If, when you saw the first Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance model, you thought, like me, that it was a technical accomplishment that would take some beating, you have probably already been proved wrong after the folks in Bienne teamed up with recognised master Kari Voutilainen to add a sublime engine-turned dial to their technical marvel. They did it again at this year’s SIHH, where Armin Strom was present for the first time, with a smaller, streamlined version with yet more focus on precision.
“In keeping with the spirit of marine chronometers, we have removed anything that is not required for precision,” explains Claude Greisler. In a smaller case (42mm instead of 43.4mm) the two superimposed, open-worked, counter-rotating seconds scales have been replaced by a smaller offset small seconds counter in the lower half of the dial. This subdial and the off-set hour and minute dial take on a more classical design theme with a sunbrushed finish, railway markings and Roman numerals. The hands are worthy of note, not because they also bring a more classical touch to this timepiece but because they are made in-house by Armin Strom. Even in the upper echelons of the giant “manufactures”, few companies could make such a claim and these stainless-steel hands, which are machined, cut by wire-erosion and then hand finished, bring the percentage of in-house components in the Pure Resonance up to a staggering 97%. Vertical Côtes de Genève decoration covers all surfaces except the dials, which is another first for Armin Strom.
Regardless of the visible balance wheels, the dial stays very legible. The right half of this dial houses the sub dial that tells the moment. The hour and minute hands are made from rose gold. The sub dial is black and the hours are marked by Arabic numerals in increased gold (black and rose gold is a winning mix for me personally). The newest and the version of the watch form a smaller circle within the dial. I am not so sure that I want to be educated of the watch’s name on the dial, but that is not a deal-breaker for me. That said, I would however, favor a cleaner design.To the left are just two subsidiary seconds dials with very cool-looking triple-spoke moments hands. What’s even more peculiar is that the next palms spin in opposite directions. The very best hand spins counter-clockwise, while the lower hand moves in a clockwise direction. It creates a fairly nice looking result. According to Armin Strom, it requires less than 10 minutes for the consequences of resonance to take hold of the two running moments hands, and you will see them beating in unison.And farther to the left of the two subsidiary seconds dials will be the celebrities of the watch – both resonating equilibrium wheels. The two wheels oscillate in a rather unusual speed of 25,200bph, but what is really unique about it’s the patented resonance clutch which joins both equilibrium wheels through the balance spring studs (the ends of the balance spring). This clutch allows the transmission of vibrational drives between both balance wheels, allowing them to locate a natural rhythm so that they can beat in unison. This clutch, made from steel, is also what sets the Mirrored Force Resonance watch apart from its contemporaries. Rather than a clutch or linking mechanism, both F.P. Journe’s Chronomètre à Résonance see and Beat Haldimann’s H2 Flying Resonance are concerned with adjusting the space of the two oscillators to generate the effects of resonance.
Pure Resonance Water and Fire © Armon Strom
But the changes are not merely aesthetic. The Pure Resonance houses an entirely new calibre, ARF 16, which is geared towards even greater precision. The reasoning is simple: the fewer functions that a timepiece has to perform, the better it can concentrate on accuracy. In concrete terms this means fewer jewels (38 instead of 43) and fewer components (206 instead of 226) in a smaller movement (34.40mm instead of 36.60mm). Owner Serge Michel even goes as far as to say that “The Pure Resonance heralds a new era at Armin Strom”.
Calibre ARF 16 © Armin Strom
The Pure Resonance is initially available in two versions: stainless steel with blue dial for 49,000 Swiss francs and 18-carat rose gold with black dial for 62,000 Swiss francs, but it will be added to the Armin Strom Configurator with a selection of up to five different dial colours and a choice of different hands.