24 Hours Later: Armin Strom Announces The New Orbit First Edition Ahead of Watches & Wonders
With its new Orbit First Edition, the family-owned brand reimagines one of watchmaking’s traditional complications, the date function, while making one of its sportiest watches ever.
One of the most common and useful complications in watchmaking, the humble date function has traditionally been displayed in one of two formats: Either in a small window on the dial or via a central hand pointing to the date on the dial’s periphery.
And yesterday, less than a week before the start of Watches & Wonders 2022, Armin Strom announced one of its sportiest-looking creations ever, the Orbit First Edition, that revisits the date function and interprets it in a subtly novel way.
Practical yet Pleasing on the Eye
Not only does the Orbit First Edition’s column-wheel-driven date hand point to a high-contrast day of the month engraved in white on a black ceramic bezel, but it can also be activated and deactivated via a caseband pusher. As a result of this pusher, the piece has unencumbered views of its impressive openworked dial.
“No-one had ever created a watch displaying the date with an on/off function of this kind on the bezel,” said Claude Greisler, Master Watchmaker at Armin Strom, in a press release. “I love it because it’s a fun, exciting way to play with the date indication.”
And in the same press release, Serge Michel, CEO and owner of the brand, added: “We took inspiration from the functional bezels on sports watches, and the result was this unique date placement, which is at once innovative, useful, and aesthetically pleasing.”
Usually found in chronograph mechanisms, the column wheel driving the Orbit’s date hand helps to improve stability and performance, according to the Bienne-based brand. But it also provides a nice tactile pleasure for the wearer when they decide to turn the date function on or off.
And the date function is activated by pressing the small pusher at 10 o’clock. Once pressed, the date hand with a red, A-shaped pointer jump to the correct date, set using the crown or pusher, and stored thanks to a “mechanical memory.” Once engaged, the date hand advances each day at midnight.
Freeing Up Views
Pressing the pusher again deactivates the date, with the hand returning to a stationary position at 12 o’clock. This location change, in turn, helps free up views of the other indications and visible, finely-finished mechanics, which, apart from the column wheel, are taken from Armin Strom’s constant-force automatic Gravity Equal Force.
So, on the left side of the dial, we have a black gold-treated hour-minute sub-dial that incorporates small seconds. Meanwhile, on the right are the movement’s micro-rotor and mainspring barrel, both supported by distinctive finger bridges which have been straight-grained and beveled.
The barrel features a clever Geneva stop-work declutch system that ensures the first turns are unused, helping to deliver more consistent energy to the balance wheel over the 72-hour power reserve. And the remaining power reserve level can be glimpsed on the barrel’s circular-grained lid.
In a Different League
Despite taking the dial layout and movement from its Gravity Equals Force, you can see why Armin Strom chose to bill the Orbit First Edition as a discrete entity: It has to be one of the brand’s sportiest creations, if not its sportiest, to date.
In addition to the ceramic bezel, an assertive 43.4mm stainless-steel case with angular crown guard, gray monochromatic dial color scheme, and Super-LumiNova-filled time indications, the Orbit First Edition also features an integrated “H-link” steel bracelet. This is the first time the brand has fitted one of its watches with such a bracelet, and it looks the part with its alternating brushed and polished links.
Price & Availability
Priced at CHF 29,500, the Orbit First Edition is limited to just 25 pieces. And such is Armin Strom’s confidence in its robustness and reliability: The brand is offered the Orbit with a 10-year warranty.
For more information, please visit the Armin Strom website.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)