Armin Strom Orbit: The Best Watch With A Date Complication Currently Available
by Martin Green
One of the fast-rising stars in the world of independent watchmakers is Armin Strom. With each new model introduced, this boutique brand has expanded its fanbase while strengthening its relationship with existing clients and admirers. And it has reached a new zenith with the launch of the brand-new Orbit at Watches and Wonders 2022.
Armin Strom Orbit: a constant force
Technically, the Orbit is basically a Gravity Equal Force with a date complication. However, with Armin Strom it is never quite that simple. While the brand has a knack for making complications look easy, its solutions and execution always ooze sophistication.
The introduction of the Gravity Equal Force was important for Armin Strom as this watch combined a smaller, 41 mm diameter case with a new caliber that executed some innovative ideas. The Gravity Equal Force marked the first time a stop-works mechanism had 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 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 torque portion of the mainspring.
Armin Strom’s approach to adding a date complication was equally innovative. Right above the subdial for time is a hint as to how it works: a column wheel ensures precise and perfect operation of the complication. This date is on demand and operated by the pusher at 10 o’clock. When engaged, the red-tipped date hand jumps directly to display the correct date.
It stays there until the pusher is pressed again, but can also be left in place to act as a regular date hand. This also means that it will advance one position when the date changes at midnight or, at the end of the month, jump all the way back to the beginning. Creating a date function like this is not only fun, it also prevents the hand from obstructing the dial on the left side of the watch and the visible gear train, micro rotor, and mainspring barrel on the right.
Armin Strom Orbit: a sporty proposition
Orbit also brings something else to Armin Strom: a bona-fide sports watch. The Gravity Equal Force heads in that direction but is not really the full package as it is just a dash too elegant. And a bracelet like the Orbit has always trumps a strap in that matter.
I saw the press pictures of the Orbit before I could handle the real thing and was not yet convinced about the bracelet. That changed when I got it in my hands. Armin Strom put a lot of thought into the bracelet design, keeping it rather minimalistic, giving each component a refined finish, and keeping it surprisingly slender.
When most brands create sports watches, they go for a substantial bracelet. While this can underscore the nature of the timepiece, Armin Strom highlights that there are different routes to achieving this. An interesting benefit of a more elegant bracelet is that the overall weight is kept in check, maximizing wearing comfort.
With a diameter of 43.4 mm, the Orbit is quite a large watch, 2.4 mm larger in diameter than the Gravity Equal Force. The reason for this is the date bezel. I could argue that 43.4 mm is too large, but size is never about just the numbers. On the wrist, even my modest wrist, the Orbit sits perfectly, is substantial, but definitely not too large, which surprised me. The Orbit has quite an easy-going character, which in part can also be credited to its great bracelet.
The best thing about its latest model is that Armin Strom is clearly moving into the future with a concept that it has mastered so well. The Orbit is tantalizing from a technical perspective but seduces you equally well with its good looks.
Armin Strom has integrated its technical aspects into its design language so well that the engineering makes it look good and the good-looking components help make it look more technical.
The only downside is that the Orbit was launched as a limited edition of just 25 pieces, which are already sold out. More will follow, and that is at least some good news as I have no problem declaring the Orbit the best watch with a date complication currently available.
Yes, I said it.
For more information, please visit arminstrom.com/en/collection/system-78/orbit-first-edition.
Quick Facts Armin Strom Orbit First Edition
Case: 43.4 x 12.6 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, column-wheel date
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Limitation: 25 pieces, sold out
Price: CHF 29,500