This morning, in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland independent watchmaker Armin Strom debuted a new limited edition watch collection that features a “fumé” dial with California style hour markers.
The Armin Strom Tribute 1 California comes in the company’s regular production 38 mm x 9 mm stainless steel Tribute 1 case, with the same Lance-shaped skeleton hour and minute hands, and the same baton-shaped sweeping seconds hand. Visible on the dial side is also the same mainspring barrel from the regular production Tribute 1, with the long 100-hour maximum power reserve denoted by a relief engraving on the barrel cover.
What’s new is the black guilloche plate — which was manufactured by Finnish watchmaker and close friend of the brand, Kari Voutilainen — that contrasts well with the off-center “fumé” dial that’s been given Armin Strom’s California-style dial treatment. Dating back to the 1930s, traditionally a “California dial” means half of the dial has Roman numerals, and the other half has Arabic numerals. However, in this instance, Armin Strom’s interpretation is a little different: there’s a mixture of Roman and Arabic numerals, as well as baton indices, and one triangular marker.
The original Tribute 1, features a more traditional dial with baton-shaped indices, which results in a more formal look, whereas this mixture of markers creates a more sporty aesthetic while still maintaining dress watch dimensions. Surrounding the time dial is a railroad minute/second track that’s printed in white, and that helps separate the off-center dial from the Kari Voutilainen guilloche plate.
As with the first Tribute 1, the manually wound 3.5Hz caliber AMW21 (33.5 mm x 4.2 mm) drives the hours, minutes, and seconds, for up to 100-hours when fully wound. Finishing is done largely by hand, including Geneva stripes on the bridges, as well as beveling and polishing. The time-only movement consists of 21 jewels and 135 total components. Each movement is assembled, disassembled — with all the parts being cleaned and lubricated in between — then assembled a second time before being meticulously regulated, tested, and returned to the case. This timely process ensures the movement leaves the factory in perfect condition.
There’s a choice of five fumé dial colors — blue, light blue, green, burgundy, and black/charcoal — all pictured above. Each version is paired with a black alligator strap with contrast stitching that matches its respective dial. A limited-edition of 5 pieces is being produced per color, making the total production run 25. Accordingly, each caseback is engraved “1 OUT OF 5.” A sapphire crystal protects the dial, along with a sapphire crystal caseback to enjoy the movement from the backside, and the watch has a depth rating of 50 meters.
The Tribute 1 “California” (Ref. ST21-TNS.05.AL.M.35 – blue, ST21-TNS.11.AL.M.35 – light blue, ST21-TNS.20.AL.M.35 – green, ST21-TNS.10.AL.M.35 – burgundy, ST21-TNS.75.AL.M.35 – black) will retail for $19,000 and will be available for sale in December.
Learn more at Armin Strom.
Photos by Armin Strom.