Armin Strom launches a complex and casual skeletonized piece
With the Tourbillon Skeleton Earth, the Bienne-based brand gives proof of elegant watchmaking skills. It is an amazing piece that can easily be worn every day.
Air, water, earth and fire. Armin Strom has its own horological interpretation of the four elements. The black PVD-coated steel watch I am wearing is an unequivocal ode to the earth element and gives it an almost telluric power. The Tourbillon Skeleton Earth is skeletonized to allow for the movement's complexity and originality to be admired without hindering readability. The latter is in fact enhanced by the large hands and the slight opacity of the sapphire flange.
A series of multiple contrasts
The first thought that crosses one’s mind when wearing the piece for the first time is that it is comfortable but paradoxical. Let me explain: the watch is both sophisticated and extremely simple, like a baroque painting in a minimalist context. The movement's richness contrasts with the taut lines of the case, a signature of the brand. The lugs are so aggressive I would not be susrprised if I woke up one day to find them gnawing my bedside table.
There are more contrasts: the white topstitching on the strap's black leather – a splendid "Horn Black" alligator – is quite surprising at first but turns out to be quite convincing. The topstitching matches the white hands and gives the piece an almost-casual look. However, despite its casual skeletonization and tourbillon, it is clear at first glance that the watch features exceptional qualities, which makes it suitable for every occasion. I do not know why but it reminds me of an old “France Culture” advertisement with the following offbeat baseline: "Interior sign of richness".
The tourbillon and its small seconds hand emerge from the back of the watch at 9 o'clock, as if they have sprung from a well. They look like a hologram, an optical 3D fantasy that is enhanced by a skeletonization which perfectly reveals the various layers of the movement. The left-hand side of the watch is streamlined and the tourbillon seems to be levitating on it. In contrast, the right-hand side plays on complexity with a series of mechanical layers making up the movement's entire assembly.
The skeletonized double barrel is the last touch to the spectacle. When the watch is wound, the double barrel spins and the balance-springs stretch. The transition is elegant and asynchronous: it looks like two wire wheels spinning counter-clockwise and makes us almost regret the 10-day power reserve that prevents us from winding the watch as often as we would like. The symmetries on the dial are eye-catching: firstly, the two barrels and secondly, the former together with the tourbillon. The skeletonized plate visible through the sapphire case back magnifies the concentric circles around the three symmetric elements.
A further symmetry is found horizontally in the dial and it involves the geartrains around the crown and up to the hands' axis. And speaking of the axis, it is slightly off-centered towards 9 o'clock; a subtle reaffirmation of the originality of the movement. The sapphire flange, also off-centered, is affixed with applique indexes. It is larger at 3 o'clock where the Armin Strom logo is, and it becomes gradually thinner until it disappears from sight, as if swallowed by the tourbillon.