Armin Strom releases the Orbit Manufacture Edition – the followup to the Orbit First Edition with the novel pointer date feature.
Press Release information with commentary in italics.
New: Armin Strom Orbit Manufacture Edition
The retail price for the Armin Strom Orbit Manufacture Edition is SGD 49,570 inclusive of GST. Available at Sincere Fine Watches.
Armin Strom first introduced the Orbit in March 2022 as the First Edition – a limited edition of 25 pieces, now sold out. The series is now called the Manufacture Edition, and is in the current catalog, with no limitation. Armin Strom has practiced this First Edition / Manufacture Edition for a while. We first noticed it when the First Edition of the Mirrored Force Resonance was release in May. As we noted in that commentary, the name First Edition threw us off, as we became confused with this curious naming, 6 years after the launch models. So we wrote Armin Strom to clarify. And indeed it is just a facelift, a redesign on the aesthetics which is the novelty. And now we see that the First Edition is set as a limited edition (25 pieces for both First Editions so far released) is part of a bigger plan to release a non-limited Manufacture Edition after. This new release of the Orbit Manufacture Edition is the first, and we expect the Mirrored Force Resonance to follow once the 25 piece limitation is sold out.
The release notes say that the Manufacture Edition is aesthetically different from the First Edition. The First Edition features “dark grey “black gold” coating, the Orbit Manufacture Edition emphasizes contrast and sporty sleekness with a black offset dial and silvery rhodium-coated bridges.” From what we can see from the images released, the Manufacture Edition has a darker hour minute sub-dial. And while the First had a black gold sub-dial, which looks grey-ish. As noted the material was Black Gold, and the material for the Manufacture Edition is not specified. All other aspects look identical, though the Armin Strom literature claims that the new Manufacture Edition is a more sporty package.
But we digress from the unique selling proposition of the Orbit. A rather complicated way to show the date by using a date hand to indicate the date inlaid on the fixed ceramic bezel. Though the idea of a pointer date is not new, the way Armin Strom implements it is different, and one which we have never seen before. A column wheel controls the date indicator which can be in one of two states. In the stationary mode, the date pointer is off, and points at 12 o’clock on the dial. This leaves the off center hour minute dial unblocked. In the engaged mode, is points to the correct date and acts like a regular pointer date hand. The state is changed by activating a pusher at 10 o’clock. From a stationary mode, one push causes the hand to be engaged, and jump to point at the correct date as shown on the bezel. In this engaged position, it moves once a day, advancing one day at midnight, like a regular date pointer hand. The pusher toggles into the stationary state with its next activation, and the hand returns (the hand is able to return to home in both directions to avoid confusion) 12 o’clock while the movement retains memory of the correct date, but this is not displayed until the next activation. The date can be corrected with a pin pusher on the case side at 8 o’clock or by the crown.
Interesting? Yes. Valuable and useful complication? We are less sure. In our view, this complication is completely un-necessary. Just having a pointer at the peripheral date display is not inconvenient. Many date display have use this system, from budget watches like the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date (SGD 4,900) to more haute horlogerie offerings like on the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Complet (SGD 25,700 in Ti). The thin date pointer hardly blocks the time display. Also, other, more elegant solutions like that used in the Lange Zeitwerk Date (EUR 89,000) avoids this issue by having a rotating date ring and a stationary pointer. None of these have the added complication introduced by the column wheel to control a dual state pointer. So have Armin Strom overthought the solution to the “problem”? Again in our view, definitely yes!
But we think the real value in the Armin Strom Orbit Manufacture Edition is the raw, mechanical look of the watch. Details like the red arrow head animating the A logo is a nice touch. And overall, the watch does look like a refined sporty timepiece, ready for adventure. Finishing is also quite good, at the superlative end of a spectrum more in line with high end engineering needs than pure decorative. So, in a word, excellent finishing.
The Orbit Manufacture Edition is not limited, and retains the same price of the First Edition, which was a 25 piece limited edition, now sold out.
Following the resounding success of the Orbit First Edition, the world’s only watch with a column-wheel driven date displayed on the bezel returns in the Orbit Manufacture Edition, a piece of forward-thinking haute horlogerie with a resolutely sporty appeal. The new edition emphasizes contrast and sporty sleekness with a black offset dial and silvery rhodium-coated bridges.
Transparent mechanics on full display are a driving force for the Armin Strom manufacture, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Orbit. The most recent addition to the System 78 collection, which is the manufacture’s line of inventive and unexpected haute horlogerie creations in its purest form, the First Edition of the Orbit was unveiled in March 2022 and immediately appealed to discerning collectors. Now, the uniquely Orbit returns as permanent Manufacture Edition with an even more decidedly sporty aesthetic.
