The independent Swiss watch manufacture ARMIN STROM develops, produces and hand finishes each of its watches in its dedicated workshop in Bienne. The timepieces in its collection embody the venerable tradition of Swiss watchmaking combined with a modern look and technical prowess. The brand’s signature, on all ARMIN STROM watches, is open-worked designs that reveal part of the interior movement from the dial, celebrating the mechanical artistry of the timepiece. Serge Michel, Owner of ARMIN STROM, chats to us about the relationship with Formula 1.
ARMIN STROM has its roots in the picturesque town of Burgdorf located northwest of Bern. The history of the watch factory begins with the founder and namesake of the business, Armin Strom. After completing his watchmaking apprenticeship and gaining early independent business experiences in Lotzwil and St. Moritz, the still young Armin Strom opened his own shop in the Altstadt (Old Town) area of Burgdorf in 1967.
In addition to selling and restoring watches, he soon began working on his own creations in the workroom behind the shop. His first masterpiece was a gold pocket watch, with a hand-engraved dial in polished blue lapis lazuli. His mature manual dexterity and incredible attention to detail soon made the budding watchmaker aware of where to specialise in his valuable items: the art of skeletonising. Armin still is an inspiration for us all.
His idea of cutting away all the parts of the movement which have no active function for its operation characterises the appearance of ARMIN STROM watches to this day. He then set about engraving and decorating the remaining parts with intricate detailing and fitting them into fine cases, all with the greatest of care. Although initially available only from his shop, creations from Armin Strom were first presented at the internationally renowned Basel Watch and Jewellery Fair in 1984. The business really took off from that time.
Using Formula 1 as a marketing tool to promote your brand is a truly effective strategy, but to build brand awareness you need to be a partner of a top team or even the series.
Building on the successes of his men’s watches, Armin Strom also ventured into the production of his first wristwatch for women. His goal of designing this to be as small and delicate as possible immediately gained him an entry in The Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest watch ever to be skeletonised by hand.
We started our relationship with Formula 1 simply because of personal interest and passion for the sport, the racing. Of course, we had good contacts to the Marussia Virgin Team – that was also an important factor in the process.
The Armin Racing brand represents the modern style of movement embellishment, without neglecting important traditional values. Our young, superbly trained and highly motivated team creates each collection, emphasising a modern, technical image which blends tradition with new, innovative methods. Through this unique collaboration with the Marussia F1 Team, we aim to create a bespoke collection of exclusive timepieces, inspired by the technology and material synergies between Formula 1 and the art and craft of watchmaking.
Talking about the business side of the relationship, the hospitality of our VIP clients is probably the most important thing. As our goal is not to build brand awareness through Formula 1, we don’t measure the impact of our sponsorship.
The Formula 1 industry is still very strong commercially and it’s an influential market. It will remain a good marketing tool for many brands. Other than in other racing series, Formula 1 it is not only about racing, it is also about the unique atmosphere and lifestyle of the series. This is, of course, what makes it so attractive and mysterious.
Using Formula 1 as a marketing tool to promote your brand is a truly effective strategy, but to build brand awareness you need to be a partner of a top team or even the series. The watch industry needs to be very flexible and fast to catch the individual target groups at the right timing, the same applies to Formula 1. Today a crucial market for luxury goods is China, but tomorrow it might be India or Brazil.