Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Earth

No Secrets

The Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Earth is an open-worked watch featuring an impressive 8-day power reserve. 

Image of Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Earth

When a young child goes to nursery for the first time, everything is new. Suddenly, they mix with several children at once, play new games and eat unfamiliar foods. I still remember collecting both of my children from nursery for the first time. They were like flower buds, eager to unfurl and tell me about the experiences they had encountered during their day.

Each occasion I walked home with them and we engaged in conversation, their accounts were frank and included all the minutiae most adults would set aside. There were no secrets, everything was declared. On the odd occasion that they had been naughty, their non-verbal behaviour would betray them and a full confession would soon ensue.

As my children have grown older, the amount of information they choose to share with me has diminished. Indeed, openness is inversely proportional to age. With maturity less information is divulged and the number of secrets increases.

However, Armin Strom has cast aside this theory with its Skeleton Pure Earth watch. The company has much experience at crafting open-worked timepieces and has continued this theme, being very honest in declaring virtually every component of this fascinating timepiece. Indeed, there are no secrets.

The dial

The hour and minute hands feature luminescent fill, subscribing to the house style which is found on virtually all the brand’s models.

Image of Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Earth

Armin Strom invariably presents the hour track on an off-centre dial ring, biased to the left. This accords sufficient space, adjacent the crown, for a small cartouche proclaiming the watchmaker’s nomen. However, unlike most other Armin Strom models the dial ring on the Pure Earth is formed of sapphire. It features ‘founded appliques’ and grants a wonderful view of the components beneath which are usually hidden from sight.

At 9 o’clock, a small seconds display resides. It features a silver hued hand, collaborating with orange markings on a sapphire crystal circlet. In addition, a further hand, black with a red tip, conveys the state of wind.

This movement beguiles with its open disclosure of the numerous movement parts within. Behind a pane of sapphire crystal many of the 146 movement components can be seen. Winding the watch showcases both barrels revolving in union, enchanting the wearer with a glorious mechanical spectacle.

There are a myriad of parts and surfaces visible via the dial-side sapphire crystal and it would be logical to assume that this would mar ease of read off. It doesn’t. The dial shares its secrets without clouding the objective of proclaiming the time. Indeed, this watch imparts time eloquently, with bold hands and a clearly marked dial ring conferring intelligible dialogue with the wearer.

The case

Armin Strom often reference the four elements with its models, ‘Water’, ‘Fire’, ‘Air’ and ‘Earth’. Each model features a specific case material and colourway. The Earth is supplied in a stainless steel case featuring black PVD treatment. The juxtaposition of the open dial with the mysterious character of the case works very well and provides both contrast and harmony at the same time.

Image of Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Earth

The case measures 43.40mm in diameter with a case height of 13.00mm. The case design and size are common to most models across the Armin Strom range. I am very familiar with this case design, having worn several Armin Strom timepieces over the years, and can attest that the wearer comfort is excellent. Indeed, the Armin Strom Gravity Water ranks as one of the most comfortable watches I have ever worn.

Image of Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Earth

The crown is sizeable, aiding adjustment and winding but without imposing itself upon the wrist or causing any annoying red marks.

The watch is equipped with a sapphire caseback, allowing light to flood through the watch, heightening the visibility of the numerous components housed within the case. Furthermore, the rearmost pane of sapphire crystal allows sight of the balance and other movement parts.

The movement

The hand-wound Calibre ARM09-S has a prodigious power reserve of 8 days. The balance oscillates to a frequency of 18,000 VpH (2.5Hz) and the movement contains 34 jewels.

Image of Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Earth

While Armin Strom may be a comparatively small company, its expertise at making movements is colossal. The company is a true ‘manufacture’ making screws, pinions, levers, bridges, plates and springs. Armin Strom’s Biel workshops are full of state of the art plant, granting it a degree of independence seldom found elsewhere and especially unusual for an independent brand of its modest size.

The twin barrels feature open-worked barrel covers, allowing the wearer to view the state of wind. Turning the crown causes both barrels to rotate in union, pirouetting like a pair of ballerinas. Each barrel bridge is open-worked and beautifully bevelled, providing a visual highlight of the dialscape.

Rotating the watch and inspecting it from the rear provides dorsal views of the spring barrel, the balance bridge and the escapement, including the screwed balance. I especially appreciate the sight of the crown wheel and castle wheel via an aperture adjacent the crown. The open-worked design of the movement keeps delivering gorgeous views wherever your eyes choose to dwell.

Beyond the architecture of the movement is the notably high standard of finishing of the hand-wound Calibre ARM09-S. All movement components are beautifully decorated and everything is presented to an impeccable level.

Closing remarks

This is a beautifully crafted timepiece, granting sight of each internal component while conferring magnificent levels of wearer comfort and proving easy to read.

Armin Strom first crafted its own movement, the ARM09 calibre, in 2009, but in a comparatively short time it has shown an amazing capacity to repeatedly delight with its watchmaking know-how.

The Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Earth reveals its inner thoughts which are virtuous and blemish free. The finishing is excellent with no failures to impair the joy of ownership. This is a watch which has no secrets, just a plethora of qualities and notable purity.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Earth
  • Reference: ST15-PE.40
  • Case: Stainless Steel PVD Black; diameter 43.40 mm; height 13.00 mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indicator.
  • Movement: Calibre ARM-09S, Hand-wound movement; frequency 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz); 34 jewels; power reserve 8 days; 146 parts.
  • Strap: Black horn-back alligator leather strap supplied on a steel PVD black pin buckle as well as an additional black rubber strap.
  • Price: CHF 32,400 (RRP as at 10.2.2017)
  • Limited Edition: 100 pieces

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Angus Davies

Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.