Armin Strom Pure Resonance

The Armin Strom Pure Resonance is available in two variants, ‘Water’ and ‘Fire’. Both models feature the innovative calibre ARF16, a movement incorporating two balance springs linked to a ‘resonance clutch spring’. The benefits of this notable ingenuity are superb precision and excellent stability.

This detailed review of the Armin Strom Pure Resonance includes live images, specification and prices.

Armin Strom Pure Resonance - hand-wound watch with two balance springs and a resonance clutch spring

The word ‘pure’ implies an item is clean and unblemished. It can also mean an item is free of the extraneous. Armin Strom has clearly thought about the meaning of the word, ‘pure’, using the word to label its latest horological offering. The nomen has been chosen to describe the distilled presentation of time, refined to the absolute essentials. 

Another component of this new model’s name is ‘Resonance’. This is the phenomenon ‘where two oscillating bodies in close proximity influence each other and eventually synchronise’. Christiaan Huygens (1629 – 1685) encountered resonance whilst observing pendulum clocks. Claude Greisler, CEO and Technical Director of Armin Strom, is fascinated by the idea of resonance. He once discovered a clock made by Antide Janvier (1751 – 1835) featuring a double pendulum. It shared the same suspension and used resonance to deliver excellent precision. After seeing Janvier’s clock, Greisler never forgot the phenomenon of resonance.

In November 2016 at SalonQP, Armin Strom released the Mirrored Force Resonance. This watch featured an interesting ‘twin seconds flyback mechanism’, operated with a push-piece positioned at 2 o’clock. Unusually, the movement featured two going trains and two balance wheels. A ‘resonance clutch spring’ linked the two balance springs, or regulators. By taking this approach, the resonance delivered superior precision and stability.

A few weeks ago, Armin Strom unveiled a further resonance watch, the Pure Resonance. This timepiece upholds the idea of displaying the resonant balances dial-side, whilst exploiting the superb precision a resonance movement provides. However, this watch sets aside the aforementioned ‘twin seconds flyback mechanism’. In this instance, the Pure Resonance sublimates timekeeping into the absolute essentials of time, displaying hours, minutes and seconds. The rationale for this approach is not restricted to aesthetics, as the brand points out, ‘the fewer functions a timepiece must perform, the better it can concentrate on accuracy.’

Armin Strom Pure Resonance - hand-wound watch with two balance springs and a resonance clutch spring

Armin Strom Pure Resonance Fire

The Armin Strom Pure Resonance is available in two variants, ‘Water’ and ‘Fire’. The water version is presented in stainless-steel while the fire model is delivered in an 18-carat rose gold case. Each version is paired with an optimally-hued dial. Personally, I prefer the steel model, appreciating the appearance of its gorgeous blue-coloured dials and it is this model which is the focus of this review.

The dial

One characteristic of Armin Strom’s watches is the free disclosure of movement parts normally hidden from view. The Pure Resonance proves to be no exception, revealing both of the balances on the left side of the dial. A resonance clutch spring links the balances and pulses with life, moving from side to side. Personally, I adore the sight of the balance wheels oscillating and the pallet levers underneath industriously nodding.

Armin Strom Pure Resonance - hand-wound watch with two balance springs and a resonance clutch spring

Armin Strom Pure Resonance Water

The Armin Strom Pure Resonance exhibits a slightly classical appearance. This is something of a revelation as Armin Strom is synonymous with making ultramodern watches. An example of this classicism can be found with the Côtes de Genève motif gracing the bridges. While the Swiss watch brand has featured circular Côtes de Genève on its models before, this is the first time it has used this more traditional, straight form of decoration. The vertical stripes confer a sumptuous appearance and underscore the ‘dressy’ character of the watch.

The hours and minutes are displayed on an off-centre subdial adorned with a sunray motif. Time is proclaimed with elegant lancine-shaped steel hands. Roman numerals denote the hours and emphasise the classical character of the watch. Encircling the subdial is a traditional railroad track.

A small seconds display is positioned at 7 o’clock. The surface of the display is snailed and framed with a neat chapter ring. The small seconds dial overlaps the main dial display.

The secret of this watch is that it efficiently imparts the time. The two subdials unite, displaying hours, minutes and seconds in a highly legible form. Nothing detracts from the purpose of telling the time.

