Armin Strom belongs to that rare breed of watchmakers that somehow manage to make watches that, while each looking unique, are still easily recognizable regardless of the collection they belong to. This new Armin Strom Tourbillon Water (ref. ST15-TW.05) that was finally presented at Baselworld 2013 this week, looks like a less expensive version of their current rose gold Tourbillon Coffret model. Although fashioned from more mundane (but also more practical) stainless steel, the watch is still equipped with their sophisticated in-house tourbillon movement.
The movement in question is, of course, the Caliber Armin Strom tourbillon ATC 11: their very first hand-wound movement with a nicely done tourbillon escapement that was designed and, as far as I understand, manufactured solely in-house. Developed from scratch to power modern oversized timekeepers, the mechanism seems to fit this 43mm watch like a glove (or, I think, it is actually the other way around… well, never mind.)
Although Armin Strom has made his name as a skeletonization specialist of choice for those wishing to transform their boring Rolex into a real art object, his company seems to finally become a full-fledged watch manufacturer with enough expert watchmakers and technological know-how to design and produce its own movements.
Looking somewhat chunky, the movement hides inside a twin-barrel winding system that, thanks to a Breguet-type overcoil balance string and its balance wheel beating at a relatively slow frequency of just 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour, stores enough energy to keep this beautiful gadget going for whole 10 days (240 hours!) Well, it may be not as impressive as 744 hours of continuous power supply offered by 2009 A. Lange & Sohne 31 Days luxury timekeeper, but still nothing to sneeze at either!
Many tourbillons these days look decisively expensive coming in Art-Deco, Baroque or even high-tech bodies that feature lots of gold or platinum or some exotic materials that are usually employed in ultra-performance race cars, fifth-generation jet fighters and space rockets.
If you forgive me an analogy with architecture, this new Armin Strom Tourbillon Water is more like a modern Scandinavian house with lots of clean lines and tons of air and torrents of sunlight streaming inside the building through its panoramic windows. There is nothing excessive in this watch, both in terms of exterior finish and layout of its off-centered hour and minute indication it is purely functional and straight to the point.
Even the skeletonized dial looks relevant here since it provides a super view at the beautiful movement that makes its hands moving.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Armin Strom
Armin Strom Tourbillon Water (ref. ST15-TW.05) hand-wound watch specification
Price: Approx. $12,500 USD
Movement: Manual, Caliber Armin Strom tourbillon ATC 11, twin-barrel, 184 components, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 24 jewels
Movement frequency: 18,000 vph
Power reserve: 240 hours
Movement decoration: 18-carat white gold lever wheel and lever, perlage
Functions: Hours, minutes, tourbillon
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 43.40 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Skeletonized, white chapter ring
Hour markers: Applied
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Dark blue Hornback alligator leather strap with steel folding claps (a spare dark blue rubber strap included)
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire, antireflective