Today, Armin Strom unveiled a new timepiece that the Biel/Bienne-based watchmaker says features the “world’s first date function displayed on a bezel.”
The new Orbit timepiece’s flagship date function is controlled by a fully in-house developed and produced column-wheel mechanism that allows the date function to be activated and deactivated on demand. Moreover, this is Armin Strom’s first watch to receive an integrated steel bracelet.
With a simple push of a button located on the case flank at 8 o’clock, the date function can be turned on and off. Once activated the center-mounted date hand jumps to the current date, indicated by pointing the large red-arrow tipped hand at the respective day of the month 1-31, engraved and painted white on the fixed black ceramic scratch-resistant bezel. If the date needs to be adjusted, the same 8 o’clock pusher can be used to advance it rapidly (much like A. Lange & Sohne’s patented outsized date can be rapidly advanced by simply pushing a button). Alternatively, the date can also be corrected the traditional way, via the crown.
As an extension of the System 78 collection, the Orbit uses the existing 43.4 mm x 12.6 mm stainless steel case and builds on the manufacture caliber used for the original Gravity Equal Force as its base. Utilizing the Gravity Equal Force’s movement architecture — which represented the world’s first automatic watch with an equal force transmission when it debuted in 2019 — the new caliber ASS20 similarly receives consistent power to the balance by way of a special “stop-work” mechanism within the motor barrel that prevents the mainspring from fully unwinding, thus spreading out the power delivery curve more accurately as the power is unwound from the mainspring and delivered to the balance system. Like with the original Gravity Equal Force caliber, the watch has a 72-hour power reserve, indicated on the housing of the barrel.
Dubbed the “column-wheel date” the mechanism that drives the date — and that’s visible on the dial side of the Orbit — is the same type of mechanism traditionally found in high-end chronograph movements, and similarly enhances the stability and performance of the actuation and provides a reassuring experience when engaging and disengaging the date.
Not all mechanical movements in this price range have hand beveled edges and in fact, some timepieces at this price point have little to no hand finishing. The Orbit movement has been fully finished and decorated by hand, including chamfered and polished edges, polished chatons, Geneva stripes, and straight graining.
Claude Greisler, Co-Founder and Master Watchmaker at Armin Strom, recognized an opportunity. He says, “We wanted to create a new type of date display and function that looks good and reimagines a popular complication. No one had ever created a watch displaying the date with an on/off function of this kind on the bezel. I love it because it’s a fun, exciting way to play with the date indication.”
Armin Strom’s signature offset dial is finished in a black gold color with black gold numbers and indices, which are filled with lume. The Sword-shaped hands are crafted from stainless steel, and were manufactured and then hand-finished, in-house. On the first edition, the three horizontal pocket-watch style bridges (the barrel, the micro-rotor, and winding bridges) on the dial side — which distinguish the System 78 collection — have been given a special black gold treatment.
Serge Michel, who co-founded Armin Strom with Claude Greisler, says, “The Orbit is a pioneering watch that enriches our collection. 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.”
The System 78 Orbit (Ref. ST22-GEFD.75.ST) is delivered with a tapered integrated stainless steel bracelet with a double folding clasp. The Orbit has a water-resistant depth rating of 50 meters. The first edition is limited to 25 pieces and retails for $29,500.
Learn more at Armin Strom.
Photos by Armin Strom.