Hands On: Angus Davies gets hands-on with the Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance Water in stainless steel
Typically the watches reviewed on ESCAPEMENT feature one going train and a simple Swiss-lever escapement. However, the Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance is not a typical watch. It features two going trains with two balance wheels. The two balance springs are linked with a ‘clutch spring’ which uses resonance to enhance precision and stability.
Resonance is the phenomenon ‘where two oscillating bodies in close proximity influence each other and eventually synchronise’. Initially after the watch is depleted of energy, necessitating winding, the two springs may be out of sync, but within a short period of time they beat as one. The discovery can trace its origins to Christiaan Huygens and his observations of pendulum clocks in the 17th century.
A recent encounter with this modern-day timepiece proved fascinating and an editorial review has been on my agenda ever since.
Initially, the Resonance was launched in 18-carat rose gold, the so-called Fire specification. While this timepiece is supremely handsome, winning a Reddot design award earlier this year, the newer stainless steel version is my preferred option. The white off-centre dial sits-up, grabbing attention with its mesmerising beauty and clean, crisp detail.
Hours and minutes are proclaimed on an off-centre dial adjacent the crown. The hands are bold, share the same aesthetics as other Armin Strom timepieces and feature luminescent fill.
Overlapping the hour and minute dial are two subdials, displaying the running seconds. This is the first incidence of hypnotic motion. The upper seconds display rotates counter-clockwise, while the lower seconds display rotates clockwise. Ironically, the motion of upper and lower balance wheels is the opposite of this.
Pressing the push-piece at 2 o’clock causes the two small seconds displays to reset, proving ideal for synchronising the timepiece with a reference clock.
The left hand flank of the dialscape is filled with the two balance wheels. Of particular interest is the concertina-like portion of the clutch spring which pulses backwards and forwards, left to right and beguiles with its eye-catching motion.
There is a profusion of details on the dial yet nothing appears cluttered and all functions are simple to discern.
The stainless steel case continues in the same vain as most other Armin Strom timepieces, sharing the same design and the same case diameter of 43.4mm. The size works well and as a horophile who is very familiar with the brand’s timepieces I can attest the design and dimensions confer a sublimely comfortable union with the wrist.
Similar to other Armin Strom watches, the front of the case features a ‘lip’. This is a small appendage adjacent 6 o’clock which can be engraved with the owner’s initials.
The lugs are relatively short and draw the strap close to the case. This minimal projection of the strap from the case makes it suit slender wrists as well as larger than average arms.
The case-back is equipped with a pane of sapphire crystal, affording views of the hand-wound movement within.
Despite the modernity of the Calibre ARF15 movement, Armin Strom does not eschew traditional finissage.
The plates are adorned with perlage and the bridges are decorated with circular Côtes de Genève. The bridges and wheels are beautifully bevelled, while the screw sinks shine resplendently.
Everything observed with the Calibre ARF15 upholds the maison’s reputation for crafting fine timepieces of the highest order. Indeed, this movement reaffirms why I feel Armin Strom is a shining exemplar of haute horlogerie.
One benefit of the resonance system is precision. According to Claude Greisler, a Director of Armin Strom, the Calibre ARF15 is 15% more accurate than a conventional Armin Strom model, matching the precision of a tourbillon. Moreover, the stability of the Calibre ARF15 surpasses that of a tourbillon. These traits prove very impressive indeed.
Armin Strom is a comparatively small company, but has sufficient resources and expertise to push horological boundaries and deliver something new. However, the Mirrored Force Resonance doesn’t merely deliver something new for the sake of it, the brand’s creativity has clearly delivered palpable benefits. The Mirrored Force Resonance provides both greater accuracy and enhanced stability, two traits which are clearly most welcome.
Beyond its technical virtuosity, the Mirrored Force Resonance is devilishly handsome. While the ‘Fire’ variant has won silverware for its aesthetic prowess, the ‘Water’ version is, in my opinion, even more attractive and would be my preferred choice. Moreover, the cost saving of selecting the stainless steel version compared with the variant in noble metal is yet another strong argument for consideration.
Armin Strom should be applauded for its creativity and I look forward to hearing of its next instalment of mind-blowing ingenuity.
• Model: Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance Water
• Case: Stainless steel; diameter 43.4mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
• Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds.
• Movement: ARF15; Hand-wound movement; frequency 25,200 VpH (3.5Hz); 43 jewels; power reserve 48 hours.
• Strap: Blue alligator leather strap with steel pin buckle.
• Price: CHF 54,000 (RRP as at 19.7.2017)