Watch Modding By The Brand: Quill & Pad Team Members Play With The Armin Strom Watch Configurator And Share Their Results
While relatively new to the world of watches, the Configurator concept, which allows consumers to configure their own personal watches with or without the help of an authorized retailer, is one that has been present in the luxury car world for more than a decade.
As a special introductory promotion, Armin Strom has created a design game with valuable prizes. All you have to do is configure your watch and put the picture on Instagram using the hashtag #designarminstrom.
And don’t forget to follow @arminstrom on Instagram.
Winners will be selected by a jury on May 16, 2017. Find the full game rules here: www.news.arminstrom.com/en/detail/configurate-share-win.
The three prizes up for grabs include a credit of CHF 15,000, CHF 7,500, or CHF 5,000 toward the purchase of your configured watch.
What are you waiting for? Go try it out yourself here: www.configurator.arminstrom.com.
If you are curious as to what can be done, here we share the watches that the Quill & Pad team has designed on the Armin Strom Configurator and the reasons behind our choices.
Ian Skellern, co-founder of Quill & Pad
I enjoy looking at movements and gears working, so I started with the Armin Strom Skeleton Pure with a base price of 30,000 Swiss francs.
For more comfort I upgraded to the titanium case (an added CHF 2,778) and to lighten the look of the dial I added a sapphire crystal chapter ring with blue markers. I then decided to run with a blue and pink gold combination because I feel those colors work well together.
I thought about a blue main plate, but decided to keep it rhodium colored so my light blue front bridges contrasted more. A pink gold gear train, pink gold hands, and a blue strap with light blue stitching set it all off.
Turning the watch over (as you do), I finished off with light blue bridges and a steel folding buckle.
Total price: 36,138.89 Swiss francs
John Keil, Quill & Pad’s retail expert
Being a self-proclaimed gear head, skeletonized and semi-skeletonized watches have always fascinated me. So I chose the Skeleton Pure.
Being able to customize a movement is quite rare with any brand and additionally being able to personalize this one with my favorite color (blue) is extremely exciting to me. Add to that that titanium is my favorite case material, mainly due to its light weight and comfort while wearing, and we have a winner.
I’m a sucker for blue, and the way the rhodium gears contrast against the blue plates offers an amazing pop to the details.
After the titanium case, I chose a transparent dial, light blue plate, rhodium-colored front bridges, rhodium hands and gear train, blue strap with white contrast stitching, and finally a “Q&P” engraving to fly our colors high!
I do wish there were additional hand options, though. I’m not a big fan of gold (for me to wear at least) and the rhodium hands make it impossible to read.
Total price: $33,829
Alex Ghotbi, vintage watch expert at Phillips and Quill & Pad contributor
I started with the Skeleton Pure in titanium.
Since the watch is extremely modern-looking, I wanted to create a dichotomy between the brown plates and bridges and the pink gold elements, emulating what can be found in “tropical” patina vintage watches.
My dial is transparent sapphire crystal with orange accents, while the hands and gear train are in pink gold.
I chose the white strap with white stitching to add a “pimp factor.”
Total price: 35,555 Swiss francs
Joshua Munchow, resident nerd writer at Quill & Pad
My watch choice is the Gravity, which is a very cool micro rotor movement with five days’ worth of power reserve. I like the Gravity because it is a great model with interesting movement design, but not overly cluttered with additional details.
I find the Manual is a bit too simple and lacking the micro rotor; the other watches are cool, but the increase in prices gives them a starting price that is unmanageable on my budget.
The Configurator is a fantastic tool that allows me to see what I like and what it will cost (instead of being too afraid to even ask).
I dubbed the watch with my modifications the Brilliant Nebula and engraved an infinity symbol onto the bezel lip. I chose to keep the metal stainless steel because it really is my favorite metal (see Here’s Why: Stainless Steel Is The Most Precious Metal) and I like the weight of a watch on my wrist; sometimes titanium feels too light.
For the main plate I chose purple, one of my favorite colors in the universe, and ruthenium for the back plate to signify the darkness of the universe around a glowing nebula.
Because of the stars that form in a nebula I chose pink gold for the gear train and hands (which also allows for some great contrast) and the black dial with pink gold numerals to continue the universe theme and have bright points of light in the dark.
The theme expanded into the strap by choosing grey (black was too stark) with pink gold stitching so that the universe wraps around you. I also chose a folding clasp because it really is a nice and quick feature to have on leather straps.
Even though I love the Brilliant Nebula design, I made a version with a white dial, while leaving the rest of the choices the same, and dubbed it the Brilliant Constellation since it shines brighter on the wrist. It would be my second choice or work together as a great pair.
The starting price of the Gravity is 12,870.37 Swiss francs, and in my final configured state it became 14,148.15 CHF, so a rather small increase for a group of very cool additions.
