Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

Six Watches that Double Down on the Balance Wheel

The Buying Guide is getting technical with a selection of dual-regulator watches aiming to improve precision and stability.

| By Robin Nooy | 7 min read |

Each and every we serve up a selection of watches based on a common feature in our Buying Guide, and this week is no different. But instead of looking at elements such as colour, size, material or even type of watch (dress, sports, pilot, diver, etc.), we take a more technical approach for this instalment. Harnessing the pioneering spirit and groundbreaking work of historic watchmakers such as Abraham Louis Breguet, Ferdinand Berthoud and Antide Janvier, or even the principle of resonance first discovered by Christiaan Huygens, each of these six watches double-down on the balance wheel. Instead of settling for just one regulating organ, they feature two of them which work together to improve accuracy and stability. 

Czapek Place Vendôme Complicité

For the Geneva Watch Days 2023, Czapek revealed its next watchmaking chapter, the brilliant Place Vendôme Complicité. Developed in collaboration with Bernhard Lederer, the Complicité uses two regulators coupled with a miniature differential. The principle is to have the two balance wheels interact with each other to compensate for each other’s irregularities. The whole system can be seen on the side of the dial, covered by a boxed sapphire crystal. You can have it on monochromatic white gold and grey or exuberant rose gold and sapphire blue. It’s worn on an alligator leather strap and retails for CHF 85,000. Only 50 pieces will be made in each colourway.

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Quick Facts – 41,8mm x 14,80 – white or rose gold case, brushed & polished – hollow lugs – boxed sapphire crystal – sapphire crystal caseback – 50m water-resistant – blue or grey dial – circular-grained hour & minute track – openworked hands – power reserve indicator – Calibre 8, manual wound – dual-regulator with differential – 21,600vph – 72h power reserve – alligator leather strap – limited to 50 pieces each – EUR 85,000

Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance Manufacture edition green

The Mirrored Force Resonance is Armin Strom’s crowning achievement. It works on the principle of resonance, discovered by Christiaan Huijgens in 1665. Two balance wheels that rotate in opposite directions are coupled with a clutch spring that allows energy to flow from one balance wheel to the other and vice versa. This system achieves synchronisation of beats within minutes, which results in improved stability and accuracy. Like the Czapek, everything is visible on the dial, with green twin-seconds indicators that can be reset with the pusher, and a green offset hour and minute dial. This Manufacture Edition is limited to 50 pieces, it comes on a grey Alcantara strap with a folding clasp and has a price of EUR 70,000.

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Quick Facts – 43mm x 11.55mm – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – sapphire crystal front & back – 30m water-resistant – offset hours and minute dial with openworked twin-seconds subdials – exposed resonance system – Calibre ARF21, in-house – manual winding – 276 components – two independent regulation systems with clutch spring – 25,200vph – 48h power reserve – grey Alcantara strap with folding clasp – limited to 50 pieces – EUR 70,000

Ulysse Nardin Freak S

There’s no denying that the Freak is an iconic watch. It pioneered the use of friction- and lubricant-free silicium, or silicon, in watchmaking when introduced in 2001. Ulysse Nardin hasn’t stopped there, as it continues to push the Freak into new territories. One of the most complex iterations is the Freak S, which features a space-ship-like regulating system. This uses two inclined balance wheels, gears, worm screws and more. This is housed in a black DLC-coated titanium case with a rose gold case and an Aventurine base dial. Only 75 pieces of this mechanical marvel will be made, with a price tag of EUR 123,500. It’s worn on a black alligator leather strap with a patented synchronized triple-folding clasp.

