Armin Strom, the founder from whom the firm takes its name, was born in 1938 in Lotzwil in the Canton of Bern. Later he trained in watchmaking before going on to acquire his first independent business experience in Lotzwil and St. Moritz.
He opened his own specialist watch store in the old city of Burgdorf. Besides selling and restoring watches he soon began to create his own timepieces in the workshop behind the salesrooms.
His first masterpiece was a gold pocket watch with a hand-engraved movement and a dial made of polished blue lapis lazuli. With his exceptional manual dexterity and love of detail, the ambitious watchmaker soon decided to specialise in the art of skeletonizing.
Armin Strom set about making skeletonized watch movements with the utmost care. The remaining components are engraved and ornamented with meticulous attention to detail before being fitted into precious cases. Shown only in his personal store to begin with, in the very next year his creations could already be admired at the prestigious International Watch and Jewellery Fair in Basel.
This woman’s model entered the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest hand-skeletonised watch. Today it remains unsurpassed in style and size.
In the 1990s his fine reputation and international acclaim brought him major orders from prestigious watch companies for which he went on to skeletonize several series by hand.
The limited company was now incorporated. Demand for watches made by this traditional enterprise continued to grow. The brand was developed further on the basis of a convincing strategy. Sustainable business growth and winning new markets required further financial investments, along with the development of new collections.
Serge Michel, owner, and Claude Greisler, director, now built up the manufacture. Targeted investments in the latest production machinery enabled the young company to gain increasing independence from outsider suppliers. The aim was to exist as a manufacturing facility in its own right and build watch movements developed in-house from square one.
The fresh investments were already followed in November by the presentation of the first in-house calibre, the ARM09. Great freedom to take decisions with correspondingly short decision-making routes also bring the necessary flexibility and the opportunity to gain rapid access to the market.
Presentation of the One Week Collection with the ARM09 hand-wound movement at Baselworld. This series embodies the modern style of movement finishing without neglecting important traditional values. Armin Strom’s watchmaking tradition of skeletonizing lives on in a modern form in these watches with their special movement architecture.
Presentation of the Racing Collection. Individual components are made from the engine block of an F1 racing car. Delivered from England, the material is melted down in a small art foundry at St. Gallen and rolled out; the watch movement components are then milled from the small finished slabs of metal.
The watch manufacture now joined the highly exclusive circle of watch brands which develop and manufacture their own tourbillon calibre in-house. The tourbillon of the new ATC11 watch movement features distinctive pallets in 18 carat white gold as well as the exclusive design of the balance and seconds pinion on the same arbor. The tourbillon was put on display in an exclusive “coffret” on a world tour in November.
With the hand-engraved One Week Skeleton, Armin Strom made its founder’s dream come true: creation of a skeleton watch produced entirely in the firm’s own manufacturing facility.
The Skeleton Pure Collection followed in November. The bottom plates are enhanced by 3D-PVD coating; the going train and barrel bridges are plated with rhodium or ruthenium in the in-house electroplating department.
At the 2015 International Red Dot Design Award Competition, the Skeleton Pure Water gained an award for excellence in product design. This timepiece made of stainless steel won the award in the “Watch” category.