Andreas Strehler Introduces the Strehler Sirna

A new, accessible brand by the noted independent.

Accomplished but relatively low key, Andreas Strehler is launching a new brand known simply as Strehler, which aims to reach a wider audience with more accessible prices. Mr. Strehler’s stated aim of the Sirna is to offer collectors a simple daily wearer that embodies the technical mastery he has become known for. The brand’s opening act is the Sirna, named after the town of Sirnach in northeastern Switzerland where the manufacture is based.

Strehler marks a departure from Mr. Strehler’s previous work in terms of aesthetics. While his earlier (and pricier) creations emphasised his distinctive papillon, or “butterfly”, movement architecture and resulting cushion-shaped case, the Sirna is more traditional in form. It is a strong debut for the new brand and a sign of good things to come.

Initial thoughts

I’ve always admired Mr Strehler’s watches from an intellectual standpoint, but his cushion-cased designs have never resonated with me on an aesthetic level. Naturally, I am thrilled to see Mr. Strehler’s work arrive in a more traditionally-styled package.

The Sirna appears to exudes quality – unsurprising given Mr Strehler’s reputation for good work. It’s enough of a reputation that other independent watchmakers turn to him for components and movements (more on that below).

Even obscure details like the engravings on the case back look to be satisfyingly crisp and precise. And the patterned titanium dial is the star, though deceptively simple in style, it possesses both an intricate pattern and vibrant blue colour. 

The movement finishing is especially noteworthy given the price of CHF20,000. In fact, I’d argue the SA-30 is the only in-house automatic movement with this level of finishing in this price range. The value proposition is even more impressive when one considers the truly in-house nature of the watch and its movement.

Case in point is in-house gold rotor and ball-bearing rotor mount. Most brands, even those in the so-called “Holy Trinity”, typically outsource the production of rotors to a specialist. Mr Strehler and his team make even these commoditised components on-site in Sirnach. Even the steel hands are made in-house and polished by hand.

That said, there are a few minor details I find inelegant, such as the applied logo on the dial, which feels too large and unimaginative, and the unnecessary “Automatic” on the back. But these quibbles detract only slightly from what is otherwise an impressive debut.

An inclined view of the movement reveals numerous inner angles and bevelled wheel spokes.

A new brand

Though Andreas Strehler is among the leading independent watchmakers, and one of just a handful that have mastered everything from fabrication to finishing, the polarising designs of his prior watches have arguably kept Mr. Strehler from achieving the level of fame his work deserves. If the Sirna is anything to go by, his new brand will likely pursue a more traditional design aesthetic that should appeal to a wider audience, if for no other reason than round watches sell better than square and cushion-shaped watches. 

While the Strehler brand is new, the company behind it is not. Mr. Strehler has been an independent watchmaker since 1995, establishing his own firm after leaving Renaud & Papi, where he worked in the prototype department with Bart Grönefeld under the guidance of Robert Greubel.

The traditional Andreas Strehler aesthetic

Since striking out on his own, he has been prolific. His list of contributions is extensive, though he is probably best known for developing the ambitious HMC 341 perpetual calendar movement for H. Moser & Cie. Another significant contribution worth highlighting is the Dragon Lever escapement that he designed for Precision Engineering. It is now used by Armin Strom, Laurent Ferrier, and numerous other contemporary independent watchmakers. 

In other words, just as Jaeger-LeCoultre developed its reputation as “the watchmaker’s watchmaker” for the movements it supplied to Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe, Andreas Strehler could accurately be called the “independent watchmaker’s watchmaker.” To get a flavor for what Mr. Strehler is capable of, this in-depth piece by my colleague Bjorn Meijer is a must-read.

Simple Sirna

At launch, the Sirna is offered in a single reference that features an elegantly proportioned, 40 mm steel case with a concave case band and ergonomically formed lugs. The crown is inlaid with a blue titanium disk that features Mr. Strehler’s signature Papillon logo.

The patterned dial is titanium. While some brands like Greubel Forsey and De Bethune have produced titanium dials that are heat-blued, the dial of the Sirna is anodised, which suggests that more colour variations are likely to be released in the future.

Designed by Eric Giroud, each dial is machined and laser-engraved before being individually hand polished. Unlike softer materials like brass, titanium does not take well to being stamped or embossed, meaning that traditional methods of dial production were not suitable for the Sirna.