Ulysse Nardin Freak S

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Quick Facts – 45mm diameter – black ceramic & black DLC-coated titanium case – rose gold bezel – box-type sapphire crystal – sapphire crystal caseback – 30m water-resistant – black aventurine base dial – calibre UN-251, in-house – Grinder automatic with blades, flexible guidance and shock-absorber – twin-balance beating at 18,000vph – 72h power reserve – hours & minutes on carousel movement rotation – inclined silicium double balance-wheel – alligator strap with black DLC-coated titanium folding buckle – limited to 75 pieces – EUR 123,500

MB&F Legacy Machine 2

The Legacy Machine 2 was only the second edition of the more traditional watchmaking side of MB&F and was released in 2013, and featured a striking and complex movement. Developed by Jean-François Mojon, it elevates two parallel balance wheels over the dial with a planetary differential positioned at 6 o’clock. Time is displayed on a white lacquered subdial with blued hour and minute hands. This is set over a sunray brushed base dial that comes in a wide range of colours, and is housed in a titanium, white or red gold, platinum of even palladium case of 4mm in diameter. strapped to an alligator leather strap, prices ranged from USD 156,000 to USD 190,000 when it was released. Production was highly limited, and it’s no longer directly available from MB&F.

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Quick Facts – 44mm x 19mm – titanium, red gold, white gold, platinum or palladium case – ultra-domed sapphire crystal, sapphire crystal caseback – 30m water-resistance – white lacquer subdials with blued hands for hours and minutes – two suspended balance wheels in parallel – planetary differential at 6′ – 3D movement designed by Jean-François Mojon, decorated by Kari Voutilainen – manual winding – 241 components – 18,000vph – 45h power reserve – alligator leather strap with tang buckle – limited editions of 12 or 18 pieces – ranging from USD 156,000 to USD 190,000 when released

F.P. Journe Chronomètre À RÉsonance

The second watch on this list to use the principle of resonance is the F.P. Journe Chronomètre A Resonance. Two oscillating balance wheels are fitted close together, allowing the two to influence each other and eventually balance out their frequencies. It’s François-Paul Journe who first brought this phenomenon down to the size of a wristwatch in 1998, which has been significantly updated on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. The dial is split into two subdials with an analogue 24-hour and 12-hour display, paired with a power reserve indicator and twin small-second subdials. The rose gold movement reveals two balance wheels, each fitted with its own remontoir d’egalité. The price is set at CHF 103,500 in rose gold or CHF 105,000 in platinum.

F.P. Journe Chronometre a Resonance Twin Remontoirs d’Egalite

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Quick Facts – 40mm or 42mm x 10.8mm – platinum or rose gold case – sapphire crystal front & back – 30m water-resistant – white or pink gold dial – silvery-white guilloché subdials – blued steel hands – Calibre 1520, in-house – manual winding – 21,600vph – 42h power reserve – analogue 24-hours and 12-hours displays – twin regulating organ with resonance effect – twin remontoire d’eaglité systems – alligator leather strap with pin buckle matching the case – CHF 133,000 in rose gold, CHF 136,000 in platinum

Rudis Sylva Harmonious Oscillator RS 23

The Harmonious Oscillator RS23 is a simplified version of Rudis Sylva’s unconventional rotating carriage with two oscillators. This RS 23 edition uses two toothed balance wheels that are mechanically interlinked. The first balance wheel is driven by the escapement, which in turn drives the second balance wheel. The two turn in opposite directions with the same amplitude, therefore ensuring immediate mutual correction of the potential negative effects of gravity. All this is completely exposed and set in a titanium or rose gold case. Worn on an alligator leather strap, the Harmonious Oscillator RS 23 is limited to 8 pieces in each colour and has a price tag of CHF 80,000 in titanium or CHF 90,000 in pink gold.

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Quick Facts – 44mm x 12.9mm – titanium or rose gold case – domed sapphire crystal, sapphire crystal caseback – 30m water-resistant – exposed mechanics with chapter ring for hours and minutes – openworked hands – proprietary mechanical movement, openworked – manual winding – Rudis Sylva Harmonious Oscillator with interlinked balance wheels – 21,600vph – 70h power reserve – limited to 8 pieces per colour – alligator leather strap with titanium or pink gold pin buckle – CHF 80,000 in titanium or CHF 90,000 in pink gold

3 responses

  1. Love me some Journé, but this Rorschach model does not resonance with me at all. The original design is soooo much better.

  2. The whole point of this article is improved accuracy and stability and yet no reporting of how accurate or stable these models are. If I were to spend 100,000 CHF or USD on a watch, this is something I would like to know


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