Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance
The Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance transcends the ‘usual’ GMT watch with a dual time display featuring two independent dials. Moreover, its ingenious resonance clutch spring confers incredible accuracy, shock-resistance and low energy consumption. Angus Davies seized the opportunity to sample this exemplar of haute horlogerie during a recent visit to the Manufacture.
This detailed review of the Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance includes live images, specification details and pricing.
It is often said, ‘Two heads are better than one’. There is often a synergistic outcome of two people working together. Clearly, this is a notion which resonates with Armin Strom. In recent years, the company from Biel-Bienne has been researching the phenomenon of resonance, releasing several models endowed with two balance springs linked with a ‘resonance clutch spring’.
The phenomenon of resonance was discovered by Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695). The Dutchman invented the pendulum clock and found that when two separate pendulum clocks, were hung on a common beam they became synchronised.
Armin Strom describes the phenomenon of resonance as follows:
‘Any body in motion causes vibrations in its surroundings. When another body with a similar natural resonant frequency to the first receives these vibrations, it absorbs energy from it and starts vibrating at the same frequency in a sympathetic manner. For example, a trained singer can hold a note causing a tuning fork, tuned to the same frequency, to vibrate’.
A watch that employs resonance offers significant benefits when compared with a ‘standard’ timepiece. Firstly, it has a stabilising effect on timekeeping, conferring greater precision. Secondly, it mitigates energy consumption and, lastly, it lessens the effects of impacts such as a shock to the balance staff. This latter attribute ensures a stable rate, again enhancing precision.
The Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance is the brand’s first über-exclusive ‘Masterpiece’ model. Presented in an eye-catching oval case, it is equipped with two independent movements which sit side by side. The hairsprings of each movement are brought together with Armin Strom’s innovative and patented resonance clutch spring. Armin Strom spent three years, researching and developing its resonance clutch spring. As Claude Greisler, the Co-Founder and Technical Director of Armin Strom explains:
‘Developing a perpetual calendar or tourbillon would have been far easier than the years we spent calculating and validating the resonance clutch springs, it was uncharted territory.’
There are 38 different local time zones in use around the globe. While most of these are a whole number of hours before or after the prevailing hour at the prime meridian (GMT or UTC), several time zones have only 30 or 45 minute offsets.
Most GMT watches show the ‘local time’ with the dominant hands while simultaneously displaying the ‘home hour’ with an additional hand. This works perfectly if the time is expressed as GMT ± a whole number of hours. However, some places, for example Calcutta where the time is GMT + 5:30, render a standard dual time watch useless.
As stated earlier, the Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance incorporates two independent movements. Each movement is paired with its own dedicated display. The time shown on each dial can be wholly different, allowing the wearer to display the prevailing time in those locations with 30 or 45 minute offsets. This is the optimal solution to displaying the time in two different locations.
The watch consists of two black dials, both embellished with exquisite hand-guilloché. Armin Strom has strived to create the finest expression of watchmaking, calling on the services of Kari Voutilainen, arguably the finest practitioner of this artistic craft, to realise these exquisite dials. The sumptuous black dials fanfare this watch as a ‘masterpiece’ consistent with its given name.
Positioned in the upper portion of the display area, the resonance clutch spring nestles between the two balance wheels. When the movement is operational and the balance wheels are oscillating to and fro, the resonance clutch spring pulses with life, providing a mesmerising spectacle.
Each balance spring is held in position with a gold, openworked cock. The leading edge of each cock is bevelled while each upper surface is beautifully adorned with tremblage. Beneath the balance cocks and the dials, the grey-coloured surface is brushed and assumes a neutral role adjacent the neighbouring dial components. The vital information is allowed to shine without hindrance.
The two dials denote the hours with Roman numerals. The dial on the left features white numerals, while the right-hand display employs golden numerals. Each display features stainless steel lancine-shaped hands to express the hours and minutes. Both of the dials are encircled with a chemin-de-fer.
At the base of each hour and minute display is a power-reserve indicator, informing the wearer of the available energy held within the twin barrels of each movement.
Located in between the hour and minute displays is a day-night indicator for each dial. Two hands, one silver and one golden, correspond with the appropriate dial display. The fulcrum of the day-night indicator again features a guilloché motif.
