Armin Strom Orbit Manufacture Edition: The Subtle Difference Is Black

And they were gone . . . Armin Strom’s Orbit First Edition sold out almost as fast as the hand of its on-demand date complication flies to the correct numeral. Granted, Armin Strom only made 25 of them, but the buzz that this watch created fuels the expectation that the company could have sold many more.

For a relatively small brand like Armin Strom with its innovative manufacture movements and strong belief in craftsmanship, scaling the production is not an easy thing, nor something that is always as desirable as it looks. However, creating watches that remain virtually unobtainable for most of one’s (potential) clients also isn’t. That is why Armin Strom is already releasing the second edition of the Orbit, which is also limited to 25 pieces.

Armin Strom Orbit Manufacture Edition on the wrist

I don’t usually like date indications, but . . . 

People who follow Quill & Pad know that I am not the biggest fan of the date complication. What it adds in relative practicality, it takes away double from the aesthetic appeal in my opinion. Granted, more and more brands are paying proper attention to this, working with colored date wheels that match the hue of the dial and using an attractive font for the numerals for example.

Armin Strom’s Orbit is different as it puts the date complication on center stage. Quite literally, as only the date hand operates from the center of the dial.

Armin Strom Orbit Manufacture Edition

The date is controlled by the column wheel visible just above the subdial indicating the time. Press the pusher above it once and the hand flies to the correct date. Push it again and it returns to its standard 12 o’clock resting position. The wearer can also leave the function activated and then the date hand will act as a regular date hand, jumping one numeral forward at midnight.

Caliber ASB19 powers the Armin Strom Orbit Manufacture Edition

So what’s new?

The difference between the First Edition and the Manufacture Edition is only limited to the color of the dial, and even that is a subtle one. Armin Strom changed it from anthracite to black. In reality, though, the difference is a bit more than that as the anthracite dial made it blend more in with the movement surrounding it, while the black dial matches the ceramic bezel with the dates. While a mere detail, it is the details that matter.

Armin Strom Orbit Manufacture Edition

I think that Armin Strom made the right decision to opt for a dial that puts the emphasis on the movement for the first version of the Orbit. Now that we have made our acquaintance with the exceptional execution of the date complication on the movement we already know from the Gravity Equal Force, it is time to evolve.

As the bezel and dial have the same color, one could say that the Manufacture Edition is a more traditional proposition. I find it a dash sportier as well. Again, these are subtle differences, but details that I very much appreciate as Armin Strom also could have introduced a green version.

Armin Strom Orbit Manufacture Edition

While I usually am a big fan of this color – just look at my name – I have developed a bit of fatigue. That said, as I don’t expect the demand for the Orbit to fade anytime soon, it is likely that Armin Strom will release other editions in other colors. If the brand’s designers are open to suggestions, I am a big fan of the California Blue version of the Tribute 1 . . .

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Quick Facts Armin Strom Orbit Manufacture 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
Price: CHF 29,500

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