This time, we are bringing you our hands-on review of the Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Water, one of the winners at the 2015 Red Dot Product Design Awards. For those of you not familiar with the Red Dot Award, this competition dates back to 1955 and is organized by Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen. With more than 17,000 entries each year is one of the best-respected design competitions in the world. The sought-after award, the “Red Dot”, is the revered international seal of outstanding design quality. You can read more about it here. Now, back to our hands-on review of this Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Water, made by a very exclusive independent brand by nature and also one with a very limited production of around 500 pieces a year —all of them of course handmade. Just to put things in perspective, Rolex makes one million watches a year and a more exclusive brand like Breguet, close to 30,000. The live images under natural light you'll see here, will give you the best idea of what we are talking about, when it comes to a brand like Armin Strom which is known to be a true master of skeletonization. The Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Water ref. ST15-PW.05 with its mirror polished stainless steel case is one of those watches that catches your eye immediately, but if you're not a real watchlifestyler, will leave you guessing for hours what brand it is. That's something we love so much about exclusive independent brands. The Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Earth like all other Armin Strom timepieces, is fitted with a case measuring 43.4 mm in diameter and 13.4 mm thick. As explained before, Armin Strom names most of their watches based on the four terrestrial elements: Earth —Blackened PVD stainless Steel—, Air —titanium—, Fire —18K rose gold— and Water —mirror polished stainless steel. If you prefer blackened PVD, you can see our review here.
Composed of a gorgeous sapphire ring with applied blued markers and a white minute track, the dial is designed to proudly display the art of skeletonization mastered by this manufacture. Featuring off-centered hour/minutes hands and a running seconds indicator with superimposed 8-day power reserve indicator at 9 o'clock, this is a watch where the brand decided to not leave anything to the imagination and go with extreme skeletonization, to the point where even the double barrels where skeletonized in the best shape and form to give the wearer a real treat for the eyes. The hands feature applied luminova and at night they glow bright and long. The dial is further elevated by the blue accents on the running seconds and on the Armin Strom inscription on the sapphire ring at 3 o'clock.
The Case & Strap
Finished with the utmost care, the case features mirror polished bezel and lugs and satin brushed caseband. The case is very nicely done with a very lustrous finish and with its iconic lip at 6 o'clock that can be engraved with the owner's initials. Fitted with a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides, the visibility of the dial is never compromised by unwanted glare. The watch is equipped with a dark blue hornback strap with white contrast stitching. The watch is typically delivered with an additional blue rubber strap and a double-fold clasp is available as an option for those of you that don't like the tang/ardillon buckles.
The beating heart inside the Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Water is the 8-day power reserve manual wound in-house calibre ARM09-S Pure composed of 146 parts, 34 jewels and which provides a power reserve of 8 days while beating at a frequency of 18,000 vph. The exquisitely finished movement —and we are really not exaggerating—, is fully visible via the sapphire crystal display case back coated with anti-reflective treatment on both sides to make things appear even better. The limited edition information is engraved on the balance cock.
On the Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the watch wears true to its size and overall just very nice. This is the type of watch that only connoisseurs will be wearing and one that when you walk into a room full of gold Rolexes, you'll be wearing with even more pride. One thing we love about independent brands like Armin Strom besides their designs and exquisite finishes, is that you'll rarely run into another watchlifestyler wearing the same watch you are wearing. This watch is available in a limited edition of 100 pieces.
Sticker Price $33,400 USD. For more info on Armin Strom click here.