. Winding is smooth. Seeing the barrels rotate while winding is fantastic. The clasp works well. The watch sits very well on the wrist. It does not feel like a 46mm watch at all. The only thing to nitpick about is that it is sometimes difficult to know when the crown is in the time adjustment position or in the winding position.
It is always a pleasure to look for the uniqueness and character in a watch. Sometimes that is easy. Sometimes it is a bit more difficult. In this case, it was ever so easy. The Armin Strom Edge Double Barrel is sporty, beautifully crafted, and modern. A great watch during leisure time for forward-looking, energetic people who strive for excellence without showing off. Or for those who just like these type of watches.
Specifications Armin Strom Edge Double Barrel
- Case: steel with black PVD coating, diameter 46.80mm, height 13.20mm, sapphire crystal and case-back with antireflective treatment, water resistant to 50m
- Dial: black with white/solver indices and numerals, off-center time indication of hours and minutes, small seconds, power reserve indicator, stainless steel 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: Black alligator leather strap with steel black PVD-coated ardillon buckle or double-folding clasp, also in stainless steel PVD black (option).
- Price: 26,900 Swiss Francs
The Armin Strom Edge Double Barrel is a Limited Edition of 100 pieces. More information can be found at the Armin Strom website here.