While the display incorporates several elements, the indications prove simple to interpret. Furthermore, the artisanal crafts employed on this watch ensure it stands out from the crowd. Quite simply, Armin Strom sidesteps the mediocre and champions the extraordinary. Nothing is the product of haste.
Given there are two generously proportioned hour and minute displays, it was inevitable that Armin Strom would opt for an oval case. The resultant case is substantial, measuring 59mm x 43.4mm with a thickness of 15.9mm. While the distance from north to south is the same as a ‘normal’ Armin Strom watch, the east-west span is a significant 59mm. In reality, I did not find this a problem as the crowns are positioned in the upper portion of the case, mitigating any risk of annoying intrusions.
Despite its leviathan proportions, the Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance is quite light, courtesy of its Grade 5 titanium torso. The hypoallergenic metal has been expertly polished to a brilliant gleam, save for a slither of brushed metal gracing the caseband.
The rear of the watch is endowed with a pane of sapphire crystal, granting a clear view of the hand-wound movements within.
A high quality black alligator strap complements this horological ensemble. It is paired with a stainless steel folding clasp.
The Armin Strom manufacture calibre ARF17 is manually wound. It comprises of two independent movements, each with its own winding crown. In addition, the wearer can set both movements to show totally different times.
Both movements are powered by two barrels, each providing 110 hours of autonomy. The power reserve indicators employ a cone and feeler system to establish the state of wind.
The manufacture calibre ARF17 is beautifully appointed. The bridges are adorned with circular Côtes de Genève motif. The dorsal view of the movement reveals four spring barrels. Turning the crowns cause the spoked wheels to rotate, thereby enchanting the onlooker. Consistent with Armin Strom’s liking for openworked watches, the spring barrels reveal the mainsprings in various states of tension. This brand repeatedly indulges the whims of horological voyeurs, showing a bit of horological hemline to sublime effect.
The jewel and screw sinks are highly polished, while the bridges sport resplendent anglage which grant a becoming contrast with the neighbouring surfaces.
I adore the freely disclosed conical power reserve systems. Beside the wondrous sight of the feelers and cones at play, the openworked bridges floating above enchanting cavities look superb. These bridges are grained on their top and feature beautiful bevelled edges, including some coveted internal angles.
While Armin Strom is synonymous with modernity, it continues to uphold traditional watchmaking craft. Be under no misapprehension, this independent brand is a paragon of haute horlogerie.
The Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance is the brand’s inaugural ‘Masterpiece’ and wonderfully showcases the company’s immense expertise. Claude Greisler has been instrumental in the design of the dial and case. Furthermore, he has utilised the Manufacture’s vast resources to create an ingenious movement.
Computer Aided Design
The manufacture calibre ARF17 breaks new ground with its patented resonance clutch spring and it delivers an array of benefits which are relevant to any potential wearer. Indeed, it is not only the technical benefits of resonance which prove appealing, but also the spellbinding spectacle of seeing the clutch spring enchantingly beat.
By employing two movements, the Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance is capable of displaying time in two different locations, irrespective of the offsets. Both dials are meaningfully proportioned and prove simple to read. The power reserve indicators lucidly convey the energy held in the twin barrels belonging to each movement. Furthermore, only a cold heart would fail to love the cone and feeler system for the power reserve indicator which is visible at the rear of the watch.
Armin Strom has created a magnum opus, a watch which transcends the norm and delivers a high quotient of excellence, worthy of the appellation ‘Masterpiece’. By its very nature this watch will not be produced in large numbers, its protracted creation precludes mass production. Indeed, with only 8 examples available, exclusivity is assured and technical virtue is guaranteed.
- Model: Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance
- Case: Grade 5 titanium case; 59mm (L) x 43.4mm (L) x 15.9mm (H); sapphire crystals to front and rear; water resistant to 5 ATM (50 metres).
- Functions: (Hours; minutes; 24-hour indicator; power reserve indicator) x 2 movements/ displays
- Movement: Armin Strom manufacture calibre ARF17; frequency 25,200 vph (3.5Hz); 70 jewels; power reserve = 110 hours for each movement
- Price: CHF 180,000 (RRP as at 16.11.2018)