Armin Strom Celebrates its 15th Birthday: from One-Man Band to Fully Integrated Manufacture

15 years ago, Armin Strom transformed from a one-man show to a fully integrated manufacture brand when entrepreneur Serge Michel and master watchmaker Claude Greisler took over the reins.

Armin Strom co-founders Serge Michel (left) and Claude Greisler

Armin Strom was established in 1967 in Bienne/Biel Switzerland, by Mr Armin Strom, a legend in the art of hand-skeletonization.

Since 2009, the two childhood friends have been dedicating their lives to the science of movement, building up an independent manufacture with a team of 38, including 22 skilled watchmakers able to turn raw steel bars into hundreds of complex, interconnected watch components.

So far, this has resulted in 17 brand-unique different calibres with a signature open-worked design divided among the brand’s three main pillars: System 78, Resonance and Masterpiece.

Armin Strom 15-Year Timeline

After Claude and Serge inaugurated the Armin Strom manufacture in Biel/Bienne, it only took a year for the brand to present its first inhouse timepiece and movement in 2010 – the “One Week,” with a seven-day power reserve.

The following year, in 2011, it started a partnership with the Formula 1 Marussia Virgin Racing team, where Armin Strom was not only a sponsor: engine parts from F1 cars were melted and used for movement parts in the models created for this collaboration.

In 2012 came Armin Strom’s first in-house tourbillon, while three years later, in 2015, the brand received the first of its three Red Dot Awards for the design of the Skeleton Pure Water.

In 2016, the first Mirrored Force Resonance was introduced, with a patented resonance clutch solution that generates resonance for improved chronometric precision and consistency – an invention that was a horological break-through and instrumental to the brand’s current identity.

In 2018, the world’s first Dual Time Resonance saw light of day. With two completely independent time displays driven by independent movements in resonance, it became the start of Armin Strom’s “Masterpiece” collection.

This collection grew in 2019, with the Minute Repeater Resonance – the world’s first chiming resonance wristwatch.

The same year, Armin Strom released the world’s first automatic watch with a patented equal force transmission mechanism, the Gravity Equal Force. Several inventions followed – the 2021 Tribute 1, which reinterprets the classic dress watch in a modern way while including an innovative motor barrel that increases efficiency; the 2022 Orbit, the world’s first watch with an on-demand date indicated on the bezel; and in 2023 a return to the brand’s roots with a new iteration of the One Week, though completely reimagined with a new movement and a new design.

The movements Armin Strom has developed and manufactured over the last 15 years

“From day one, we embraced a refined openwork design approach with our watches. This is because we want to highlight the labour, precision and dedication poured into each piece – a true reflection of our Swiss-German timepiece-manufacturing philosophy based on the science of movement,” said Claude, who recharges his batteries by ski touring in the nearby Alps.

“The hard work has paid off – not only do we now have collectors around the world, but we have also built up a fantastic in-house team. And later this year we will release a new timepiece that truly encapsulates our 15 years of know-how and innovation,” continued Serge, who not only is a great watchmaking enthusiast but is also the co-owner of a legendary music festival in Switzerland.

Armin Strom Mirror Force Resonance Clutch Spring and Bridge assembly

Each component used in Armin Strom’s instantly recognisable architecture of transparent mechanics is carefully hand-finished in-house with decorations meeting the highest haute horology standards: polished bevels; black polishing; Geneva stripes; perlage; straight graining; matt, frosted and tremblage finishes; circular graining; or dramatically sun-brushed surfaces.

All Armin Strom movements are handcrafted, with 97% movement components developed, made and finished in-house. And before leaving the manufacture each watch is assembled twice and thoroughly tested to obtain the highest possible quality.

This time-consuming approach is also linked with the brand’s entrepreneurial ancestor Mr. Armin Strom, who used to say that “When you devote as much time as I do perfecting a watch movement, you grow very fond of your watch.”

Armin Strom Fun Facts

Little did Serge and Claude know, when they were eight years old and first started hanging out in Mr. Armin Strom’s workshop in the village of Burgdorf, that they would one day transform a little workshop specialising in skeletonising watches into an independent manufacture, realising their long-held dream of building their own watches.

Yet here they are, and the brand Armin Strom will continue its independent quest for innovation, precision, and perfection – traditional watchmaking savoir-faire with a modern twist.

As Serge stated, “15 years is perhaps not a long time in the watch industry – but it is a nice number of years for an independent brand, through which we have been able to build a unique, Swiss-German horological identity with instantly recognisable designs, technical mastery and remarkable finishings.”

And, according to Claude, the future of Armin Strom is bright. “We have a lot of innovations up our sleeve, some to be presented in 2024. We are ready to dedicate another 15 years to the science of movement.”

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