The case

This new model, measuring 42mm in diameter, is clearly smaller than its forebears. In addition, the  case is slimmer, now measuring 12mm in height. This will undoubtedly prove more appealing to those would-be buyers who have previously dismissed Armin Strom models as too large.

Armin Strom Pure Resonance - hand-wound watch with two balance springs and a resonance clutch spring

Close examination of the case reveals the bezel is narrower, the lugs are smaller and the crown is neater. While these changes sound small, their cumulative effect significantly alter the overall aesthetic, imbuing this watch with its own distinct character.

Armin Strom Pure Resonance - hand-wound watch with two balance springs and a resonance clutch spring

Fans of the brand should not panic, this timepiece remains instantly recognisable as an Armin Strom watch. Indeed, the company from Biel/Bienne has retained its legendary ‘lip’ below 6 o’clock. The lip facilitates personalisation, with many customers choosing to have their initials engraved on this small protrusion.

Armin Strom Pure Resonance - hand-wound watch with two balance springs and a resonance clutch spring

The bezel and upper lug surfaces are highly polished, while the case-band is vertically-brushed. Every element of the Armin Strom Pure Resonance feels understated, refined and tasteful. Those individuals seeking conspicuous demonstrations of wealth should look elsewhere.

The movement

The Pure Resonance grants a rear view of the calibre ARF16 courtesy of an exhibition case-back. Two large open-worked spring barrels dominate this mechanical vista. A grained metal plate separates the two spring barrels, while the main plate is adorned with Côtes de Genève motif. The bridges adjacent the two aforementioned dials sport gleaming bevels, reminding the wearer this movement is an exemplar of high-end watchmaking.

Armin Strom Pure Resonance - hand-wound watch with two balance springs and a resonance clutch spring

Armin Strom has looked at many small details. The screws affixed to the rim of each balance wheel are set in-board, resulting in less air turbulence, thereby augmenting precision.

Armin Strom Pure Resonance - hand-wound watch with two balance springs and a resonance clutch spring

Indeed, precision is a key attribute of this watch. The movement dispenses with complications with one aim in mind, to deliver superior accuracy. Previous discussions with Armin Strom revealed the resonance know-how delivers precision on a par with its tourbillon models. It also provides superior stability.

Armin Strom Pure Resonance - hand-wound watch with two balance springs and a resonance clutch spring

The balance wheels oscillate with a frequency of 25,200 VpH (3.5Hz). The movement contains 206 components including 38 jewels. The power-reserve is capable of delivering 48 hours autonomy.

Closing remarks

The Armin Strom Pure Resonance is a totally new watch. The dials, case and movement are fresh. Even the hands are original. By adopting this clean-sheet approach to design, this timepiece looks distinctly different from its siblings. The crisp contours and an elegant display on this smart watch exhibit a formality ideally suited to cocktail attire.

‘The clue is in the name’ is a phrase which is often used. The first part of this watch’s nomenclature, ‘Pure’ relates to its limited inventory of functions. By simply displaying hours, minutes and seconds, the movement can focus on delivering impressive precision. Furthermore, by limiting the number of indications shown and dispensing with functions which could be described as superfluous the watch delivers an attractive display which is simple to read.

Lastly, the word ‘Resonance’ signifies a new chapter in watchmaking. While the phenomenon of resonance can be traced to Huygen’s observations in the 17th century, few watch companies have been able to harness its benefits. It says much about this dynamic Manufacture in Biel/ Bienne that it has surmounted the technical obstacles of exploiting resonance and, to date, has delivered two models equipped with this impressive know-how. I suspect Armin Strom will release further resonance watches in the future, capitalising further on the impressive precision this ingenious approach yields.

Further information

https://www.arminstrom.com

Technical specification

  • Model: Armin Strom Resonance Water
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 42mm; height 12mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back; water resistant to 5 atm (50 metres)
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds
  • Movement: Calibre ARF16; hand-wound movement; frequency 25,200 vph (3.5Hz); 38 jewels; power reserve 48 hours
  • Strap: Genuine alligator strap and stainless steel pin buckle. Also supplied with a black rubber strap.
  • Price: CHF 49,000 (RRP as at 11.5.2018)