Monochrome And Armin Strom Team Up For The Montre De Souscription 3 Gravity Equal Force Maillechort
Our friends at Monochrome have teamed up with Armin Strom for their third Montre de Souscription limited edition. The result is a unique new version of Armin Strom’s Gravity Equal Force watch. In keeping with the online watch magazine’s name, the new version comes in a gray color scheme. It is monochromatic but with the added warmth of maillechort, also known as German silver. Let’s have a closer look.
This new “Monostrom,” as I like to call it, is limited to 33 pieces. They follow the “souscription” model, where you make an upfront payment to get a production slot. To get your hands on one, visit the Monochrome shop on September 7th at 3:00 PM CEST.
Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force
The Armin Strom GEF is, of course, an existing model in the independent brand’s catalog. Its main party piece is the unique constant-force mechanism. Simplified, the mainspring barrel features a Maltese cross that limits the unwinding of the mainspring. So it does not allow for the mainspring to fully unwind, keeping it in the Goldilocks zone where its torque is constant and best for timekeeping accuracy.
The rotation of the mainspring barrel is limited to nine full turns out of a potential 12 and a half. Still, Armin Strom manages to offer a more than healthy 72-hour power reserve.
The entire construction of the spring and barrel is changed to achieve this. Usually, the spring is wound by turning the arbor (axle), which leads to the barrel rotating in the opposite direction. This is then meshed with the gear train to drive the movement. Known as a “going barrel,” this is the industry-wide standard. Here, however, we have a “motor barrel.” Winding rotates the barrel, and the energy is released to the movement via the arbor. So in short: it is precisely the other way around than the usual mechanism.
The Monochrome × Armin Strom limited edition
Monochrome has given the Gravity Equal Force the monochromatic treatment. The result is arguably the subtlest version to date. The main plate of the GEF is executed in maillechort, commonly known as German silver. This alloy is named after its silvery sheen, although it doesn’t actually contain silver. German silver consists of copper, nickel, and zinc. The resulting alloy has a warmth to it that further develops to a slightly more goldish hue over time.
This maillechort main plate is frosted by hand, and all other visible elements are executed in rhodium plating. The result is an elegant ton-sur-ton aesthetic that emphasizes the beautifully open-worked mechanism inside.
The team at Monochrome opted for German silver not just for aesthetic reasons. In fact, the goal was to also bridge the divide between watchmaking tradition and the ultra-modern style of Armin Strom. And indeed, this old-world material is just the right stuff for that job. It has been largely abandoned in watchmaking, with some exceptions like A. Lange & Söhne still preferring it over the more common brass alloys.
Impressions of the Monochrome × Armin Strom GEF Maillechort
The Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force is a joy to behold in any guise. The three finger-shaped bridges, dial-side micro-rotor, and off-set dial are simply beautiful. I strongly prefer such fully open-worked watches over mere skeletonized dials. Here, the movement is part of the design, and this is fully justified by all the intricate manual finishing and attractive architecture. The case then compliments it with subtly futuristic details. At first glance, it is quite simple. However, the angled lugs and machined crown carry Armin Strom design DNA with pride.
This specific Monochrome version is, in my humble opinion, the best yet. The “standard” models all feature rather dark and eye-catching dials. Monochrome has cleverly taken the emphasis from the dial to the entire visual spectacle inside. It is a little more even in terms of aesthetic weight. Indeed, this sacrifices a little bit of legibility for a lot of visual interest. But, after all, you buy a watch like this for its horological prowess over its mere time-telling capabilities.
The “Monostrom” skillfully combines a more classical look with the modern vibe of Armin Strom. It shows how, sometimes, small changes can have a big impact on the entire character of a watch. If you are going to do a collaboration, I feel it makes sense to strive for such an impact. So I am happy to see the pairing of Monochrome and Armin Strom has led to that exact result.
Pricing and availability
The Monochrome × Armin Strom Montre de Souscription 3 Gravity Equal Force Maillechort is priced at €22,900 excluding taxes. However, a deposit of €7,500 is required upon placing your order. A total of 33 pieces will be produced, so you have to be quick. Pre-orders open in the Monochrome shop on September 7th, 2023, at 3:00 PM CEST.
What do you think of the new Monostrom? Let us know in the comments below!