by Kyle Stults on December 05, 2013
A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of joining the owner and head watch designer from Armin Strom SA at the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin, TX. We dropped into Team Marussia’s hospitality suite in the prestigious Formula One Paddock Club for the Friday practice session which afforded many great looks at the cars coming in and out of the pits all day. And of course, plenty of quality time with Armin Strom’s latest watches. And there was also a superb tour down into the garage Team Marussia (Armin Strom is one of the sponsors of the team) for a rare behind-the-scenes look at how the teams operation. Yes, it was a phenomenal day. Below are the photo highlights (LOTS of pics!) along with some video I shot. Enjoy.
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ARMIN STROM Gravity is the first watch from the Biel-based Manufacture to feature an automatic winding mechanism with micro rotor, aka the manufacture’s new AMR13 calibre. The Armin Strom Gravity collection is available in four color-sets each representing one of four elements: FIRE, EARTH, WATER and AIR. The Armin Strom Gravity collection boasts the same exceptional level of finishing that has contributed to the reputation of the brand and of its eponymous founder, a man whose handiwork I have praised lavishly over the years, including in my review of the Armin Strom Blue Chip Skeleton watch from a few years ago. Below are a few looks at the Gravity series, including some of my hands-on pics from my visit with the Armin Strom team at Baselworld earlier this year.
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This is Armin Strom’s third season as official timing partner of the Marussia F1 Team, and with the Italian GP just 4 days away, the Swiss Manufacture presents the sixth piece in its Racing Collection — the new Racing Tourbillon model, limited to just 2 pieces (!).
The styling of this watch is superb, highlighted by its black PVD titanium case and distinctive red elox-coated and skeletonised bridges which are actually made of aluminum alloy that can also be found in components of Team Marussia’s F1 car. You’ll want to see this one up close!
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Combining its deep horological know-how with a bold, contemporary aesthetic, Biel-based ARMIN STROM joins the prestigious group brands to offer a manufacture tourbillon caliber. To mark the occasion, the manufacture presents an exclusive “coffret touribllon” of four unique timepieces which showcase the tourbillon caliber in a variety of embellishments. The pieces are all beautifully done and serve as a precursor to more regular production tourbillon models which will roll out next year. In total, just 16 pieces will be made (4 sets of 4). Perpetuelle brings you a close look at each of these four superb timepieces, below.
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Baselworld 2012: Several exciting releases and a new manufacture caliber from Armin (Armin Strom) this year — embodied here in the new Armin Racing Carbon watch. As a refresher, the ‘Armin Racing’ collection is the manufacture’s sportiest collection, though the DNA is very much in line with other collections; since 2010 Armin Strom has been involved with sports racing most notably through its sponsorship of the Marussia Virgin Formula 1 team — see my review of the very cool Armin Racing Chronograph Marussia Virgin edition for a hands on overview. The Armin Racing “Carbon” houses the new manual-wind caliber ARM12 which features plates and bridges inlayed with carbon fiber. Much of the movement is exposed to the wearer, giving the watch a nice “high-tech” look to it. Looks like a winner to me.
If you are new to Armin Strom: it is a small but ambitious Swiss manufacture, the namesake of its Master Watchmaker and Skeleton Master who retired this year — please browse through some of my extensive prior coverage of the brand’s watches, here.
ARMIN Racing Carbon
limited edition 50 pieces
43.4mm steel case, manual-wind manufacture caliber ARM12
Speaking of skeleton watches…
Of all the remarkable people in the watchmaking industry, Armin Strom is one of my most admired. Among his many horological talents, Armin Strom is recognized as the father of the skeletonized watch. He is also the namesake of the Armin Strom manufacture which was invigorated a few years back and which I think will serve as a fine legacy for Mr. Strom who is now retired, according to the FHH.
Congratulations on an amazing career and the legacy that will follow you, Mr. Strom. The Armin Strom Blue Chip Skeleton Automatic Watch that I reviewed a few years ago gave me nothing but sheer delight — it was an honor to experience your work firsthand.
Mr. Armin Strom
Close-Up of Armin Strom Blue Chip Skeleton Automatic
From the FHH:
Armin Strom, founder of the eponymous Biel manufactory, relinquished his role in running the business last September. Aged 73, the master craftsman continues however to provide enlightened advice to skeleton watchmakers and will take part in future events as a brand representative. He also remains a shareholder in the firm.
After half a century in the watch industry, Armin Strom can be proud of a unique career and an extraordinary track record in business. A visionary, he was one of the first people in Switzerland to dare to develop the skeleton watch. The removal of large parts of the movement to create a sense of a visual depth remains today a trademark of Armin Strom watches.
