Recently, at Baselworld 2017, Armin Strom surprised the world of collectors (and certainly some of the industry participants…) by launching something that, besides being ultra-cool, felt like a natural development, and anticipative of upcoming changes in customers behavior. What they created is an online configurator, in order to imagine, choose, create and order your watch just like you want it. There’s not a single element which can’t be personalized, making sure that your future watch represents exactly your own wishes and personality. Today, we go one step further by playing with one Armin Strom watch that has been entirely configured, to illustrate just how far you can actually go.
As a reminder, we invite you take a look at this video, which perfectly explains the concept behind the Armin Strom Watch Configurator, and what are the possibilities offered to create your own, personalized timepiece:
As you’ve seen, the idea is that not a single owner should have the same watch as another. Potentially, you can, for no additional fees, create a watch that is unique to you and finished to your personal tastes. Today’s collectors are acting differently than in the 1990s: they don’t want to open the doors of cold and posh boutiques, where a commercial person with low knowledge about the brand, about the mechanics inside the watch, or even about watchmaking, shows them watches that hundreds of other collectors could buy. They want to have a direct access to the brand, they want to be treated as passionate people, and they want to have objects that reflect their preferences and style. And this is exactly what this Armin Strom Watch Configurator is made for: creating watches that are as close as possible to the client’s expectations.
The Armin Strom Watch Configurator
What can you actually do with this online configurator? Well, everything starts with the choice of movement, from a simple time-only hand-wound, to a micro-rotor automatic, to a date and power reserve, then moving on to Armin Strom’s specialty, the skeleton watches: the Edge, the Skeleton Pure and the Skeleton Pure Tourbillon. The configurator covers all the watches from the brand, from CHF 9,000 to CHF 85,000. Once you’ve decided which model suits your requirements and budget, it’s time to decide what to choose for the design of your future timepiece.
Depending on the models, you will have access to these personalization options (some watches won’t have choices for the wheels – for instance those without skeleton movement.
- Case shape – Several options are possible, including the standard and quite subtle 43mm case in steel, steel and PVD, gold and PVD or full black PVD, a more muscular case, in titanium or rose gold and finally the bold and larger case of the Edge (with brushed and notched bezel), in both black PVD or rose gold. Whatever the movement you choose, you have access to cases that were not meant to come along at first… Thus, you can have the entry-level hand-wound movement with the Rose gold edge case, or the Skeleton Tourbillon movement, with a simple and smaller steel case.
- Case material – options include stainless steel, stainless steel with black pad horns, titanium, black PVD stainless steel, Rose gold, Rose gold with Black PVD horns, White gold
- Dial – the hour chapter ring can be customized, with a choice of color or material (plain or sapphire), the choice of indexes and the color of the logo
- Hands – hands can be selected in rhodium plated or rose gold plated options
- Movement’s main-plate – you can choose the coating of the main plate (rhodium, ruthenium, black, blue, violet, brown, light blue)
- Bridges – on skeletonized watches, the bridges on the dial side can also be selected in several colors (rhodium, ruthenium, black, blue, violet, brown, light blue)
- Shape of the wheels – 6 rounded spokes or 5 double “rim-like” spokes
- Color of the gear-train and barrel – you can choose the coating on the barrel and the gear train (rhodium, yellow gold, rose gold)
- Initials – as always with Armin Strom Watches, you can have your initials engraved on the “lip” at 6
- Strap color
- Strap stitchings
It is actually an entire process (that you can try here, and play with just for the fun of it), which allows to create all sorts of watches, with monochromatic, colorful or rather weird options (once again, it will reflect each personality, and who are we to judge if a gold watch with purple bridges and brown main-plate is a good option or not…) The idea is let collectors decide what is nice or suitable for them.
An example of configured Armin Strom Watch
To understand a bit more, we asked Armin Strom to have a watch designed especially for the sake of this article, just to show you as far you can go – and also because this watch kind of represents what we like at Monochrome… Ok so what did we do here:
- Movement – we chose to go for the Skeleton Pure movement, a calibre that has 8 days of power reserve, thanks to two barrels (with a power reserve indicator in the small second counter), and mainly that speaks to us here, as it is fully opened to reveal all the technical features of the watch, and which is finished thoroughly with hand-polished bevels on the bridges, on the wheels, with nice graining decoration on flat surfaces, with internal angles on the back… Everything that true connoisseurs will cherish.
- Case – combined with this Skeleton Pure movement is a case that usually doesn’t have this movement. Indeed, you can pair a movement supposed to be for watch X with a case that is supposed to fit movement Y. Everything is possible. So we went for the bold Edge case, meaning a 46.8mm case, extremely large of course but that is actually more comfortable and probably more compact than the normal 43mm case (lugs are extremely short). Usually we prefer small cases, but in this case, the notched bezel and more angular shape simply feels even more pleasant with the fully opened movement.
- Dial – Just to give an even clearer view on the mechanics, we decided to have a sapphire hour chapter ring, with white minute track, black applied indexes and orange logo, just to add a tiny bit of color to the watch (and as our founder Frank is Dutch, he loves orange…)
- Hands – to keep it simple and rather monochrome (pun intended), hands are standard rhodium coated ones, with white luminous paint
Now, we move on to the technical parts, which as the rest of the watch, can be customized to your own desires.
- Main plate – to make sure all the gears and wheels are well contrasted within this opened dial, we’ve decided to keep things relatively discreet here, by having an almost invisible main-plate, coated in matte black. This way, it doesn’t interfere with the already busy style of the movement.
- Bridges on the front – Again, to keep things slightly understated, we chose the bridges on top of the movement to be ruthenium coated (meaning dark grey), a color that also offers nice reflections on the polished bevels.
- Shape of the Wheels – The choice here is between rounded 6-spoke wheels or razor-sharp wheels with double-spokes. We chose the first option, which better fits with the round layout of the movement – and the bevels on the spokes here are just pure pleasure to look at.
- Gear-train and barrel – Here again, we kept it discreet, with a choice of rhodium plated parts (rose gold or yellow plated is also possible)
- Bridges on the movement side: The back of our configured Armin Strom watch reveals a monochromatic look too, with rhodium plated parts, which contrast with the matte black coating on the main-plate.
- Strap / Stitchings / Buckle: here, no surprises, we went for a discreet black alligator strap with white stitchings and a black PVD coated pin-buckle.
If you were thinking that the Armin Strom Watch Configurator was something of a novelty or with quite limited potential, this demonstration with a watch that was configured on request might remove doubts. Once again, you can properly create a unique watch, with all the required options as well as some that you actually didn’t think about. The beauty is that this customized watch is not linked to a complex approbation process, or doesn’t require multiple travels to the manufacture. You can do it from home, or at a retailer, simply on your computer or iPad, and simply click on “order” once you’re done.
This is actually possible with fully integrated manufactures, such as Armin Strom, as they control the development, design, production, finishing and assembly of the watches almost 100% internally. Few manufactures or brands, even large ones, could offer such a personalization level, without requiring a complete change in their logistic policy. Armin Strom, as being relatively small, managed to do it simply, and cleverly.
The best and final uppercut comes from the fact that a configured watch will work out at the same price as a standard watch (understand here a watch of the regular production). So why should we do without…? The pleasure of having a unique, fully configured watch is so rare these days. More details on Armin Strom website, here.