September is coming up and the first autumn highlights are about to be released. One of them is the cooperation between the online magazine Monochrome and watch manufacture Armin Strom. Together they are ringing in the next season with the Armin Strom x Monochrome Montre de Souscription 3 Gravity Equal Force Maillechort. The monochrome timepiece with its maillechort mainplate and a novel “stop-work” mechanism will be available for pre-orders from the beginning of September.
Monochrome has offered the Montre de Souscription in collaboration with independent watch brands since 2021. The bespoke timepiece is made-to-order after the customer has paid a deposit. With this sales model, which was already offered by Abraham Louis Breguet at the end of the 18th century, Monochrome is taking its cue from a piece of horological history. So far, Monochrome has presented one creation in cooperation with Habring² and Czapek respectively. This year, the third edition of the concept is followed by the Montre de Souscription 3 Gravity Equal Force in collaboration with Biel/Bienne-based brand Armin Strom. Known for its skeletonised watches and innovative mechanisms, Armin Strom has now designed a monochrome skeleton watch inspired by the Gravity Equal Force together with Monochrome. According to Monochrome founder Frank Geelen, the watch which was launched in 2019 ‛is a true watchmaking lesson on the wrist’.
A combination of stainless steel and Alcantara
True to its name, Monochrome focuses on a design with muted, neutral colours. In the MdS 3, the skeletonised dial takes centre stage. With its brushed and polished look, the stainless steel case provides a harmonious setting. The case, which is water-resistant up to 30 metres, measures 41 mm in diameter and 12.65 mm in height. From the front and back, the movement can be closely observed through anti-reflective sapphire crystal. The exterior of this timepiece is rounded off by a grey Alcantara strap with a signed pin buckle.
With its open-worked opaline dial, revealing the logo and the main circuit board below, the MdS 3 immediately captures the eye. Reduced in size and centrally placed on the left side, the dial does not take up the entire front surface and accentuates the movement. In addition to the hours and minutes, a sub-dial between 6 and 9 o’clock displays the small seconds. For better legibility, the in-house made hands have a dark grey ruthenium coating and are filled with white Super-LumiNova. A stop-seconds mechanism allows the wearer to set the time precisely.
Tradition meets innovation – the movement
An interplay of technical complexity, handcrafted decorations, and various shades of colour exhibits the sophisticated watchmaking behind the Montre de Souscription 3 Gravity Equal Force Maillechort. The automatic movement ASB19, which oscillates at 3.5 Hz and has a power reserve of 72 hours, is the driving force of the MdS 3. From development, through production, to finishing, the movement is created in-house at Armin Strom. During this process, tradition is combined with innovation.
Following its source of inspiration, the MdS 3 also features an innovative mechanism. With the Gravity Equal Force, Armin Strom presented the first automatic watch with a barrel that is stopped by a Maltese cross. This happens whenever the mainspring’s drive is too low and the rate accuracy is impaired. For this purpose, the principle of the mainspring barrel itself was reversed. Unlike a revolving barrel, the mainspring is wound by turning the drum and not the centre arbour.
This ‘stop work’ declutch mechanism prevents the mainspring from unwinding completely and ensures a constant, even supply of energy. This means that energy can also be stored beyond the end of the power reserve, albeit more unsteadily. Now the MdS 3 showcases this mechanism as well.
When it comes to the choice of material, however, Armin Strom and Monochrome draw on a piece of watchmaking tradition. As the model’s name suggests, maillechort is used for the MdS 3. It makes up the mainplate and its silvery colour emphasises the surrounding components of the movement. Nowadays, most mainplates are made of brass, but in the early days of watchmaking, maillechort was the preferred alloy.
Maillechort or German silver is a copper alloy with zinc and nickel. Over time it develops a patina. The silver hue changes to a light gold one, making this alloy a special one. Thus, the mainplate stands out from the other rhodium-plated movement parts through the unique nature of its material and hand-applied frosting.
Haute Horologie would not be Haute Horologie without the detailed, handmade decorations. In addition to the technical craftsmanship, the MdS 3 displays the diversity of finissage. For example, the three delicate, traditional finger bridges are polished and beveled by hand. On the back of the watch, Armin Strom’s artistry is evident in the form of large Geneva stripes, anglage as well as polished screw heads and beveled surfaces.
Save the date – price and availability
In a few weeks’ time, the Montre de Souscription 3 Gravity Equal Force Maillechort will be up for pre-orders on Monochrome’s online shop from 3pm (CET) on 7 September. The MdS 3 is limited to 33 pieces and can be purchased at a price of 22,900 euros (excl. taxes). A deposit of 7,500 euros must be paid in advance.
|BRAND||Armin Strom x Monochrome
|MODEL||Montre de Souscription 3 Gravity Equal Force Maillechort
|CASE MATERIAL||Stainless steel, sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
|DIMENSIONS||Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 12.65 mm
|WATER RESISTANCE||30 meters (∼ 3 bar)
|DIAL||open-worked, opaline, reduced and decentral with sub-dial
|STRAP/BRACELET||Grey Alcantara calf leather strap with signed pin buckle
|POWER RESERVE||72 hours
|FREQUENCY||25.200 vph (3,5 Hz)
|FUNCTIONS||Hours, minutes, small seconds
|PRICE||EUR 22,900 (excl. taxes)