There are many things Pietro Tomajer of The Limited Edition is excellent at, but he particularly excels at bringing people and, specifically, watch enthusiasts and brands together. To this end, last night he organised a fantastic gathering of HYT, Louis Moinet and Armin Strom in the private room at Hush restaurant in Mayfair so a handful of us (just 6), could learn about and admire their new time pieces.
It was, specifically, a learning curve for me regarding the latter two. As you will probably know by now, I am a strong supporter of HYT, having not only purchased their rather outrageous Skull Green Eye 51mm, but having also had the pleasure and privilege of having a bespoke piece made for me to wear on this year’s Gumball 3000.
Louis Moinet and Armin Strom
Despite knowing Louis Moinet was the man who developed the chronograph in the early 19th century, I had never really explored their time pieces and the first time I had the opportunity to do so was around three year ago. I was in Watches of Switzerland on Regent Street looking at a Roger Dubuis full carbon ‘Excalibur’ (a very handsome and light(!) timepiece) when my eye was caught by a beautiful blue ‘Metropolis’. It was so different and striking I considered purchasing it there and then but, somehow, managed to restrain myself, wanting to do my research first. If I’m being honest, life (and other watches…) then got in the way and so it wasn’t until this event that I had my next opportunity to really get my hands on these wonderful time pieces.
Armin Strom was an even more obscure brand to me. I had seen some stylised photographs and videos of their watches on social media and, in fact, knew from my research into Gumball 3000 watches that they had partnered with them for a previous rally, but had never had the chance to examine one in person. Doing so, blew me away.
All the pieces Emanuel, their UK head of sales, had brought with him were from their flagship ‘resonance’ collection. Why are they called that, you ask… well, it’s because each watch contains not one but two movements… two balance wheels, escapements, the lot, all perfectly in sync. And what’s the point, I also hear you ask… accuracy. Such is the pursuit of excellence at the brand, it took three years to design these movements, all to achieve an increase in accuracy over COSC certified timepieces (Rolex, for example) of around 15-20%. That translates to a similar level of accuracy to Patek Philippe at -3/+2 seconds a day.
Seeing one is something spectacular not only because of this feature but primarily because the brand is renowned for its skeletonisation, meaning you really can see ALL of the movement. Indeed Armin Strom is so highly regarded for its expertise in skeletonization that Omega contracted them to create a very special skeleton piece in the 1990’s.
Louis Moinet takes a very different approach to watchmaking, albeit just as wonderful. Theirs ensures a more jewel like effect on the wrist, which is epitomized best by their double tourbillon model, in which not only is it the only watch that runs the movements in opposite directions, they are also the largest fitted to a wrist watch in the world – at 14.9mm. There is also a reason for this ultra-complication – the watch houses two functions. One is the time (obviously!), the other moves a dial beneath the hands and, in so doing, circulates three fragments of meteorite from the moon, mars and mercury. This is a theme that runs through other models in the range, incorporating certified pieces of meteorite from our solar system. The effect, when combined with the colours of the time piece, is one simultaneously mesmerising and life giving.
To add to this, the maison also as its ‘space walker’ collection, which was launched in collaboration with the Russian astronaut Alexei Leonov to celebrate him as the first man to walk in space in 1968. It houses a rather beautiful ‘satellite tourbillon’, with a diamond circling it to represent his ground-breaking achievement.
It was such a wonderful learning curve for me, to get to spend some time to explore these wonderful independent brands and, once again, I cannot thank HYT, Louis Moinet, Armin Strom and, of course, Pietro of The Limited Edition enough for his hospitality and for organising such a great evening.