In 2016, Armin Strom impressed us with a brand new watch featuring a stunning complication. As a watch brand renowned primarily for its bold skeletonized movements, limited to mostly time-only watches, with the Mirrored Force Resonance the brand displayed unprecedented horological skills. This year, the brand pushes the concept even further, not only by using the concept of Resonance but by using the double balance construction to create a Dual Time watch. Two movements in one watch… Meet the Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance.
The Resonance concept by Armin Strom
Two oscillating bodies in close proximity influence each other and eventually synchronize. This odd phenomenon was first reported in 1665 by Christiaan Huygens, the Dutch scientist, mathematician, astronomer and inventor. Ill and bedridden, Huygens noticed that two of his recently invented pendulum clocks were oscillating in sympathy. If the synchronization was disturbed by some interference, it would, he observed, reestablish itself in a short period of time.
The application of this phenomenon, known as resonance, has not been widely embraced by watchmakers. Two centuries ago, Astide Janvier and Abraham Louis Breguet adapted the system to create “Pendules Sympathiques”. More recently, watchmakers in search of greater accuracy and stability have sought to take advantage of the synchronicity of oscillators in wristwatches – for instance, François-Paul Journe, Beat Haldimann or Antoine Preziuso.
In 2016, Armin Strom presented one of the most spectacular applications of the phenomenon with its Mirrored Force Resonance. The crucial factor behind the synchronization of Huygens’ pendulums was their coupling, hung on the same wooden bar and subject to its vibrations. Similarly, Armin Strom’s Claude Greisler connected twin oscillators by a steel spring attached to their stud. The two balance wheels get coupled thanks to the tiny vibrations of the spring. Over two years of R&D were necessary to optimize the shape of the spring and maximize resonance. Armin Strom also cooperated with CSEM (Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology) in Neuchatel.
The Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance
Following the introduction of the concept in 2016 (and several iterations in the following months), Armin Strom now unveils its first watch regulated by resonant oscillators and equipped with a complication – a dual time indication. A beast of a watch venturing into new territory, it marks the debut of the brand’s new Masterpiece collection.
Powering the Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance is the hand-wound calibre AFR17, with a spectacular architecture consisting of two movements built on the same mainplate. Each one has its own barrel, gear train and regulator to display an independent time zone. The time for each movement is adjusted via a dedicated crown.
These highly practical and independent displays adapt to all types of time zones, including rare ones, which vary by a half hour or a quarter of an hour. It can also be used as a timer or countdown mechanism. For each of the time displays, there is a dedicated 24h day/night indication (in the centre at 6 o’clock – the hand matching the colour of the hour markers on their respective sub-dial) and a dedicated power reserve indication.
However, the twin movements are interdependent. With their prominent position at 12 o’clock, their oscillators are connected by the clutch spring to enhance resonance and beat in unison. The four barrels (two for each movement) are all wound by the same crown to ensure they are wound simultaneously. This architecture ensures that the same energy is delivered by the barrels to their associated oscillator and avoid any disturbance to the phenomenon of resonance. For each movement, the power reserve – a robust 110 hours when fully wound – is indicated via a roller acting as a feeler spindle on a cone moving up and down. The cool power reserve mechanisms are visible on each side of the movement at the back of the watch.
The calibre AFR17 is decorated with circular Geneva stripes centred around the cool central click mechanism. The ratchets are openworked allowing to see how tightly the mainsprings are wound. On the other side, the two cocks holding the balance wheels stand out with their beautiful surface tremblage finish, executed by hand with a hammer and chisel. The superb dial, featuring various guilloché patterns, is handcrafted by Kari Voutilainen (Comblémine).
The Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance comes in an impressive 59mm x 43.4mm oval case crafted in polished/brushed titanium and topped by a large sapphire crystal. This creates a large window through which the mechanism and the captivating ticking of the coupled oscillators can be admired.
The case still features the brand’s distinctive lip at 6 o’clock. The exhibition caseback is closed by eight screws and offers a spectacular view of the oversized movement. This imposing oval case is something completely new for Armin Strom and it offers an alternative to the brand’s traditional round case. On the wrist, it is massive and certainly won’t go unnoticed.
The Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance is worn on a large alligator leather strap closed by a pin buckle. It is released in a limited edition of eight pieces in titanium. Price is set at CHF 180,000.
With its gargantuan dimensions and bold design, the Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance is not for everyone. But if it is not mainstream, it has everything we love in avant-garde indie watchmaking – this horological machine is daring, innovative and highly technical. As far as we are concerned, we are fans. For more information, please visit www.arminstrom.com.