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Armin Strom reinvents the world's first date function displayed on a bezel in the new “Orbit”

24 Mar 2022

Armin Strom unveils a new creation endowed with a highly legible date driven by a column-wheel that can be activated and deactivated with the push of a button, all in a sporty package: meet the “Orbit” first edition, limited to 25 pieces.

With its System 78 collection, the independent Armin Strom manufacture seeks to create new and innovative expressions of fine watchmaking, with ingenious and practical world firsts executed in an unmistakable language of design. The latest addition to the line, the Orbit first edition, reinterprets the date – one of the most common watchmaking functions – by combining several complications in one in a totally new way.

Often present but rarely revisited, the date function is considered one of the most useful complications in mechanical watchmaking. More commonly displayed in a small aperture on the dial, or a pointer-style hand with the date on the periphery of the dial, the date function is a complication that has rarely been reimagined. And that’s precisely what Armin Strom sought to accomplish with the Orbit.

Claude Greisler, Co-Founder and Master Watchmaker at Armin Strom, recognized an opportunity. He says, “We wanted to create a new type of date display and function that looks good and reimagines a popular complication. No-one had ever created a watch displaying the date with an on/off function of this kind on the bezel. I love it because it’s a fun, exciting way to play with the date indication.”

Reimagining the date function

The Orbit’s most outstanding feature is its unprecedented and playfully imaginative date function. Entirely conceived, developed and built by the Armin Strom manufacture, the unique complication has been dubbed the “Column-Wheel Date”. As its name implies, the column- wheel drives the date mechanism, which is visible from the dial side. This system, typically found in chronograph mechanisms, enhances the date indicator’s stability and performance while also providing a satisfying and reassuring tactile experience when engaging and disengaging the date function.

The date is indicated on the bezel by a large central hand with a red “A” tip for Armin. The days of the month – 1 through 31 – are engraved in white around the circumference of the polished black ceramic bezel for a high-contrast and instantly readable effect.

The date hand essentially has two modes: stationary and active. When the date hand is in the stationary mode, it is essentially “off” and remains in its fixed position pointing at 12 o’clock, leaving the off-centred dial unobstructed. Using the pusher on the left side of the case, the date hand is ”engaged” and jumps to point at the correct date. In this mode, the date automatically advances once a day, at midnight. With another push of the button, the hand returns to its stationary position, with a mechanical memory allowing it to jump back to the correct date when required by the wearer. The retrograde mechanism allows the date hand to

jump back from 31 to 1, avoiding any confusion with the hand’s position when in the stationary mode. The date can be rapidly set using a corrector button on the 8 o’clock position of the case or can be advanced manually via the crown by advancing the time.

Based on the development of the Gravity Equal Force that was unveiled in 2019 as the world’s first automatic watch with equal force transmission, the Orbit’s movement delivers consistent power to the balance, with a power reserve of 72 hours. Its “stop-work” mechanism within the barrel prevents the mainspring from fully unwinding, thus leveraging only the part of the mainspring’s unwinding process that can deliver power most consistently.

And true to the manufacture’s unwavering commitment to offering true haute-horology craftsmanship across its entire collection, the movement is fully hand-finished and decorated with features such as chamfered and polished edges, polished chatons and perlage graining.

Designed for daily intrigue

Its unique functionality and ingeniously chronometric movement are not the only attributes that set the Orbit apart. Housed in a 43.4 mm stainless-steel case paired with an integrated steel bracelet, the design of the Orbit allows for the technical prowess of the unique column-wheel date complication as well as the micro-rotor mechanism and equal force barrel to take centre stage, all while adding a sporty allure.

The bezel immediately conveys a sense of performance and utility while remaining visually sleek. Perfectly smooth to the touch yet highly resistant to scratches, the bezel framing the micro-mechanical spectacle within is crafted in ultra-hard black ceramic, which is engraved and painted with the dates.

The offset dial is a black-gold colour, indicating the hours and minutes as well as the seconds on a separate counter. The numerals, hour markers and the hour and minute hands are filled with off-white Super-LumiNova® for optimal legibility in the dark. A rare feat for most watch manufactures, the steel hands are manufactured by Armin Strom and, like all the visible parts of the movement, are meticulously hand-finished in-house.

This first iteration of the Orbit is further distinguished by the fact that the three bridges – the barrel, the micro-rotor and winding bridges – are specially coated in black gold. A testament to its robustness and irreproachable performance, the first edition is offered with a 10-year warranty – twice as long as Armin Strom’s standard warranty.

Serge Michel, who co-founded Armin Strom with Claude Greisler, says, “The Orbit is a pioneering watch that enriches our collection. We took inspiration from the functional bezels on sports watches, and the result was this unique date placement, which is at once innovative, useful and aesthetically pleasing.”

With the Orbit, Armin Strom has created a singular timepiece that is innovative yet functional enough to be enjoyed daily by even the most discerning watch-lovers, and different enough to keep them permanently captivated.