Hailed as a breakthrough in contemporary watchmaking, Armin Strom’s Mirrored Force Resonance of 2016 revisited a phenomenon discovered by Christiaan Huygens in the 17th century and incorporated it inside the diminutive dimensions of a 21st-century wristwatch. Even in contemporary watchmaking, only a handful of watchmakers (read F.P. Journe and Vianney Halter) have been able to harness the physical phenomenon. Armin Strom’s patented Resonance Clutch Spring, directly connecting two hairsprings for the fastest and most resonant state possible, is the key to the brand’s successful application of resonance. Appearing in different guises, including a spectacular Minute Repeater, the Pure Resonance is a more pared-down, classically styled watch. This year, Armin Strom revisits the Pure Resonance with a coppery-salmon dial handcrafted by Kari Voutilainen and limited to five pieces.
What is Resonance?
The basic principle behind resonance is that two oscillating bodies in close proximity influence each other and eventually synchronise. This odd phenomenon was first reported in 1665 by Christiaan Huygens, the famous Dutch scientist, mathematician, astronomer and inventor who noticed that two of his recently invented pendulum clocks were oscillating in sympathy. If the synchronisation was disturbed by some interference, it would, he observed, re-establish itself in a short period of time.
The rarity of resonance watches lies in the difficulty entailed in designing and producing them. In essence, they require two watch movements combined into one unit with two independent mainsprings, gear trains, escapements and balances. A resonance watch requires its two balance wheels to find a concurrent rhythm to continually regulate one another and maintain a consistent state of resonance. One thing is to pull this off on a static longcase clock but quite another inside a wristwatch that is continuously engaged in unpredictable movements and is often bumped. To replicate the conditions needed to produce resonance – and its desired outcome of regulating rate precision over time – Armin Strom’s ingenious watchmaker Claude Greisler connected twin oscillators with a steel spring attached to their studs (aka resonance clutch spring).
United by this common structure, even the smallest vibrations are shared, adding or subtracting a small force from the opposite oscillator until their rate is averaged and they beat in perfect synchrony. After its debut inside the Mirrored Force Resonance, Armin Strom applied resonance technology to the more classical Pure Resonance, the enormous two-timing Dual Time Resonance, the Minute Repeater Resonance masterpiece and the openworked Zeitgeist one-off anniversary piece in platinum.
To date, the Pure Resonance has appeared in stainless steel cases with Sea Green and Blue dials, in a rose gold case with a black dial and a white gold case with a Sky Blue dial. The latest model retains the same specifications but flaunts a new salmon guilloché dial handcrafted in Kari Voutilainen’s atelier. In truth, there are two dials: the off-centred hours and minutes dial intersected by the small seconds. Using a traditional manual rose-engine lathe, the radiant guilloché pattern inside the hours and minutes sub-dial adds a touch of old-world chronometry, consolidating its classical appeal with Roman numerals and railroad track minutes. The intersecting running seconds dial also features a peripheral railroad track and a snailed interior.
The left side of the dial is reserved for the twin resonant oscillators attached to the patented steel resonance clutch spring, designed to transfer energy between both hairsprings to bring the balance wheels into resonance and average out errors. The time displays receive power from the lower regulator while the upper regulator is in charge of producing resonance.
In a departure from the more exposed and openworked movement of the Mirrored Force Resonance, the Pure Resonance model features bridges decorated with elegant straight Geneva stripes. It also dispenses with the two small seconds counters, which are replaced with the small intersecting running seconds for a cleaner, purer and more classical dial.
The 42mm case size is the smallest of all the Resonance models. Crafted in stainless steel, the case features the brand’s characteristic “lip” at 6 o’clock. The thickness stated in the press release is 13mm, although I’d like to check this when we do a hands-on because all the other models are given a 12mm thickness.
The manual-winding in-house calibre ARF16 used exclusively for the Pure Resonance watches is fitted with two independent symmetrically mirrored regulators connected by a resonance clutch spring. Composed of 206 parts, the movement measures 34.40mm x 7.05mm, beats at a frequency of 25,200 and delivers a power reserve of 48 hours.
Availability and Price
The Armin Strom Pure Resonance Salmon is a limited edition of five timepieces. It comes with a black alligator strap and stainless steel double-folding clasp. The price is CHF 59,000 (EUR 62,600, GBP 53,000 or USD 60,000).
For more information, please visit Armin Strom.com.