ransparent mechanics on full display are a driving force for the Armin Strom manufacture, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Orbit. The most recent addition to the System 78 collection, which is the manufacture’s line of inventive and unexpected haute horlogerie creations in its purest form, the First Edition of the Orbit was unveiled in March 2022. Now, the Orbit returns as permanent Manufacture Edition with a sporty aesthetic.
The Orbit completely reimagines one of the most useful and ubiquitous watch functions in existence: the date. By combining several complications into one, the “Column-Wheel Date” is a singularly creative and refreshing take on a complication that’s rarely ever revisited. Entirely conceived, developed and built in-house by Armin Strom, the Orbit flips the script by offering a new and unprecedented implementation of the date, with its inventive mechanics entirely visible on the dial side.
As its name implies, the column-wheel mechanism drives the date indicator, which is visible from the dial side. This system, typically found in chronograph mechanisms, improves the date indicator’s stability and performance while also providing a satisfying and reassuring tactile experience when engaging and disengaging the date function. Indicated on the black engraved ceramic bezel by a large central hand with a red “A” tip for Armin, the date hand essentially has two modes: stationary and active.
When the date hand is in the stationary mode, it is “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 instantaneously jumps to point at the correct date, then 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 disengaged 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.
Further enhancing the three-dimensional mechanical appeal of the Orbit Manufacture Edition is the movement itself. Based on the development of the Gravity Equal Force – 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. Renewing and evolving the wisdom and principles of watchmaking from centuries past, its “stop-work” mechanism is a clever solution to providing more consistent torque from the barrel by preventing the mainspring from fully unwinding, thus leveraging only the part of the mainspring’s unwinding process that can deliver power most consistently. This marks the first time that such a mechanism is incorporated in an automatic wristwatch movement.
And like all Armin Strom creations, the manufacture movement is finished to high standards reserved for the upper echelon of haute horlogerie. Hand-finished and decorated elements include chamfered and polished edges on the bridges, polished chatons and perlage graining on the main plate.
Envisioned as a piece of haute horlogerie for daily active wear, particular attention was paid to the overall ergonomics and aesthetic of the Orbit Manufacture Edition. Rugged yet sophisticated at the same time, the Orbit ushers a new category for Armin Strom: Men’s complications in a sporty package. Perfectly integrated with the 43.4 mm stainless-steel case, the bracelet of the Orbit was carefully designed to offer a minimalistic look that doesn’t take away from the micromechanical spectacle within. Superbly finished with alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces, the surprising slimness of the steel bracelet makes it exceedingly comfortable.
Compared to the First Edition which predominantly features dark grey “black gold” coating, the Orbit Manufacture Edition emphasizes contrast and sporty sleekness with a black offset dial and silvery rhodium coated bridges. The dial occupying the left side of the display indicat es the hour s and minutes as well as the seconds on a separate counter The numerals, hour markers and hour and minute hands are filled with off white Super LumiNova® for optimal legibility in the dark A rare feat for most watch manufactures, t he steel hands are manufactured by Armin Strom and like all the visible parts of the movement, are meticulously hand finished in house.
Technically tantalizing and visually compelling, the versatile and unequalled Orbit Manufacture Edition now officially joins Armin Strom’s core collection and opens new avenues of creativity and mechanical marvels for the independent manufacture. While the Manufacture Edition is not a limited edition, it will be produced in limited quantities.
- Orbit – Manufacture Edition
- Reference no. ST22-OR.90
- Indications: Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve indicator, date
- Movement: Armin Strom manufacture Caliber ASS20
- Automatic winding with micro rotor, Geneva-drive equal force barrel, offset display with subdial seconds, Column-Wheel Date
- Regulating system: Balance wheel with 4 regulating screws
- Power reserve: Geneva stop-work limited to 72 hours
- Dimensions: 35.52 mm x 8.42 mm
- Frequency: 3.5 Hz (25,200 vph)
- Finishing: Hand-finishing to the highest quality level
- Jewels: 30
- Number of components: 273
- Case: Stainless steel, ceramic fixed bezel
- Sapphire crystal and caseback with anti-reflective treatment
- Diameter: 43.4 mm
- Height: 12.6 mm
- Water resistance: 5 ATM
- Dial: Black, numbers and indexes with Super-LumiNova® filling
- Hands: Manufactured by Armin Strom, steel with hand finishing and Super-LumiNova® filling
- Bracelet: Stainless-steel with a double folding clasp