Although traditional mechanical movements are no longer the pinnacle of timekeeping accuracy they have been in the past, the science of mechanical horology is still a constantly evolving field with brands across the industry creating new and more efficient iterations on this centuries-old principle. Armin Strom is certainly no exception to this, as it demonstrated earlier this year with the Gravity Equal Force and its unique stop-works declutch system designed to transmit constant torque from the mainspring barrel to the balance. The original Gravity Equal Force in stainless steel was meant to be the starting point for the brand’s entry level System 78 series, and for the next iteration Armin Strom has returned to the line with a model in handsome 18k rose gold. This new Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force Gold adds a luxurious punch to the brand’s dynamic movement making expertise.
Armin Strom begins the Gravity Equal Force Gold with a 41mm case in 18k rose gold. The form is the same as the first Gravity Equal Force in stainless steel, dominated by a narrow polished bezel, an angular modern take on wire lugs, and a wide toothed pillbox crown. This minimal design helps to keep visual attention on the ornate movement work within, but the use of rose gold shifts the overall feel of the case from something cleanly utilitarian to a futuristic take on elegant minimalism. Of course, a sapphire display caseback is also provided for a second glimpse into the inner workings of this unorthodox movement.
Talking about the dial of the Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force Gold can be a bit misleading. Most of the grained black surface underneath the sapphire crystal is in fact the baseplate for the Calibre ASB19 automatic movement, with the main timekeeping display relegated to a large subdial at 9 o’clock. Like the case, the dial design here is lifted from the stainless steel Gravity Equal Force, with delicate Art Deco Arabic numerals, a snailed dial surface, and wide polished skeleton hands. The new black and gold colorway makes this a far more luxurious and easily legible affair than many of its stablemates, however, especially aiding with visibility on the 7:30 small seconds subdial.
The rest of the case’s real estate is taken up by the in-house Calibre ASB19 automatic movement. Dominated by three straight brushed bridges in rose gold, the movement layout is immediately striking with a modernist flair that still feels suitably luxurious compared to more ornately surfaced traditional offerings. The uppermost of these bridges houses the winding microrotor, housed inside a perlage finished cutout. Below this, the middle and shortest of the bridges puts much of the running gear train on display. It’s the bottom bridge, however, where the real uniqueness of the Calibre ASB19 comes to the fore. The main innovation of the movement is paired to this large exposed mainspring barrel, where an integrated stop-works declutch system helps to ensure smooth power delivery from the mainspring barrel to the movement. To put the engineering behind this into layman’s terms, one major hurdle to reliable mechanical movement accuracy is the delivery of torque from the mainspring into the balance. While for the majority of a watch’s power reserve, the energy released by the mainspring is relatively constant, a fully wound mainspring or one with barely any tension left can deliver either too much or too little torque into the movement, which can cause an otherwise accurate watch to gain or lose time. The declutch system acts to keep the mainspring in the optimum operating range, especially reducing the torque delivered to the balance while fully wound. The result, on paper at least, is a more consistently accurate mechanical movement, and the Calibre ASB19 is the first automatic powerplant to incorporate this element. The only complication of note here is an easily missed power reserve indicator on top of the mainspring barrel, which despite the rest of the Gravity Equal Force Gold’s improvements in legibility remains difficult to read at a glance. While the complex mechanisms behind the Calibre ASB19 theoretically offer significant gains in accuracy, actual performance figures are scarce, with the brand mentioning nothing beyond 72 hours of power reserve at a 25,200 bph beat rate.
In keeping with the overall black and rose gold motif, Armin Strom finishes the Gravity Equal Force Gold with a classic black leather alligator strap. Available with both a pin buckle and a butterfly deployant clasp in 18k rose gold, this simple option makes the Gravity Equal Force Gold a surprisingly versatile watch on the wrist, able to dress up or down respectably well.
The Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force Gold is the first precious metal addition to the brand’s new System 78 series, and attractively demonstrates that its comparatively simpler offerings need not be restricted to the realm of stainless steel. Available now through authorized dealers, the Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force Gold carries an MSRP of 26,900 CHF. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.