The Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance now with Guilloché Dials by Voutilainen
When innovation meets tradition...
Recently, we had the opportunity to spend some quality hands-on time with the new Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance, and it now receives some superb guilloché dials. Creating an outstanding contrast between technology and modernity (the movement) and tradition (the dials), the creation of this new watch involved more than Armin Strom’s watchmakers… We had previously seen the watch at SalonQP in London, but it wasn’t quite ready for publication then, so we had to hold off until now to share all the tantalising details with you. We’re pretty sure you’ll agree though, that it was definitely worth the wait.
Mirrored Force Resonance
Launched in 2016, the Mirrored Force Resonance remains one of the most innovative timepieces we have seen in recent years. In fact, here on MONOCHROME, we have described it as “revolutionary”, not once, but several times, and we absolutely stand behind that assertion. If by some miracle you’re not already familiar with this incredible story, I highly recommend reading Xavier’s in-depth article (you can find it here), which covers not only the history behind the concept of resonance in watchmaking but also the science.
The appearance of resonance in watchmaking is not particularly new, although it is still rather unusual. The original idea was conceived by Christiaan Huygens in the mid-17th century, later explored by Astide Janvier and Abraham-Louis Breguet, and then further developed by Beat Haldimann and François-Paul Journe in the 20th century. Essentially, the resonance principle dictates that two oscillating bodies in close proximity influence each other and eventually synchronize.
I am of course oversimplifying here for the sake of brevity but the key thing to understand is that this theory calls for the use of two regulators, complete with two independent gear trains and two independent oscillators, all with no mechanical connection to each other. According to the resonance effect, these regulators should beat in harmony, with one theoretically offsetting the errors of the other and vice versa.
Armin Strom took this concept several steps further by pioneering a steel resonance clutch spring, connected to the balance spring studs. The two balance wheels get coupled by the tiny vibrations in the spring. This revolutionary, patented mechanism causes the two oscillators to synchronize while making their revolutions in opposite directions. The two balances find a concurrent rhythm in opposite directions so as to continuously average out errors for maximum accuracy.
As you can imagine, many people were somewhat sceptical when Armin Strom first announced their ground-breaking advancement with this centuries-old technology, as resonance in this instance is practically impossible to see without assistance. That’s one of the reasons why the company has been working with the famed Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM), a research-and-technology institute established in 1984 that exists to cooperate with Swiss companies. The work with CSEM has not only officially confirmed that Armin Strom’s Mirrored Force invention is in resonance, it’s also helping the brand figure out how its resonance clutch spring can be optimised to provide maximum benefit.
No new developments have been announced as yet with regards to the resonance clutch spring, but we do certainly have some stunning new guilloché dials to share with you.
Earlier this year, Armin Strom introduced the Mirrored Force Resonance Water, which featured a more accessible steel case, paired with a white dial with blue accents (you can read Brice’s article here.) It was, and still is, a very attractive watch, however, in some ways I felt like the understated appearance of the dial didn’t do justice to this incredible marvel of modern-day watchmaking.
It seems Armin Strom may have felt the same way and so the brand has recently introduced a second steel version of the watch, but this time paired with a with superb, hand-executed guilloché dial, created by none other than Master Watchmaker Kari Voutilainen. We got our hands on the blue dial version (pictured here) but we’ve been told that the guilloché dials will be available in several colors (blue, black, anthracite, red or bi-color), and in several different pattern options (sun-ray, concentric waves or barleycorn), depending on the client’s wishes.
The dials are manufactured in Voutilainen’s Môtiers-based workshop, on century-old engine-turning lathes, which can only be controlled by hand. The intricate patterns, obtained by chiselling a smooth metallic plate with extreme precision and care, are true pieces of art, reflective of the craftsmen’s skills and virtuosity.
To say these new guilloché dials completely change the look of Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance timepiece would be an understatement. Before, it was hard to tear your eyes away from the mesmerising ballet of the of the two oscillators with the connecting spring, but now, when the guilloché dial catches the light just so…wow! For me, this is the ultimate realisation of this timepiece.
Everything else remains unchanged, including the incredible AFR15 manual wound movement. The only exception is the strap, which is now a genuine black alligator horn-back strap closed with a stainless steel ardillon buckle (the strap on the first steel version was blue.) The case still measures 43.4mm x 13.0mm high and sits very comfortably on the wrist. I wouldn’t go as far as to call this an everyday watch, but it’s definitely not designed to just sit in a safe somewhere.
Pricing is set at CHF 59,000, which is a premium of CHF 5,000 on the Mirrored Force Resonance Water version, but given the additional complex production processes required for the guilloché dials, I think collector’s will see this as more than justified. More details on www.arminstrom.com.
Much better aesthetically, though I would ask more.
Nice new website! Congrats Monochrome looking great. I particularly appreciate your blog knowing that I also read abtw and hodinkee. What I like here is that you don’t drown us with news about insignificant watches only to generate sponsored ads.
A wish though: that you start replying to the comments more often, especially when the commentator asks a question. Other than more interaction congrats for the great work guys.
Thanks so much JD, and you’re right, we should be more involved in terms of responding. Will do as of now 🙂
Thanks for your comment @Chia-Ming – what else would you like to see on this watch aesthetically?
Hi, Tom. I always expect more refined hands in this price range(most watches also failed, not only this one). But the most crucial point is I can’t figure out why the second hands are designed with three arms. They seem non-functional and look weird to me.
Dear @Chia-Ming we appreciate your feedback thank you! The second hands are designed with three arms to correct the acceleration. If the hands would only have one arm then they would accelerate differently and we could not guarantee the same accuracy as we can with three arms. Best regards, Thierry – ARMIN STROM.
Thanks for your response @Thierry – I must admit I was not aware of (or at least did not fully appreciate) the reason for the three spoke arms on the seconds displays. I knew they helped with accuracy but I did not realise this was due to differences in the speed of acceleration. Very interesting.
For those who don’t know already, Thierry is the Marketing and Communications Manager for Armin Strom, so he definitely has some unique insights on this particular model 🙂
@Chia-Ming – Thanks for your feedback also. I hope that answers your query?
Hi Thierry, thanks for your reply. I would like to clarify the point further. Do you mean the acceleration while manual synchronization of the second hands? or during all the working time? Can’t a calculated counterweight serve well?
Dear Chia-Ming, it is for the acceleration during all the working time. Sure there are different possibilities to correct this and a calculated counterweight could have the same effect. But in term of design we have chosen the three arms solution for the Mirrored Force Resonance.
Stay tuned for SIHH as you don’t like the three arms option 😉 Best, Thierry – ARMIN STROM.
Dear Thierry, thanks for your informative reply. Actually I’ve waited for SIHH since several weeks ago.