A new but familiar movement

While the SA-30 is technically a new movement, eagle-eyed observers will note the similarities with the Vianney Halter U30A and the Grönefeld G-06, both of which are actually Strehler constructions. The three calibres are essentially identical on a fundamental level and share some components, although each brand executes them differently. The position of the seconds hand differ in the U30A and G-06 for instance. In other words, Mr Strehler supplies the architecture and certain key components to his fellow independent watchmakers, rather than finished movements.

The circular bridges and open-worked 18k gold winding mass add an unusual degree of visual interest for an automatic movement, evidence of Strehler’s command of not just fabrication but movement design as well. 

On paper, the SA-30 is not especially novel, but it does feature just about everything you could want in a simple but sophisticated movement, including a free-sprung balance and a 60-hour power reserve. Furthermore, the architecture was designed to showcase several inward angles, a welcome flourish that elevates the SA-30 above the similar movements used by Grönefeld and Halter.

If I had one bone to pick with the movement, I would trade some of the movement’s slimness for a Straumann Double Hairspring, something Mr Strehler himself designed for H. Moser & Cie. That’s probably asking too much given the reasonable price point and positioning of the Sirna, but one can dream.

Key facts and price

Strehler Sirna

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 8.5 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: SA-30
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 60 hours

Strap: Brown calf leather with off-white stitching

Limited edition: No, but production is limited to around 30 to 50 watches per year
Availability: Direct from Strehler
Price: CHF20,000 excluding taxes

For more, visit

Correction May 26, 2023: The SA-30, Vianney Halter U30A, and Grönefeld G-06 are not identical as each brand executes their movements differently, though they the same basic architecture.

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De Bethune Introduces the DB28xs Starry Seas

A scaled-down DB28.

The latest version of De Bethune’s signature watch shrinks the case and ups the level of dial decoration. The DB28xs Starry Seas has a compact case of just 38.7 mm and an eye-catching dial finished a wave pattern and inlaid white gold stars in typical De Bethune style.

Initial thoughts

Originally a large watch with a case of 43 mm, the DB28 nonetheless became the brand’s trademark watch thanks to its distinctive styling and hinged lugs. So a more wearable version of the DB28 will certainly have is audience. In fact, the case of 38.7 mm is more than manageable, it is almost small by the standards of highly contemporary independent watchmaking. 

With the reduced case, however, the DB28xs might have lost some of the presence that made the original DB28 interesting, although that will have to be judged in the metal.

Besides the case, the other novel feature of the watch is the wave pattern on the dial that’s complemented by inlaid gold stars, which is meant to evoke the night sky reflected on water. The wave pattern is new for De Bethune, adding some originality to this variant of the DB28.

While the dial is beautiful – De Bethune’s blued titanium dials usually are – and the case remains appealing even on a smaller scale, I would have hoped that the brand did something more inventive, rather than create variants of existing designs and movements.   

Apart from the dial and case, the DB28xs is largely identical to its larger siblings, including utilising the same DB2005 movement. And it is priced almost the same as the US$95,000 DB28XP, one size up in the DB28 collection.


According to De Bethune, the Starry Seas dial was inspired by the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, which is about the acceptance of flaws and impermanence. De Bethune does not explain exactly how wabi-sabi translates into the watch, but it is presumably the hand-finished nature of the dial.

Continuing with the distinctive De Bethune style, the Starry Seas features a polished, heat-blued titanium dial finished with a wave-like pattern. De Bethune says the pattern was achieved with a “random guilloché” technique, a first in watchmaking. Although it doesn’t detail what that entails, it is presumably a hand-operated straight-line engine used to create seemingly random lines. 

White gold spheres of varying sizes are meticulously embedded on the dials to represent stars

Like other models in the collection, the case has open-worked lugs hinged at the centre of the case band. It case measures 38.7 mm in diameter and 7.4 mm high, making it much thinner and smaller than the DB28XP.

The DB28xs is timepiece is powered by the DB2005 found in several other DB28 models. Like most De Bethune movements, it has a delta-shaped barrel bridge as the centrepiece, along with innovations like a silicon escape wheel and a titanium balance wheel with white gold weights.

Key facts and price

De Bethune DB28xs Starry Seas
Ref. DB28XsTIS3

Diameter: 38.7 mm
Height: 7.4 mm
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: DB2005
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: Six days

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

Availability: Now from De Bethune and its authorised retailers 
US$90,000, or CHF77,000 (excluding taxes)

For more, visit

Correction May 26, 2023: The DB28XP retails for US$95,000, and not US$83,500 as stated in an earlier version of the article.

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