We all think we ‘know’ bezels, but what we know is what we are used to seeing. Which is not what is on Armin Strom’s new “Orbit”, which has something very unusual – a pointer date function displayed on the bezel, rather than around the periphery of the dial.
This point of difference in the “Orbit” First Edition is a central date that driven by a column-wheel that can be activated and deactivated with the push of a button.
When we hear/ read ‘column wheel’, the tendency is to think of the chronograph function with which they are commonly associated. For this new piece, the red-tipped central date hand is driven in the same manner as a chronograph hand, which is why the function can be stopped and started in the same manner.
To elaborate – the date hand has two modes, stationary and active, and is basically ‘on demand’. When disengaged (or ‘off’) the hand returns to a ‘neutral’ state, pointing at the red “DATE” at 12 o’clock on the black engraved ceramic fixed bezel. When activated by the pusher on the left side of the case, the central date hand is ‘engaged’ and jumps to the current date.
When in this active mode, the date automatically advances 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 bezel date complication is retrograde. The hand never points to the current date except when the complication is disengaged, meaning there can never be any uncertainty as to whether it’s active or not.
The retrograde mechanism allows the date hand to jump back from 31 to 1. The date can be set using a corrector button on the 8 o’clock or advanced manually via the crown..
If they so choose, the wearer can leave the date function active, whereupon it will operate like a regular pointer date, changing over at midnight.
Powering this new complication is the automatic Armin Strom Calibre ASS20, which beats at 25,200 VPH and has a power reserve of 72 hours. You will note the similarities to the Gravity Equal Force (2019) movement (a recent variant of which we covered last year, including some skeletonisation, along with the three horizontal bridges, It features hand-finishing, polished and chamfered edges, polished chatons, and perlage.
This rather interesting new watch from Armin Strom comes in a 43.4mm stainless-steel case on an integrated steel bracelet, with a water resistance of 50m. The “Orbit” First Edition is in a limited edition of 25 pieces and has an RRP of CHF 29,500.
[Photo credit: Armin Strom]