REINVENTING THE DATE
Visually captivating and mechanically ingenious, the Orbit completely reimagines one of the most useful and ubiquitous watch functions in existence: the date. By combining several complications into one, the “Column-Wheel Date” is a singularly creative and refreshing take on a complication that’s rarely ever revisited. Entirely conceived, developed and built in-house by Armin Strom, the Orbit flips the script by offering a new and unprecedented implementation of the date, with its inventive mechanics entirely visible on the dial side.
As its name implies, the column-wheel mechanism drives the date indicator, which is visible from the dial side. This system, typically found in chronograph mechanisms, improves the date indicator’s stability and performance while also providing a satisfying and reassuring tactile experience when engaging and disengaging the date function. Indicated on the black engraved ceramic bezel by a large central hand with a red “A” tip for Armin, the date hand essentially has two modes: stationary and active.
When the date hand is in the stationary mode, it is “off” and remains in its fixed position pointing at 12 o’clock, leaving the off-centred dial unobstructed. Using the pusher on the left side of the case, the date hand is “engaged” and instantaneously jumps to point at the correct date, then advances once a day at midnight. With another push of the button, the hand returns to its stationary position, with a mechanical memory allowing it to jump back to the correct date when required by the wearer. The retrograde mechanism allows the date hand to jump back from 31 to 1, avoiding any confusion with the hand’s disengaged stationary mode. The date can be rapidly set using a corrector button on the 8 o’clock position of the case or can be advanced manually via the crown by advancing the time.
Further enhancing the three-dimensional mechanical appeal of the Orbit Manufacture Edition is the movement itself. Based on the development of the Gravity Equal Force – the world’s first automatic watch with equal force transmission – the Orbit’s movement delivers consistent power to the balance, with a power reserve of 72 hours. Renewing and evolving the wisdom and principles of watchmaking from centuries past, its “stop-work” mechanism is a clever solution to providing more consistent torque from the barrel by preventing the mainspring from fully unwinding, thus leveraging only the part of the mainspring’s unwinding process that can deliver power most consistently. This marks the first time that such a mechanism is incorporated in an automatic wristwatch movement.
And like all Armin Strom creations, the manufacture movement is finished to exceedingly high standards reserved for the upper echelon of haute horlogerie. Hand-finished and decorated elements include chamfered and polished edges on the bridges, polished chatons and perlage graining on the main plate.
A MEN’S COMPLICATION WITH A SPORTY ALLURE
Envisioned as a piece of haute horlogerie for daily active wear, particular attention was paid to the overall ergonomics and aesthetic of the Orbit Manufacture Edition. Rugged yet sophisticated at the same time, the Orbit ushers a new category for Armin Strom: Men’s complications in a sporty package. Perfectly integrated with the 43.4 mm stainless-steel case, the bracelet of the Orbit was carefully designed to offer a minimalistic look that doesn’t take away from the micromechanical spectacle within. Superbly finished with alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces, the surprising slimness of the steel bracelet makes it exceedingly comfortable.
Compared to the First Edition, which predominantly features dark grey “black gold” coating, the Orbit Manufacture Edition emphasizes contrast and sporty sleekness with a black offset dial and silvery rhodium-coated bridges. The dial occupying the left side of the display indicates the hours and minutes as well as the seconds on a separate counter. The numerals, hour markers and hour and minute hands are filled with off-white Super-LumiNova® for optimal legibility in the dark. A rare feat for most watch manufactures, the steel hands are manufactured by Armin Strom and, like all the visible parts of the movement, are meticulously hand-finished in-house.
Technically tantalizing and visually compelling, the versatile and unequalled Orbit Manufacture Edition now officially joins Armin Strom’s core collection and opens new avenues of creativity and mechanical marvels for the independent manufacture. While the Manufacture Edition is not a limited edition, it will be produced in limited quantities.
Armin Strom Orbit – Manufacture Edition Technical specifications
Reference no. ST22-OR.90
Indications: Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve indicator, date
Movement: Armin Strom manufacture Caliber ASS20
Automatic winding with micro rotor, Geneva-drive equal force barrel, offset display with subdial seconds, Column-Wheel Date
Regulating system: Balance wheel with 4 regulating screws
Power reserve: Geneva stop-work limited to 72 hours
Dimensions: 35.52 mm x 8.42 mm
Frequency: 3.5 Hz (25,200 vph)
Finishing: Hand-finishing to the highest quality level
Number of components: 273
Case: Stainless steel, ceramic fixed bezel
Sapphire crystal and caseback with anti-reflective treatment Diameter: 43.4 mm
Height: 12.6 mm
Water resistance: 5 ATM
Dial: Black, numbers and indexes with Super-LumiNova® filling
Hands: Manufactured by Armin Strom, steel with hand finishing and Super-LumiNova® filling
Bracelet: Stainless-steel with a double folding clasp
Price: CHF 29.500 / EUR 31.300 / GBP 26.500 / USD 29.500