Here’s a nice one-off piece from Armin Strom. Armin Strom is for the second year in a row one of the main sponsors of the Menuhin Festival, an annual classical music event based in Gstaad, Switzlerand. The event was actually founded in 1957 by Lord Yehudi Menuhin, a man who is considered to be one of the greatest violinists of the 2oth century. Today the Menuhin Festival Gstaad has become one of the most important classical music events in all of Switzerland, with some 50 concerts played over seven weeks. Interesting, eh? At least for a useless trivia buff such as me
Anyway, Armin Strom has designed this limited edition Armin Strom Manual Fire Limited “Menuhin Edition” with a specially decorated bridge to celebrate the event whose theme of “Fire and Sun” is in tune with the Armin Strom “elements” concept (Earth/Fire/Water/Air). Aside from the special decoration, this piece is very similar to the Armin Strom One Week Fire watch (and also Water) that I wrote about in May 2010, just without the power reserve function.
Armin Strom Manual Fire “Menuhin” Edition
55 piece limited edition
43mm rose gold case, Mechanical manual windin Armin Strom AMW11 caliber; fitted on hornback-style alligator strap
For this special release, the gear train bridge on the underside of the movement has been embellished with hand-engraved flames and a musical pitch clef with some notes:
The Menuhin Festival website also suggests that Armin Strom has also created pieces based on all the remaining elements – water, air, earth and fire, but as of right now I do not have any information on these pieces.
Oh how I love Armin Strom — the man and the brand! Though I’ve never met “the man”, I have had the good fortune of meeting one of his watches — the Armin Strom Blue Chip Skeleton — talk about eternal love for a watch! As for Armin Strom the man, well, I recently received this video from the folks over at Armin Strom (via Totally Worth It) and thought it was worth sharing. It is a nice “start to finish” of a hand-skeletonized, hand-decorated Armin Strom Square watch (a white gold Ref. 77, I believe). Also, my aforementioned video review of the Armin Strom Blue Chip Skeleton watch is also posted below for your viewing pleasure.
The Art of a Hand-Skeltonized, Hand-Decorated Armin Strom Watch (Video)
courtesy Armin Strom via TotallyWorthIt
Armin Strom Blue Chip Skeleton Watch Review (Video)
Since high-end Swiss-watch manufacture Armin Strom announced a high profile sponsorship of the Marussia Virgin F1 Racing team late last year, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the wristwatches that would be announced as an outgrowth of the deal. The first look came at Baselworld 2011 when I previewed the Armin Racing Chronograph, noting that it featured “one of the best designed chrono dials I recall seeing in quite some time.” And now, thanks to Totally Worth It, the official Armin Strom distributor in North America, I have hands-on experience of this watch that I want to share with you. I hope you enjoy the review.
Video Review: ARMIN Racing Chronograph Black
Limited Edition 500 pieces
44.4 mm black PVD titanium case (13.85mm thick), automatic mechanical movement
Photos: ARMIN Racing Chronograph Black
Armin Strom is a brand I wish I would feature more often here on the blog. While I have written several articles about Armin Strom watches, including my video/photo review of the totally awesome Armin Strom Blue Chip Skeleton, the brand has generally flown under the radar in recent years. However, this seems to be changing – and for a brand with such a rich heritage (stemming from its Founder/namesake), this is a good thing. The brand has “manufacture” status with fairly extensive in-house capabilities (announced its ARM09 movement last year), and it recently signed a high profile F1 partnership with Marussia Virgin Racing which should also be good for visibility. The Marussia Virgin Racing partnership brings me to today — and a look at the new ARMIN Racing Chronograph featuring one of the best designed chrono dials I recall seeing in quite some time.
ARMIN Racing Chronograph Black
Limited Edition 500 pieces
44.4 mm black PVD titanium case (13.85mm thick), automatic mechanical movement, high-tech leather+rubber strap in black/red, with PVD-coated titanium ardillon buckle
The dial design on the ARMIN Racing Chronograph is very, very nicely done (see close-up below) — one of the best chrono dials I have seen in recent years. Note the circular finishing near the outer edge of the dial, nicely integrated sponsor mentions, left-hand placement of the circular date window, lack of cut-off-numerals — it all comes together very harmoniously:
Stay tuned there’s more — In conjunction with the Virgin partnership, Armin Strom AG has developed a collection of three exclusive timekeepers, all custom-built for motor racing, with titanium or stainless steel cases and with the Marussia Virgin Racing team colours. In addition to the Racing Chrono shown above, the collection also includes the ARMIN Racing One Week with the ARM09 Manufacture movement (limited to 40 pieces) and the ARMIN Racing Regulator with the ASRO7 movement (limited to 100 pieces). Can’t wait to see the new ASR07 movement and the Racing Regulator!
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