The ability to create a watch very much to your specific and individualistic tastes and liking is both a welcoming tool and an exciting part of buying your watch. It gives you, the consumer, the capacity to create your watch from the ground up, building on your own personal characteristics and personifying them in a product that will be, quintessentially, you. There are a few watchmakers out there adventurous enough to offer this kind of bespoke service to their customer base, but the two that springs to mind would definitely be Armin Strom, one of the pioneers of this kind of service, and IWC, one of horology’s most iconic and most well-known manufacturers.
First off, let’s look at IWC’s configurator. As opposed to giving you the ability to create your bespoke watch from their entire collection, they’ve focused primarily on the Ingenieur Chronograph, one of their most iconic, most versatile and most understated models. From a starting price of $7,250, you have the option of choosing either stainless-steel or an 18k red-gold case.
After choosing the case material, you have the option of truly creating a unique and very much custom timepiece by choosing the dial colour palette and hands. There are over ten different dial options, with the red-gold variant having a few different ones, namely a silver-plated with gold-plated hands option, or a green dial and gold-plated hands option. The abundance of variations and choice may prove to be a bit too much for some, but for others I can almost guarantee you hours and hours of endless fun.
Following your decisive commitment on the case, dial and hands, you get to choose the strap material and colour. You have the choice between a light brown, brown or black leather calfskin strap, a black rubber strap, a green or blue textile strap or a stainless-steel bracelet. After that, you get to choose the closed caseback engraving, with the option to have either a circular engraving, a monogram, a number, a motif or nothing. The choice is yours.
Click Here to check it out, and create your IWC Ingenieur Chronograph.
Now, let’s take a look at Armin Strom’s configurator. This is a far more complex, deeper and more intricate configuration system that Armin Strom has employed. Some may lay claim to it being too complicated with too many options, but as a fellow watch-lover in the 21st century, I find solace in knowing that I can unequivocally create a timepiece specifically to my exacting specifications.
Okay, with saying that, where exactly do you start? Well, Armin Strom have basically given you free reign with their entire collection, from the entry level Manual to the Edge Double Barrel, all the way up to the incredible Mirrored Force Resonance and Tourbillon Skeleton. The entry price to get your palette whet in the Armin Strom configurator is 9,192CHF, with prices exceeding the 90,000CHF mark, depending of course on your optional extras.
Each base piece from each individual line of Armin Strom pieces gives you the option to choose the case material, dial variations, plates, gear-trains, ratchet wheels and hands. Different materials, different colour palettes and different aesthetic schemes are all at your lucky fingertips.
There’s an abundance of options to create a truly bespoke timepiece. There is no other watchmaking configurator out there that gives you the capacity to truly create your own custom timepiece. The ability to choose from basically any collection within the amazing Armin Strom atelier and build up from there is both exciting and riveting.
I spent a few solid hours playing around with the configurator, trying to find a balance between my individualistic aesthetic taste and style, and trying to create some kind of flow. A lot of trial and error, but throughout the process I did not at all grow bored, tired or frustrated at the configurator, at the options are at my own personal indecisiveness.
Follow the link here to check and create your own Armin Strom timepiece: https://configurator.arminstrom.com/
These are some examples of some of the customized pieces from Armin Strom:
Between the IWC and the Armin Strom configurator, my heart definitely lies with the independent atelier’s. The sheer amount of choice that Armin Strom have given to its potential consumer is incredible, and a lot of thought has gone into the system and its specific processes. I like how the price is changed in real-time, depending on the variables you choose, and I love how responsive the configurator is, even when you have multiple tabs open doing the exact same thing with a different model in a different window. Super fun, very user-friendly and definitely one of the most interesting consumer models I’ve come across.