Recently, I’ve had the good fortune to wear the Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance for a few weeks. This watch is one of the most revolutionary horological developments of recent years – or even decades – and seeing it in action on the wrist has been a sheer pleasure. The visual treat of wearing this timepiece on the wrist is so mesmerising that it can distract you from daily (boring) activities and even provoke daydreaming.
In previous articles, we introduced (and explained) the Mirrored Force Resonance, we showed the new version in stainless steel, introduced the editions with guilloché dials made in Voutilainen’s workshop and showed you the latest trimmed-down version called Armin Strom Pure Resonance. This sounds like a lot, and when you take into account that Armin Strom is a small brand, seeing this number of novelties is impressive. Armin Strom is a full-fledged manufacture where most movement parts are produced, finished and assembled in-house, which helps explain how the brand can move with such speed. Owning the machines and having control over the production makes it possible to set your own course, at your own pace, and that’s exactly what Armin Strom is doing.
Let’s get back to the watch and see why it causes distractions and daydreaming. The main features of the Mirrored Force Resonance are, of course, the two balances that perform their continuous dance in full sight on the dial side. Usually, the balance of a watch is tucked away on the reverse side of the movement, and sometimes it’s even hidden behind a closed case back. Here it’s entirely exposed and there are even two balances, performing next to one another.
The resonance clutch spring acts just like Huygens’ wooden beam
Maybe you’re familiar with this situation: you check the time and a few moments later you realise that you don’t know the time, then you remember that you actually checked the time a few moments before… without really registering the time. Well, if this sounds familiar, then I can assure you that two balances on the dial side will only make things worse. More distraction, or maybe even better, more treats for the eye, more stuff that horological dreams are made of.
Of course, those two balances that cause so much distraction, each powered by its own gear train and connected to its own triple-handed seconds hand, ought to ensure that the chronometric rates of the Mirrored Force Resonance perform superbly. Like a tourbillon, the resonance as a complication aims to improve the precision of a mechanical watch.
In our introductory article we explained exactly how it works, but to make a long story short, the spring studs of both balances are connected by a steel resonance clutch spring. This spring acts just like Huygens’ wooden beam but has been optimised with 21st-century technology. This revolutionary, patented mechanism gets the two oscillators to synchronise while performing their revolutions in opposite directions (just like Huygens’ pendulums). The two balances find a concurrent rhythm in opposite directions to continuously average out errors for maximum accuracy.
The movement is finished very nicely and through the sapphire pane in the case back you can see the circular Côte de Genève decoration on the main plate and a beautiful straight grain brushing on the intermediate bridge. The wheels that are on top of the two (openwork) mainspring barrels are finely finished and offer a great visual treat when you’re winding the watch.
The Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance has the same look and feel as most of its siblings. Of course, besides the magnificent distraction factor that the Resonance offers, the case, bezel, and strap are pretty much standard for Armin Strom and only the Edge Double Barrel has a different size, look and feel on the wrist. The stainless steel case measures 43.4mm in diameter and is 13mm thick. The watch is worn on a Hornback alligator strap and, like all Armin Strom watches, it comes with a lip on the bezel (allowing, for example, for engraved initials.)
On the wrist, the watch feels good, solid and maybe a tad chunky, but that might be due to the Hornback alligator strap that is a bit stiff. Nothing to worry about, as it will feel very different when the strap has been worn enough to become supple.
The incredible visual display of the two balances and the clutch spring is such a massive pleasure to look at, that the Mirrored Force Resonance has been on my wrist pretty much permanently during the weeks I had it for the review. The finishing is technical and so is the entire design of the movement, something that I personally like a lot. And although I usually prefer discreet watches, and tend to lean towards classic dress watches, I was so taken by the charm of the Resonance that I actually miss wearing it, or maybe I should say, I miss seeing it on my wrist.