Armin Strom Lady Beat: Elegance, Femininity, And Technicity
by Martin Green
Designing a watch for the modern-day woman is one of the most challenging tasks in the watch world as fashion has a stronger influence on ladies’ models than men’s.
With the introduction of the Lady Beat, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Armin Strom took on the challenge and passed with flying colors. This is all the more surprising because the Lady Beat is the brand’s first watch made expressly with women in mind yet shares many visual clues dial side with the Gravity Equal Force, which is a technical men’s watch.
That Armin Strom has never made a ladies’ watch is not entirely true, though. While the modern-day brand, now a full-blown manufacture thanks to its current directors Serge Michel and Claude Greisler, has never made a ladies watch before, brand founder and namesake Armin Strom has.
In 1990 Strom was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records after making the world’s smallest hand-skeletonized ladies’ watch.
New automatic Caliber ALA20
While Lady Beat’s Caliber ALA20 shares similarities with that of the Gravity Equal Force, the movements are more like siblings from the same parents. They are different calibers. For example, the Gravity Equal Force is powered by a dial-side micro rotor, while the Lady Beat has a very attractive full-sized rotor on the back.
However, the execution is done so well and in such a similar fashion to the Gravity Equal Force that you could easily make a his-and-hers set of the Lady Beat and Gravity Equal Force.
Key to success: design and execution
The fact that the Lady Beat is not just a smaller-sized men’s watch is the key to its success. And that’s perhaps no surprise as the brand worked with female design consultants to ensure the right balance of femininity and technicality.
Armin Strom went the extra mile in ensuring that every detail of this watch is on point, and it does so very cleverly. For example, at 38 mm in diameter the case is in the sweet spot for a modern ladies’ watch, large enough to easily read the time and make a statement but not so big as to be overbearing or too masculine.
Lugs can take a watch right out of the sweet spot, so Armin Strom connected the strap straight to the case, adding a dash of 1970s sensuality in the process.
The Lady Beat is powered by a new Armin Strom manufacture caliber, the ALA20. This movement is 32.7 mm in diameter and fills out the case perfectly. This might be a detail, but it is a very pleasing one, all the more so because the movement features a refined finish and stunning ruthenium-coated rotor decorated with the same striped pattern and shape as the prominent dial segment.
The balance frequency is 3.5 Hz, one favored by Armin Strom, but quite unusual in the rest of the watch world. The generous power reserve of 70 hours ensures that it won’t run down over the weekend.
Powerful sense of elegance
Part of the Lady Beat’s appeal is that some of the movement components are located on the dial side of the watch, held in place by three skeletonized bridges over a sandblasted, almost frosted grey background, providing a finish with subtle contrast and texture.
The uppermost of the three visible bridges (in principle a balance cock) secures the balance wheel, which also adds a kinetic element to the dial as there is no second hand. The mainspring barrel is secured by the bridge at 4 o’clock. The middle bridge supports the winding stem and part of the gear train.
This busy-but-not-too-busy area of the dial – some might say the most interesting area – offers quite a contrast with the almost sterile time display to the left. Available in either white or black color schemes, that section features the ridged pattern, but nothing more.
Armin Strom even distilled its name into a subtle logo at 12 o’clock. As a result, the design has become all the more powerful. A clever touch is the two screws securing the dial, which forms a mental connection to the technical side of this watch while at the same time adding subtle technical interest.
The hour/minute subdial also features a similar ridged pattern and two screws.
Don’t underestimate the vital role that this element plays as it not only balances the design and adds even more depth to it, but also ensures that it remains as elegant as it is powerful.
This watch not only ticks so many boxes, it also excels in each and every one of them. The only thing that I would like to see perhaps done differently in the future is the dial: the black and white versions are gorgeous, but there are so many other colors to play with. As the Lady Beat also has a segment around the time-telling subdial, interesting bicolor combinations would be easily possible.
However, we are talking here about Armin Strom, a brand that already offers a comprehensive online configurator allowing clients to create a watch to their own design. Hopefully we will soon find the Lady Beat there as well.
For more information, please visit www.arminstrom.com/en/collection/lady-beat.
Quick Facts Armin Strom Lady Beat
Case: 38 x 11.65 mm, stainless steel
Movement: in-house automatic Caliber ALA20, 3.5 Hz/25,200 vph, frequency, 70-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes
Price: CHF 16,900