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Hands-on Review: Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

When we first handled the new Gravity Equal Force model by Armin Strom, our initial thought was how the Swiss brand could deliver a Fine Watchmaking timepiece of this level at such a competitive price. We rarely start our reviews from pricing but, in this case, we have to.

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

The Gravity Equal Force combines together a truly original design, a proprietary self-winding movement with original technical solutions, and finishes that you would expect to find only in timepieces way more expensive.

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

By positioning the Gravity Equal Force at Swiss Francs 16,900, Armin Strom offers to watch enthusiasts the possibility to access the world of Haute Horlogerie (and not simply that of luxury timepieces) with an in-house manufactured and hand-finished watch model whose quality/price ratio is undoubtedly exceptional.

While we hope that our photographs are good enough to make you appreciate it, we must remark that the watch is more impressive in the metal than in pictures. At least, this was our impression when we could finally see it for real.

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Introduced last November, the Gravity Equal Force is a completely new timepiece in the Armin Strom product range, the first of a new collection whose name - System 78 - refers to 1978, the year when Serge Michel and Claude Greisler, co-founders of the modern Armin Strom, were born.

The smallest watch in the current Armin Strom catalogue, the Gravity Equal Force comes in a well proportioned stainless steel case that measures 41 mm in diameter and whose lines are highlighted by the alternation of satin-brushed and polished surfaces. 12.65 mm thick, the case offers water resistance up to a pressure of 3 bar (approximately 30 metres / 100 feet).

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Armin Strom timepieces have always been characterized by the small "lip" positioned on the bezel at 6 o’clock, a hallmark of the brand designed to offer a surface for personalizing the watch with engraved initials. In the Gravity Equal Force, this recognizable element has been streamlined in a nice way making it smaller while leaving it there as a signature of the brand.


Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

The angular lugs and the large crown further contribute to the distinctive look of the watch that, thanks to its ideal size, sits very comfortably on the wrist (the wrist in our pictures is 17.7 cm / 7"). This model retains all its appeal whether you wear it with a suit in a business environment or you match it to a casual or sporty outfit.

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Framed by a slim polished bezel, the front face of the Gravity Equal Force is an invitation to the discovery of the various elements and different finishes used to enhance them.

The well readable off-center dial indicates hours and minutes with a small snailed sub-dial to display the running seconds. Like the rest of the watch, the typical stainless steel hands are in-house manufactured and hand-finished.

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Purple in the model that we used for our review, the dial is available in other five variations: black, blue, copper, grey, purple, and white.

Above and below, some of the configurable elements - dials and plates - of the Gravity Equal Force model. The Armin Strom website (link at the end of the article) offers a fun product configurator.


On the right, the eye is attracted by the geometries of the triplet of bridges that support the barrel in the lower part and the highly efficient unidirectionally winding micro rotor on top.

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

What we see is not just aesthetically pleasing but also very interesting from a technical point of view. In fact, the barrel integrates a new solution that helps transmitting equal force - hence the name of the model - to the balance, thus increasing the consistency of rate. This solution pursues the same goals of complications like the fusée-chain transmission or the constant force escapement in a different way.

Inside the mainspring barrel, a stop-works declutch system operates to limit the torque delivered to the balance, smoothly distributing power. This is a complete first for an automatic winding movement.

More specifically, it is thanks to a Geneva wheel (aka Maltese cross) mounted to the barrel housing cover that the rotation of the mainspring barrel is limited to just 9 full turns out of a possible 12.5. This represents the central 72% of the mainspring’s potential torque curve, the flattest and most consistent portion. As the barrel housing unwinds around the arbor, a pin counts the rotations on the Geneva wheel until it reaches the locked position and prevents further unwinding.

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

This limit keeps the power delivery to the balance as consistent as possible and the amplitude in optimal range. Once it reaches the upper limit, the declutch mechanism guarantees the slip of the mainspring and allows the micro rotor to turn evenly when fully wound. Even if it uses only a portion of the mainspring by preventing it from completely unwinding, the Armin Strom manufacture Caliber ASB19 still delivers a comfortable power reserve of 72 hours or 3 days.

On the barrel cover you can read the inscription EQUAL FORCE BARREL and see a power reserve indicator whose position continuously changes as the watch is wound.

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Together with the new stop-works declutch mechanism, the barrel also features an unconventional construction. Usually, most mainsprings rotate inside the barrel around the arbor, which means higher friction and less precise rotation. In its barrel, Armin Strom reversed this approach so that the barrel housing stays locked after winding, allowing the well supported and more precise arbor to rotate and drive the going train. This system revealed to be more precise and stable during operation of the movement.

The amazing architecture of the 202-component movement and its superior finishes can be admired through the sapphire crystal case back.

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

The central inscription remarks that the ASB19 calibre was designed and manufactured in house by Armin Strom, adjusted in all positions and fitted with 28 jewels. The balance wheel with 4 regulating screws beats steadily at the frequency of 3,5 Hz (25,200 vibrations per hour).

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Plate and bridges are decorated at the highest quality level with hand-bevels, straight graining and Geneva circular graining.

The black alligator leather strap is secured to the wrist by a perfectly engineered and executed deployant clasp in stainless steel.

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

With the Gravity Equal Force (ref. ST19-GEF.90.AL.M.35), Armin Strom brings to the market a fine watchmaking timepiece that can appeal both the classically-inclined collector and the watch enthusiast attracted by a bolder design. The combination of technical innovation, in-house manufacturing, impeccable finishing and attractive pricing makes this timepiece highly desirable. arminstrom.com


Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force


Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

COMMENTS

BLOGGER: 3
  1. Excellent review of an awesome watch. Enjoyed it a lot. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Independent watchmakers are creating the best watches. They demonstrate more creativity than the companies from large groups. I think the problem is in the management, not in the quality of watchmakers.

    ReplyDelete

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Time and Watches | The watch blog: Hands-on Review: Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force
Hands-on Review: Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force
When we first handled the new Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force, our initial thought was how the Swiss brand could deliver a Fine Watchmaking timepiece of this level at such a competitive price. We rarely start our reviews from pricing but, in this case, we have to. Positioning the Gravity Equal Force at CHF 16,900, Armin Strom offers to watch enthusiasts the possibility to access the world of Haute Horlogerie an in-house manufactured and hand-finished watch model whose quality/price ratio is undoubtedly exceptional.
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