Former British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, once remarked, “A week is a long time in politics”. It is a statement frequently used in the corridors of power. Wilson was referring to the rapid pace that things can change in the world of politics.
History books are filled with former diplomatic crises seem to emerge from nowhere. Promising political careers have been known to come to an abrupt end when a sordid sexual scandal has been exposed. An unguarded comment or adverse publicity in a tabloid newspaper can see public opinion change with amazing alacrity. With the passage of time, Wilson’s words have become especially pertinent in the sphere of politics and his statement has been quoted many times over the years.
Armin Strom One Week Water – No small feat
Equally, a week is a long time in the world of haute horlogerie. To grant a timepiece with a prodigious power-reserve, measured in several days rather than mere hours, is no small technical feat. Watch companies often fit two or more spring barrels to extend the period the watch can function without the need for winding. Masters of metallurgy have sought to find the optimum recipe for the alloy mainspring, seeking to harness energy for increasing periods of time.
A preference for hand-wound watches
A hand-wound watch, absent of an oscillating mass, can deliver an unhindered view of the movement, assuming it has an exhibition case back. Moreover, a hand-wound watch allows more precise poising than a self-winding watch. A self-winding watch can also be heavily influenced by the activity level of the wearer. Extremes of lethargy or hyperactivity may effect the functioning of the timepiece.
Another reason I like hand-wound watches is the daily ritual of escaping from the frenetic pace of modern life and just taking a moment to carefully impart energy to the mainspring. It is a cathartic process that I particularly enjoy.
However, with the onset of years, I am becoming increasingly aware of age-related shortcomings. Besides experiencing hair loss, restricted hearing and worsening eye-sight, my memory fails me on repeated occasions. Regrettably, there are times when I forget my daily ritual only to find my trusted timepiece has stopped. Nevertheless, If I could only own one watch it would be hand-wound.
A hand-wound watch for the absentminded
Armin Strom has produced a watch which delivers the pleasure of winding a timepiece but with sufficient power reserve that the occasional episode of absentmindedness does not result in stagnant hour and minute hands.
The Armin Strom One Week Water is a hand-wound watch with an impressive power reserve of, as the name implies, one week. I recently had the opportunity of getting “hands-on” with the contemporary timepiece from Biel / Bienne and the experience was wonderful.
The watch is made in a small atelier in Biel / Bienne, a bi-lingual city which is home to large watch companies such as Rolex and Omega. However, Armin Strom is the antithesis of mass-manufacture, producing small numbers of watches. The One Week Water is strictly limited to 100 pieces. It is the scale of Armin Strom which delivers much appeal. They epitomise the “small is beautiful” philosophy.
Armin Strom One Week Water – A Manufacture
Nevertheless, despite being small, Armin Strom is vertically-integrated, remarkably crafting all movement components in-house, save for the mainsprings, assortments and jewels. Moreover, the movements and the watches as a whole, are crafted to an exalted standard. Such is my profound admiration for the company and its products that I recently ordered my own Armin Strom, a watch I immediately fell for within nano-seconds of making its acquaintance for the first time.
Part of the Armin Strom USP (Unique-Selling Proposition), are the open-worked dials. However, unlike some open-worked watches, there is no danger of seeing arm hair magnified in full technicolor horror. The approach by Armin Strom is to partially expose the inner components of the movement without providing a full front-to-back, see-through experience.
Armin Strom One Week Water – Visual appeal
The One-Week Water is not over-burdened with numerous complications. The inventory of functions is limited to hours, minutes, small seconds and power reserve. The latter two functions are delivered at 9 o’clock on one common sub-dial.
The visual appeal of the watch is the sight of the two going barrels located adjacent the crown. Moreover, look closely and you are able to readily discern the exceptional craftsmanship which the brand practises at its Manufacture.
The posterior view of the watch is no less revealing. The exhibition caseback exposes a large bridge, decorated with broad curving stripes. The “element” referenced on this model is “Water” and this is replicated on the gear train with a hand engraved wave pattern. This métiers d’art is a speciality of the maison, respecting a traditional craft and imparting it to its range of contemporary timepieces.
The watch measures 43.30 mm in diameter, sharing the same case dimensions as other Armin Strom Collections such as the Gravity, Manual and Tourbillon. The angled horns allow the strap to envelope the arm, according a very comfortable fit.
The blue horn-back alligator leather strap oozes luxury and further enhances the visual appeal of the One Week Water.
Armin Strom One Week Water – Closing remarks
Handling the One-Week Water reminded me why I love hand-wound watches. The beauty of the One-Week is it confers the joy of manually winding a watch but provides a forgetful mind several days of forgiveness should age-related absentmindedness rear its ugly head. Limited Edition of 100 pieces – price is about $24,000.
Armin Strom One Week Water – Technical Specification
- Stainless steel,
- Diameter 43.40 mm,
- Height 13.00 mm
- Water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres)
- Sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Calibre ARM09,
- Hand-wound movement,
- Frequency 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz),
- 34 jewels and 146 parts,
- Power reserve 7 days.
- Blue horn-back alligator leather strap supplied on a stainless steel pin buckle.
- Additional blue rubber strap.
- Stainless steel double fold clasp available at additional cost.
Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indicator.