There is no substitute for getting close to a timepiece before forming an opinion on its specification. Armin Strom embraces a new design language with its latest timepiece, the Edge Double Barrel, a watch which deserves close inspection.
Often at weekends, numerous alpha males assemble at various venues around the globe and participate in motorsport events. They explore the limits of grip and performance indulging an inner thirst for adrenaline and a competitive desire for podium glory. The very nature of motor racing is that it is inherently dangerous and necessitates bravery on the part of each participant. Observing a race from an armchair might be safer but doesn’t deliver the true thrill of wheel to wheel competition.
Ascending the rocky façade of a mountain, employing merely skill and the tenacious grip of outstretched fingers and limpet-like toes, holds much appeal to those individuals who yearn to explore the extremes of their physical and mental ability. Indeed, it is only by exploring the edge of human performance that some courageous souls feel truly alive.
Part of my personal attraction towards independent Armin Strom watch brands is that they often do not play it safe with conventional, mainstream designs but instead choose to exhibit audacious aesthetics and, in so doing, take risks. There are some examples where this daring approach to styling can prove disastrous but, conversely, on other occasions the outcome is splendid.
I have previously waxed-lyrical about Armin Strom, the independent watch company based in Biel / Bienne, reviewing several of its contemporary timepieces. Indeed, I remain the proud owner of a Gravity Water and appreciate its plethora of admirable qualities.
Until recently, virtually all Armin Strom models shared a similarly designed 43.4mm case and as a result whenever I have placed an Armin Strom upon my arm in the past I have been rewarded with a very comfortable union with my wrist.
Just prior to Baselworld 2016, I received a press release from Armin Strom announcing the forthcoming debut of a new model, the Edge Double Barrel. Whilst this new design shares a family likeness with other Armin Strom timepieces, it clearly embraces new aesthetic codes. More pertinently, the scale of the watch has grown, measuring 46.8mm in diameter. I confess, the notion of a larger case did cause me some concern at the time of reading the press release. I have worn similarly sized watches in the past only to find them too cumbersome and the crown prone to chafing my skin. However, I elected to reserve judgement until an intimate encounter could ensue.
To my delight, placing the Edge Double Barrel upon my wrist at Baselworld proved very agreeable, demonstrating I need not have worried about the vital statistics of this new watch. The styling of the case confers a gentle interaction with the arm and does not unduly protrude or inhibit free movement of the wrist. Moreover, within seconds of making the acquaintance with the Edge Double Barrel its seductive gaze and handsome mien enticed me to appraise its specification closely.
The Edge Double Barrel, in common with other Armin Strom watches, features an off-centre dial display, biased towards the left.
Steel hour and minute hands, lined with white fill, interact with hour markers which are delivered with bold Arabic numerals. The numerical depiction of each hour represents a first for the brand. Previously, hours have been denoted only at 3, 6 and 12 o’clock or using simple batons. By embracing this design aspect, Armin Strom has imbued the Edge Double Barrel with a greater degree of sportiness.
Located at 9 o’clock, a subdial combines a centrally-positioned power-reserve indicator with a small running seconds display encircling the periphery.
Consistent with the Armin Strom brand DNA, the Edge Double Barrel embraces open-working to sublime effect. Where this model differs from its siblings is with the use of angular, straight-edged bridges and ‘spider-shaped crown wheels’. The resultant appearance effervesces with stylish modernity.
An unusual ‘cross-grinding decoration’ of the hand beveled bridges proffers a fresh, masculine and robust appearance which differentiates the Edge Double Barrel from other timepieces.
The display sits close to the sapphire crystal, accentuating the depths of each visible component and masterfully exploiting the three dimensional quality of the dial vista.
As previously stated, the stainless steel PVD black case measures 46.80mm in diameter with a case height of 13.20mm, although It’s matt appearance helps mitigate the sense of scale. Moreover, the stepped crown guards harmoniously draw the crown close, according a cohesive and neat appearance to the case.
The bezel design is new, featuring 11 v-shaped cut-outs which augment the visual interest of the case still further. The Edge Double Barrel sports the maison’s ‘lip’ on the bezel adjacent 6 o’clock.
Gracing the rear of the case is an exhibition caseback, revealing more of the calibre ARM16 manufacture movement. The timepiece is presented on a black alligator strap with contrasting white stitching and also comes supplied with an additional black rubber strap.
The Calibre ARM16 manufacture movement is hand-wound. By turning the crown the wearer is indulged with some delightful horological showboating. It would be an inert soul who did not smile as the spider-shaped crown wheels, visible dial-side turn, impart energy to the twin barrels. This free disclosure of the movement’s thought processes has always been a major reason for my affection for Armin Strom watches.
Armin Strom has suffused the Edge Double Barrel with a distinct character all of its own. Whilst traditional finissage is in evidence with hand-beveled bridges, the ‘cross-grinding decoration’ is overtly modern, according an almost distressed appearance.
Despite the contemporary detailing of the movement, purists will no-doubt appreciate the screwed balance with Breguet overcoil and the impressive 8-day power reserve. Indeed, the prowess of the Calibre ARM16 is that it expertly navigates between traditional craftsmanship and admirable ingenuity.