Tribute 1 By Armin Strom: Redefining The Contemporary Dress Watch
by Martin Green
Only a few short years ago, dress watches seemed to be well on their way to extinction. But now a renaissance is taking place: collectors, connoisseurs, and brands are once again giving dress watches the attention they deserve – and not all of the brands driving this renaissance for classicism have a lot of history in dress watches.
The lack of historical precedent within their collections gives newcomers to dress watches more freedom to reinterpret the theme. And the result can be quite astonishing as Armin Strom highlights with its new Tribute 1.
Armin Strom Tribute 1: WOW!
As a discerning lover of dress watches for more than two decades, the visual impact that this new Tribute 1 had on me when I first saw it was profound. I immediately had a vision of a well-dressed gentleman wearing this watch while floating at zero gravity through a space station or driving a futuristic new version of the Jaguar E-Type over country roads.
I admit that my imagination sometimes takes the upper hand, but once I landed safely back on earth the reality hit me that the Armin Strom Tribute 1 is a very sophisticated watch.
First and foremost, there are the proportions. While sports watches can earn extra points from sizes that are completely off the charts, with dress watches every fraction of a millimeter counts.
Armin Strom understands this and has opted for a diameter that is modest, yet not too small: 38 mm in diameter and only only 9.38 mm in height.
The design of Tribute 1 is pleasantly restrained and surprisingly elegant with a contemporary design: Armin Strom lets textures do the talking within a monochrome color scheme, making the timepiece enticing without drawing too much attention to itself.
The same can be said for the configuration of the dial with its offset placement of the hour and minute hands. Those stainless steel hands designed by co-founder Claude Greisler are finished by hand, something found throughout Tribute 1.
It’s also worth drawing attention to the hour markers: the odd hours are pad-printed on the dial, while the markers for the even hours are applied. This adds a sense of sophistication that goes very well with the overall design.
And speaking of sophistication, Armin Strom is pushing the boundaries of traditional dress watch design a bit further with the shape of the lugs and the asymmetric dial, but, again, not overly so. This fine balance between challenging the status quo and conforming to it is what makes Tribute 1 so exceptional.
Armin Strom Tribute 1: technical delicacies
A good dress watch is, in essence, always a technical delicacy. It doesn’t dazzle with a ton of complications but rather shows sophistication, preferably with a refined manual-wind movement. And Armin Strom delivers just that with Caliber AMW21.
The most prominent visual feature on the dial is the innovative motor barrel, which sees the arbor rotating around the mainspring within the barrel, both saving space making it much more efficient while also reducing friction. Its efficiency is evidenced by the generous 100-hour (four-day) power reserve.
The 100-hour power reserve achieved with just this one super-efficient barrel further underscores the modern nature – but also the progressive technical concept – of the Armin Strom Tribute 1.
On the first launch, a limited edition of 25 pieces, Armin Strom highlights the barrel with a white gold barrel cock, upon which the small manufacture’s technicians lavish more than 12 hours of hand-polishing. This is a detail for connoisseurs as the precious metal – used here in place of the more common stainless steel – has a slightly different hue than the steel case and hands, offering more optical depth in a very subtle manner.
There is also plenty to enjoy on the back of the watch. Armin Strom opted for a rather Germanic design here, covering most of the movement with a large seven-eighths plate instead of the brand’s more typical bridges. I find it ravishingly attractive as the large plate highlights the Geneva stripes and draws attention to the highly polished jewel sinks.
The visible balance wheel and its balance cock add depth to the design. This cock bears the same design as that of the mainspring barrel cock on the front of the watch.
The perlage-covered base plate provides the perfect background to complete this beautifully finished picture.
The Armin Strom Tribute 1 shown here belongs to the first edition of 25 pieces: this limited edition features a white gold barrel cock while subsequent editions will have that component in stainless steel.
We agree that 25 pieces are not many, but when a brand calls something a “first edition” it means that more will follow.
At CHF 13,900 the Armin Strom Tribute 1 is competitively priced, in particular when you take into account the extensive hand-finishing and exquisite manufacture movement.
It is a bold move for Armin Strom to bet on a bright future for the dress watch, but I think that the brand is absolutely on point with this offering, which makes tradition much less a thing of the past.
For more information, please visit www.arminstrom.com/en/kollektion/system-78/tribute-1-first-edition.
Quick Facts Armin Strom Tribute 1
Case: 38 x 9.38 mm, stainless steel, 50-meter water resistance
Movement: manual winding Caliber AMW21, 25,200 vph/3.5 Hz frequency, 100-hour power reserve, white gold barrel cock
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Limitation: 25 pieces (with white gold barrel bridge)
Price: 13,900 Swiss francs
Remark: 10-year warranty, double the standard warranty offered by Armin Strom