Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force Oster Edition: Horological Joy In Collaboration
If you are a serious watch fan and haven’t met Jeremy Oster of Oster Jewelers, I highly recommend that you do. I have had the pleasure of talking to Oster many times and always come away reminded that some people are in this business simply because they love watches.
Oster and I have a big thing in common: our love and respect for the art of independent watchmaking.
Oster must spend quite a bit of time hanging out with the independent watch creators he works with because sometimes they cook up small special things for his store – like the brand-new Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force Oster Edition, the result of an informal meeting with Claude Greisler, Armin Strom’s head of watchmaking, and independent watchmaker extraordinaire Kari Voutilainen.
“It was a bit of a leap of faith,” Oster confided, “and the result of a couple of beers over an Indian dinner, but the watch really looks stunning!”
Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force: quick recap
Gravity Equal Force changes and challenges some of Armin Strom’s typical design codes, modifying the proportions for a more modern aesthetic. Incorporating a reduced diameter (41 millimeters, a first for Armin Strom), the case is more contemporary looking than many of the boutique brand’s admittedly quite large cases have been.
The movement layout should look familiar to fans of the brand, but it does incorporate modifications that include a new triplet of bridges supporting the barrel, micro rotor, and keyless works that are inspired by historical pocket watch movements, which make for a real highlight. “I hope so,” laughs Greisler, “we invested a lot of time into getting the proportions of these three bridges just right.”
The movement layout is a highlight, sharing the dial space with the time display, which is now a fully off-center dial with subsidiary seconds. Both elements are equally in focus which should please fans of high-end watch technology.
While at its core it is similar to the predecessor Gravity models, Gravity Equal Force is designed to be easier to read at a glance while making sure that the mechanics remain a focus. And, of course, to be a bit more contemporary.
The rear of the entirely fresh Caliber ASB19 takes on a new aesthetic as well, serving as a combination of past Armin Strom design cues (such as the style of the winged plate supporting the micro rotor) and historical pocket watches (repeating the style of individual cocks for the going train and balance).
The new caliber also sports upgraded, differentiated finishing for a true haute horlogerie package. The aesthetic changes are enough to mark the Gravity Equal Force as a shift.
Mechanically, much is noteworthy including the first time a stop-works mechanism has been combined with automatic winding in a wristwatch – a direct result of the desire to deliver consistent power from the mainspring to the regulator in a reliable and easily implemented way.
The new “stop-work declutch” mechanism derives from older stop-works mechanisms found on manual winding pocket watches utilizing a Geneva wheel as the counting and limiting feature to keep power delivery restricted to the most consistent portion of the mainspring.
The biggest difference is that this mechanism is built inside the mainspring barrel, allowing the mechanism to slip once it reaches the upper limit. This makes it work with the micro rotor so that the mainspring not only stays in the optimal operating range but will do so as long as you wear the watch.
What’s different about the Oster Gravity Equal Force edition?
While pretty much all Armin Strom watches can be personalized in some way using the brand’s handy online Configurator system, sometimes retailers – especially ones so very passionate about their profession – have their own ideas about what might look great on a certain watch or what might appeal to their clientele, and so it was with Oster once he started brainstorming with Greisler.
“We had Kari Voutilainen make a blue base plate with guilloché and a dark grey dial to contrast and complement,” Oster said. The result is a rather contemporary matching of colors that might seem classic but definitely also provide each other with enough contrast to be electric.
“Jeremy is something of a guilloche fetishist,” Greisler laughs. “But this combination hits the taste of his clientele in the bullseye.”
The whole creative ensemble – thinking up new possibilities and combinations – shows an extreme connection between the retailer and the two watchmakers in terms of mutual respect for each other, each other’s work, the quality that each party produces, and creative horological pursuits altogether. The watchmakers at Armin Strom and Kari Voutilainen don’t appear to see each other as competitors, but rather as colleagues trying to communicate the same messages out to the world.
“We all have the same passions for our work,” Greisler confirms. “It’s not always about the financial aspects, it’s not the turnover that is the most important thing. It’s the passion that’s first and foremost. And for Jeremy, it’s mostly about having fun with his customers and sharing a passion with them.
“Jeremy is something of an avant-gardist in watch retail, I find, with his passion and podcast. He does a great job of communicating it to his clientele.”
It’s also interesting to see how a retailer is finding joy in his work by shifting from working with the larger groups to working with smaller independent brands to create exclusive products for select clients.
One significant benefit of collaborations and ideas like this for watch collectors is gaining access to exclusive products without having to play the “boutique game” or trying to get on a waiting list for a popular but rare model to gain access to the coveted treasure. Watches like the Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force Oster edition are made with heart, soul, and connoisseurs in mind.
For more information, please visit www.arminstrom.com/en/collection/model/12gravity-equal-force or send an email to [email protected]
Quick Facts Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force Oster edition
Case: 41 x 12 mm, stainless steel
Movement: in-house automatic Caliber ASB19 with micro rotor on dial side and Geneva-drive constant force barrel, 25,200 vph, frequency, 72-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; power reserve
Limitation: 10 pieces