Today, we bring you some very exciting news from Armin Strom as they unveil one of the most complicated timepieces out there. We are talking about the new Mirrored Force Resonance Fire that taps into one of the most complicated horological feats and a complication only attempted and mastered by just a few like F.P. Journe and Breguet. Well, today Armin Strom joins the ranks along with these two other brands with the launch of the new Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance Fire timepiece that is the second complication from this young manufacture from Biel.
Based on the physics principle of 'Resonance', this new timepiece from Armin Strom, shows that this manufacture is way more than just skeletonization and that in reality they are a true horological force. A 'Resonance Watch' is one that is equipped with two independent movements with two independent balance wheels, two independent escapements, two independent gear trains and two independent mainsprings. Based on the physics phenomenon where two oscillating bodies in close proximity influence each other and eventually synchronize known as 'resonance', the balance wheels generate a reverberance and the resonance between them allows for fine tuning aiming for maximum horological accuracy, precision and rate stability. Therefore, very precise adjustment of the distance between the two regulators is necessary to incite resonance, which sees the two balances finding a concurrent rhythm in opposite directions so as to continuously average out errors for maximum accuracy.
One body in motion relays its vibrations to its surroundings. When another body with a similar natural resonant frequency to the first receives these vibrations, it will absorb energy from the first and start vibrating at the same frequency in a sympathetic manner. The first body acts as the “exciter,” while the second acts as the “resonator.” The phenomenon of synchronized motion in horology has fascinated watchmakers since the time of Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695). Huygens, inventor of the pendulum clock, was the first to discover the resonance of two separate pendulum clocks, which he logically surmised should keep slightly different time. When hung from a common beam, however, the pendulums of the adjacent clocks synchronized; subsequent researchers confirmed that the common wooden beam coupled the vibrations and created resonance. The two pendulums functioned as one in a synchronous manner. In the eighteenth century, Abraham-Louis Breguet demonstrated his mastery of the phenomenon with his double pendulum resonance clock.
The advantages of resonance are:
1. A stabilizing effect on timekeeping.
2. A conservation of energy.
3. A reduction of negative effects on timekeeping accuracy due to outside perturbation such as shock to the balance staff, which in turn keeps the rate more stable and increases precision.
An outside shock that slows one of the balances down increases the speed of the other one by the same amount; both balances will strive to get back in resonance, thereby averaging and minimizing the effects of the outside influence as they find their rhythm.
To provide an idea of how difficult the horological execution of this concept is, an exhaustive list of watchmakers that have successfully used resonance in an extremely limited number of timepieces includes Antide Janvier (1751-1855), Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823), so few modern clock and watchmakers that they can likely be counted on one hand. Unlike the majority of watch companies operating today, Armin Strom is a full-fledged manufacture with in-house manufacturing capability. The resonant Caliber ARF15 composed of 226 parts and 43 jewels is a classically constructed manually wound movement that was conceived, manufactured, assembled, and regulated in-house. It beats at a frequency of 25,200 vph —3.5 Hz— thus allowing the observer to really appreciate the patented, resonant regulators in action. The movement is resolutely modern, with a novel, yet impeccably executed finish providing a roomy and stable stage for the real show: the symmetrical twin display of seconds, which are bound by a single spring.
The resonance clutch spring needed to realize the Mirrored Force Resonance’s twin display of seconds was so technical that the brand’s team, under the direction of technical director Claude Greisler, was left with no choice other than to create what it needed in house. Like Calibre ARF15, the resonance clutch spring comprises only a traditional horological material: steel. Greisler and his team spent fully two and a half years perfecting the shape and characteristics of the spring: calculating, optimizing, simulating, testing, and improving again and again until the spring had the optimal, unique form needed to connect Armin Strom’s two sets of oscillators, each comprising twin balance wheels and balance springs.
Since the two connected oscillators make their revolutions in opposite directions, which is eminently visible on the dial side of the watch, one rotating clockwise and the other counterclockwise, the animated elements look much like they are performing a magic trick. If the 48-hour power reserve has been exhausted and the movement requires a fresh injection of energy through winding, the twin balance wheels need approximately 10 minutes to become synchronous. In case of any outside influence in the form of shock, it takes only a few minutes for the two balances to find their resonant rhythm once again. This is because it is not the balance wheels that Armin Strom’s technical team has connected using the resonance clutch spring, but rather the balance spring studs, which receive the impulses. The case band pusher at 2 o’clock resets the luminous twin seconds’ displays to zero, simultaneously resetting the twin balance wheels. The Mirrored Force Resonance is the most complicated timepiece that Armin Strom manufactures; it is not surprising that a patent has been registered on it.
Encased in an 18K rose gold case measuring 43.40 mm in diameter and equipped with a brown alligator hornback strap and an additional rubber strap with deployant double-folding clasp, the new Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance Fire is available in a limited edition of only 50 pieces. Unveiled today at Salon QP in London, the watch will embark in a world tour afterwards and we will be bringing our usual live pictures in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned!
Sticker Price CHF 67,000 —Approximately $69,000 USD. For more info on Armin Strom click here.