And, of course, it comes in at just under the 15,000 CHF first prize line, so if I were ever so lucky enough to win that would be even better!
Total price: 14,148.15 Swiss francs
Elizabeth Doerr, co-founder of Quill & Pad
I thought at first about taking the Edge as my base model (see Back In Black: Armin Strom’s Bold Edge Double Barrel With Refined, Novel Finish), but decided against it as the 46.8 mm case is a bit too large for my dainty wrist.
While the tourbillon model is still not small at 43.4 x 13 mm, it does sit much better and more proportionally on my arm. And – hey, why not? – if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this! Go big or go home as they say.
The base price for the tourbillon with ten-day power reserve is 81,481.48 Swiss francs in stainless steel. However, due to the watch’s size and the fact that I am a bit of a perfectionist (I can’t stand scratches, which is one reason why I love fluted bezels so much), I chose a titanium case, which is lighter and more scratch-resistant than both polished steel and pink gold.
So now you’re asking why I didn’t take the black PVD-coated steel then. The answer is I’m not personally a big fan of black watches, either. So titanium is my choice, which put the base price at 84,259.26.
Then I went to work designing by first choosing transparent sapphire crystal dial elements to avoid obstructing the view of the gorgeous skeletonized design of Caliber ATC11 with its traditional screw balance, Breguet overcoil hairspring, and twin spring barrels.
I adore the contrast of the purple plate and bridge elements on the skeletonized movement; this is a real treat in my view, and I cannot stress enough how wonderful I find this offer. Rhodium-plated hands to go with rest of color scheme, and of course engraved Q&P initials so, like John, I can fly our team flag high!
The white strap retains the cool look of the neutral tones, while purple stitching goes with the plate and bridge design. The short strap size (170 mm length, 21 mm lug width size) makes it all mine!
And I love it!! After christening it the Tourbillon Purple Rain, I almost actually hit the “order now” button!
Total price: 87,037.04 Swiss francs
GaryG, Quill & Pad’s resident collector
As I look across the Armin Strom line, the aesthetics only work for me in the context of a sporty watch. And for me, the Edge is the clearest expression of a sporty look so I chose it as a result.
I had fun playing with the various options in the Configurator, but at the end of the day the only changes I made were to substitute steel hands for the red gold ones in the stock version and to switch the grey strap for a black one.
Both changes took the stainless steel watch even further toward a monochromatic look, which I think serves the design well and is already created by the use of black PVD on the case and ruthenium plating on most of the major structural elements of the movement.
These changes kept my total price the same as the base price.
Total price: 26,759 Swiss francs
Simon Cudd, Quill & Pad’s visual enchanter
I configured several watches, but for this I went with a tourbillon as well. Why not!
I went with hints of blue on the main plate and bridge and “Si” engraved on the front in a sans-serif font. My case is titanium, while the back of my bridges and my gear train are in rhodium plate. My dial is a two-tone black-and-rhodium mix and the hands are rhodium-colored.
My strap is blue to go with the blue hints, and my stitching is a tone-in-tone light blue, while the clasp is stainless steel.
Total price: 87,037.04 Swiss francs
Ryan Schmidt, author of The Wristwatch Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Mechanical Wristwatches
My Gravity also began at a base price of 12,870.37 Swiss francs.
I have a thing for red gold combined with tan and blue, so I thought I would go all in for those options: red gold spring barrels, hands, numerals, case, and strap stitching color. The main plate and strap are blue.
I love the Armin Strom skeletons, but being able to choose the plate cover drew me closer to the openworked dial vs. the skeleton.
The engraved initial on the dedicated lip is both a personalization and my attempt to register this as my own IP. When Armin Strom sells its tenth one of these, I want one myself!
Total price: 24,400 Swiss francs
Nola Martin, Quill & Pad’s lifestyle guru
I began with the Armin Strom Skeleton Pure, which has a base price of 30,000 Swiss francs.
The Skeleton Pure drew me in with its wide variety of customizable options from the wheels and gear train to even the bridges.
I went with the light and airy feel of titanium and a light blue base plate and dial, setting off a nice contrast with the silver-colored bridges. Topping it off with a white strap, I am ready for summer!
Total price: 34,166.67 Swiss francs
I had so much fun configuring with the Armin Strom Configurator that I decided to create one for my husband as well. Let’s call it a his and hers watch set!
Mother’s and Father’s Day are (always) right around the corner . . .
Anyway, I love the Edge (base price 26,759.26 Swiss francs) with the strong blue bridges and black combination – it really highlights the ratchet wheels.
And the notched bezel adds to the masculinity of the watch, especially with a black PVD-coated case.
Total price: 28,842.59 Swiss francs
To try out the Armin Strom Configurator yourself, go to www.configurator.arminstrom.com and/or enter the competition at www.news.arminstrom.com/en/detail/255-configurate-share-win.