This article has been written by Roberta Naas, founder of watch-magazine A Timely Perspective. Roberta is also the author of six books on watches.
Earlier this year, when Armin Strom presented its “Watch Configurator” to the world, the brand was a leader in the concept. Select your component colours, select the case and colours, select the strap and stitching, so on and so forth until you have a “uniquely yours “watch… not something the luxury watch world is too familiar with. So, when I decided I wanted to wear and review an Armin Strom watch, I knew I wanted something with some amount of configuration to it. The solution is a bold yet beautiful and powerful statement for women: Armin Strom’s Cameleon Manual Watch.
Let me start by saying that from the minute the watch arrived at my doorstep and I opened the package, I was in love with the look. The watch is a manual timepiece with beautiful finishing and a multi-layer dial with main-plate and a portion of the gears and wheels on full display. That multi-layer dial also gives the watch depth and dimension that you don’t get on a classic watch.
The hour and minute ring are slightly off-centered, allowing for the Armin Strom logo to run vertically from 2:00 to 4:00, on a special plate screwed into the movement. The hour and minute ring, as well as the smaller subsidiary seconds dial at 9, are all in white. Configured for me: the stunning light blue colour of the main-plate, certain movement parts visible on the dial side and reverse side of the watch, and the dark blue alligator strap with white stitching.
Did I say I was in love? The blue is exactly the colour of dark aquamarine – not only my favourite gemstone but also my birthstone. Now, some women may say the watch is a bit too large for them at 43.4mm, but I thought it sat perfectly on my wrist. Apparently, others liked it, as well. On the security check at the airport, it caught the attention of several people. Likewise, at a business meeting, I was actually asked to take it off and hand it over to a top-level female real estate specialist – who was enthralled. Yes, the watch came off my wrist a lot to show it around, but that was fine because the double-folding clasp made it super easy to take on and off.
I have been a fan of Armin Strom for years now. This independent brand was founded in 1967 by Mr Armin Strom, a restorer of watches, and a watchmaker who specialized in skeleton watches. His concept of “showing” what he made has been the guiding principle of the brand, and today’s owners and leaders continue that philosophy. Hence, the multi-dimensional dial and the transparent sapphire caseback that allow for viewing of the movement’s parts. Armin Strom naturally coasts that sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides so glare does not impede the readability of the time or the beauty of the dial.
The brand also creates its timepieces in series that recall the key elements: Earth (black PVD cases), Air (titanium), Water (steel), Fire (18-karat rose gold). The Armin Strom Manual Cameleon watch I borrowed was the Air – and the satin-finished titanium case was so lightweight that it seemed almost “not there” when on my wrist. Except that every time I glanced at it – it stared back at me – a statement of elegance, craftsmanship and powerful allure. Yep, it was there.
The luminescent hands made for easy time reading in the dark, and – even though I didn’t take it in the water – it is water resistant to 50 meters. Powered by the 112-part in-house made manual wind AMW11 caliber, the watch has a healthy five days of power reserve. As such, I didn’t need to wind it very often, which is too bad because I loved winding that watch.
Women, you may say this is a man’s watch but with the configurator, you can make this watch (or any of the Armin Strom watches) exactly the way you want it to look: purple, pink, green or rainbow colored. Additionally, it has such a presence, you may not want to take it off, especially given the very decent price: CHF 12,900 (for the non-configured titanium version. The price for configured watches will depend on the chosen options). I am saving my pennies…
Technical Specifications – Armin Strom Manual
- Case: 43.40mm diameter x 13.00mm height – Grade 5 Titanium, polished and brushed – sapphire crystal on both sides – 50m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre AMW11, in-house – hand-wound – 5-day power reserve – 3Hz frequency – hours, minutes, small second
- Strap: genuine alligator horn-back strap and titanium buckle – additional rubber strap in the same colour. A double-fold clasp in titanium is available on option
- Price: starting at CHF 12,900 for the titanium version, CHF 9,900 in steel