Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Air

Armin Strom: my Skeleton Pure Air with a white strap?

Be it the strap or the general color of cases and dials, why do white watches seem to be exclusively for women? I personally like them and I am not ashamed to say so.

By Joel Grandjean

Without making a big deal out of it, I sometimes end up confessing my fondness of white watches when talking to people. Of course, I choose carefully where I say it, so that my ‘weird’ taste – that’s how some of my dear ones describe it – is not misinterpreted. Nevertheless, I find this color is flattering, even on men’s wrists. Let me explain: when I see such a watch on my wrist, I get the sudden impulse to go find some sunlight to tan my pale skin until it brings out the timepiece’s whiteness. In other words, wearing white watches makes me feel good because even if sometimes I can only wish for it, the very fact of thinking about the sun turns out to be beneficial for me.

Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Air

Seductive titanium and a distinct aesthetic sign

My remarks have not gone unnoticed. Bettina Fleury, public relations manager at Armin Strom, picked up on it. “Here, this is an Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Air. Wear it for a few weeks and send it back to me with your thoughts”. At first, I thought that the watch was light. It comes with a white alligator leather “horn-back” strap, which means it has a sort of small crest on the surface of its extremities linked to the lugs that looks extremely appealing. The 43.4 mm watch is in titanium. Now, I dare say that in general, even if it reveals that I am no scientist, I like perceived value. Watches that are quite heavy, be it in terms of the psychological illustration of their cost or simply because of their precious material, appeal more to me. Right, so mea culpa, I have always felt somewhat condescending towards titanium, even if I recognize its nobility and interest. The titanium of my new gun shade matt polished watch plays with seduction. Gun shade is a shade of grey that evokes the industrial and cold atmosphere of high-tech materials. It makes sense, after all. In spite of its lightness, it is water resistant to 5 atm and I must say it made me forget on several occasions that I was wearing an object directly connected to the irritating reality of time.

Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Air

During my travels and my encounters with different people, my Armin Strom so often showed itself under different lights that I began to look at it with a new eye. However, I was surprised that no one seemed to notice what I immediately saw; there is something about the watch’s design, an original detail that no other brand can claim. I double-checked and this detail is on all Armin Strom watches, irrespective of the collection. It is the kind of detail that even if you are in the back of a restaurant, which is to say at a reasonable distance, someone who knows about it will be able to guess that you are wearing an Armin Strom. There is not one brand that would not want to possess such a trump card at a time when all brands dream of having a distinct sign of a high value-added identity. Well, Bienne-based Armin Strom has one even if it unfortunately rarely talks about it. It would seem that these kinds of subtleties need to make a name for themselves in the long run. The famous detail in question is a small metal strip at 6 o’clock, and is such a subtle part of the case’s aesthetics that it goes unnoticed. Even though it is convenient for customization, this mini surface will henceforth come to mind every time you think of the brand.

Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Air

Skeletonizing with the in-house caliber in the background

Armin Strom is also synonymous with skeletonizing.

Without damaging their timepieces’ chronometric performance, this art consists of cutting out, deepening and pulling out materials by sculpting, engraving or other pruning methods available to watchmaking. Incidentally, Armin Strom’s reputation for skeletonizing made a name for the brand, first when it worked for historical brands and later when it became a brand in itself. Is that why I feel like my watch is lighter? I picture the interested and admiring look of a seasoned watchmaker, who moves his gaze along the interlacing of the movement’s decorated components with their watchmaker’s magnifying glass. I imagine that just like me, they would also wind the watch constantly in order to see the movement of the toothed and open worked wheels that feed the double barrel energetically.

Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Air

An In-house movement? No need to make us believe, as some often do, that this is just any basic engine disguised as an in-house movement thanks to ad hoc names and simple modifications. The particular off-centered position of my Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Air’s caliber is placed near 9 o’clock in order to leave a semi-circular space at 3 o’clock where the brand name is affixed. This is permanent proof (a meaningful one for insiders) that it is not available anywhere else on the market.

To be honest, even if I am no longer used to winding my watches, I feel like it came naturally to me. The power reserve does quite the trick. It is subtly indicated by a red point on the inside of the 9 o’clock circle but I did not even need to use it because I wound my watch many times only to enjoy the micromechanical spectacle. I loved that by just winding the watch a few times, I was able to see the gears spring to life and to marvel at their synchronized interlaced interactions.

Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Air

I felt a twinge in my heart when I had to say goodbye to the watch. Off it went to the Manufacture, but I might be able to see it again at BaselWorld together with the other versions and the 2015 new pieces? In any case, I will visit the stand of this exceptional brand; a flagship model of intelligently managed and human-sized independence. It is one of those brands that do not follow trends but rather they tend to make a name for themselves in the long run.

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The epitome of independence: Armin Strom’s one-of-a-kind Manufacture

By Joel GrandjeanEditor-in-Chief
It all began with friendship and skeletonizing in which fascination ­– fuelled by a reasonable and determined ambition ­– played a big...