Armin Strom introduces a new entry point to the independent watchmaker’s collection with the Tribute 1. Introduced as the First Edition in a limited edition of 25 pieces with a white gold barrel bridge. The series will continue in a non-limited edition basis, but will feature a steel barrel bridge in subsequent versions.
Press Release information with commentary in italics.
The press release was rather sparse. The entire text is reproduced below The release contained mainly of (very interesting insider styled) quotes by the two co-founders, and discusses their intentions and challenges in making the new Tribute 1.
From the technical description, it appears to be an entry level, hand wound time indication only watch with a 100 hour power reserve. The dial is offset to one side, and the barrel bridge exposed on the dial side. In the First Edition, this bridge is in white gold, and subsequent versions will have a steel bridge in its place. The case back shows a three quarter plate style arrangement, with two cocks holding the escape wheel and balance wheel.
The finishing is difficult to judge from the images we received, though they were taken with very high end photography equipment. The main product photographs were made with the Sinar P3 monorail camera with the Sinarback eVolution 75 digital back (a 33Mp digital back with a sensor size of 48mm x 36mm), and the lifestyle photographs taken with the Sony A7RIV. The Côtes de Genève style finishing of the main plate looks good, as is the anglage on the edges. As usual with Armin Strom, one of the cocks on the back, and the barrel bridge feature the signature straight bridge with rounded end, and a skeletonized portion with two inward pointing angles. The rubies look smallish and are pressed on to the plate.
The design language used certainly is a true reflection of the styling cues used in earlier Armin Strom models, carrying the DNA of latter models faithfully. The elimination of the chin on the bezel seen in the earliest models, for e.g. in the Masterpiece 2 Minute Repeater Resonance and the Mirrored Force Resonance was carried out in the re-design of the Gravity Equal Force model, and thus not new in the Tribute 1.
With the elimination of the interesting technical bits on the dial side (the resonance or the exposed movement cocks) animating the watch, the Tribute 1 looks rather plain, and perhaps suitable for its intended use as a dress watch. We hold further comment till we have encountered the watch in person. Other than to mention that based on our experience with earlier Armin Strom watches, the finishing should be very good. Though we must caution that we need to bear in mind that this is a new pricing level for the small independent.
We did received a 3D printed model of the watch with strap, and on the wrist, the 38mm x 9mm case feels very right-sized and comfortable. We will report back with a hands-on review when we are able o examine and photograph the actual watch.
Introducing Armin Strom Tribute 1 First Edition
Price & availability: Available as of now for CHF 13’900.- for a first limited edition of 25 pieces with a barrel bridge in white gold. Subsequent versions of the Tribute 1 will feature a steel barrel bridge.
“We’re the heirs to a long tradition of manually-wound dress watch design at Armin Strom; but like much of the rest of the market, we had moved away from that. Over time, this became a source of deep regret for me – and I was ultimately inspired to do something about it. I’ve been obsessed with every detail of this timepiece, particularly when it comes to finishing. Hand polishing the dial-side of each barrel bridge takes over 12 hours to complete. To make the inaugural iteration even more special, we chose to produce that bridge in solid white gold. The gear train bridge on the backside is beveled and polished in 60° – a process that’s far more complex to execute and as a result takes twice as long. The polishing of the hands that I designed for this watch was also extremely time-consuming. The barrel is hand polished and provides 100 hours of autonomous operation. The Caliber AMW21 is adorned with Côtes de Genève, the jewel sinks are polished to a gleaming conclusion and the mainplate is circular grained. The balance cock and the stepped escape wheel cock deliver a three-dimensional allure, while their edges are hand beveled to convey an overall sense of luxury.”Claude Greisler, Master Watchmaker and co-founder of the revitalized Armin Strom.
“The ‘Tribute 1’ is contemporary, technically-innovative and beautifully finished. I love it – and I believe that our collectors will too. At a time when so many of us have spent so much time without any formal social interaction, the looming end of the global pandemic represents a symbolic return to normality – and hopefully a return to the luxury of social gatherings that we may have previously taken for granted. In that context, the acquisition of a dress watch can be seen as an expression of hope – and a meaningful connection to both the past and the future”Serge Michel, co-founder.
“Years ago, we were told by almost everyone that there was no economic model that could possibly justify a low-volume independent bringing all of its fabrication in-house,” said co-founder Serge Michel. “The equipment is expensive and it requires a lot of physical space. We followed our passion and did it anyway. And that decision paid off. We’ve since come to the conclusion that following our horological passions will probably eventually make financial sense, even when we can’t articulate exactly how that will play out. Fortunately, we have the luxury of taking risks and following our passion. The “Tribute 1” isn’t just a manifestation of that passion, it’s a ‘tribute’ to it. It’s simultaneously our tribute to the classic haute horology dress watch, adapted with a modern aesthetic sensibility.”
The highly efficient motor barrel in the ‘Tribute 1’ is unusual in that the arbor turns around the mainspring within the barrel itself, which makes it more efficient while conserving space.
Technical specification: the new Tribute 1 from Armin Strom
Indications: Hours, minutes, seconds
Movement: Armin Strom manufacture Caliber AMW21 Hand-wound movement
Regulating system: Flat hairspring with a variable inertia balance wheel
Power reserve: 100 hours
Dimensions: 33.5 mm x 4.2mm
Frequency: 3.5 Hz (25,200 vph)
Finishing: Hand-finishing to the highest quality level
Number of components: 135
Case: Stainless steel. Sapphire crystal and case back with anti-reflective treatment
Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 9 mm
Between lugs (lug to lug): 18mm
Water resistance: 5 ATM
Hands: Manufactured by Armin Strom – stainless steel with hand finishing
Strap: Delivered with a grey Alcantara calf leather strap and double folding clasp in stainless steel
Price: CHF 13,900
Limited Edition: 25 pieces