On The Wrist: Armin Strom Pure Resonance
During the week of SIHH 2019 I had the opportunity of wearing Armin Strom’s incredible resonance watch in its purest form: the Pure Resonance. And I admit to having been quite excited by the opportunity!
I love the brand’s Resonance line, which arrived on the scene in 2016 with the Mirrored Force Resonance. And I was doubly excited (see what I did there?) when the Pure Resonance was introduced as a line extension as this watch is a size and shape that accommodates my small wrist, allowing me to wear all that technical power proudly on my smaller arm.
Armin Strom’s philosophy of engineering the essential is part of what this brand does best with its focus on high-quality horology and attention to detail. And the Resonance Pure is a great example with its ever-so-slightly minimized decorative features putting the spotlight on the inventive watchmaking featuring a physical phenomenon rarely seen in watchmaking.
What is resonance and how can we see it?
When first conceiving the Mirrored Force Resonance, technical director Claude Greisler and his team at Armin Strom didn’t set out to develop a crazy complication. Rather, they were looking for something interesting that genuinely improved chronometry. The idea was more to create a watch with an interesting display whose mechanics made sense in terms of adding to the improvement of timekeeping.
Resonance is a physical phenomenon in which the vibrations of a primary body excite sympathetic vibrations in a secondary body, causing synchronized motion and sharing of energies. Resonance is two (or more) frequencies harmonizing in one frequency.
An animate body always transmits vibrations to its environment. As another body picks up the vibrations created by the first, it absorbs the energy and if around the same harmonic frequency, begins to vibrate at the same frequency. In physics parlance, the first is called the “exciter” and the second the “resonator.”
Other modern timepieces incorporating resonance have two sets of mainsprings, gear trains, escapements, and balances, with a rack and pinion keeping the distance between the two balances adjusted. The Armin Strom oscillators on the other hand, comprise twin balance wheels and balance springs connected by a patented resonance clutch spring invented by the Armin Strom team. It is the balance spring studs that receive the resonant impulses.
The two connected oscillators revolve in opposite directions, one clockwise and the other counterclockwise: this looks much like a magic trick, though in reality it’s just physics.
Once the 48-hour power reserve of the watch has been exhausted and the movement needs winding, the twin balance wheels only need about 10 minutes to once again synchronize. In case of shock, it takes only a few minutes for the two balances to find their resonant rhythm once again.
The advantages of resonance in a wristwatch are myriad. For one, resonance exercises a stabilizing effect on the watch’s ability to keep accurate time by averaging out errors in the oscillator timing. For another, resonance helps conserve energy in the movement thanks to the exciter/resonator relationship. And, finally, it reduces negative effects on the watch’s precision when the watch experiences shock.
Only a handful of watchmakers have ever successfully created a resonant timepiece. “This was an incredible new frontier for us,” Greisler explained. “Making perpetual calendars or tourbillons is far, far easier than spending years calculating springs. This is uncharted territory that we have entered.”
Armin Strom Pure Resonance Fire on the wrist
I went by the Armin Strom booth the first day of SIHH to pick up my test watch and was very pleased to find that Greisler had chosen the Pure Resonance Fire (18-karat pink gold) version for me to wear. Armin Strom’s pink gold is a very deep –almost fiery – color, and the high polish that the brand adds gives it a beautiful shine.
Despite the precious nature of the case, I could imagine this watch being a daily wearer as it is very easy to wear thanks to its moderate size. And despite this version’s precious gold case, it is in no way flashy.
While resonance might seem like a tricky thing to wear every day, the opposite is actually true: a great thing about resonant regulators is their reaction to shocks: if the watch should experience some sort of perturbation that disturbs the frequency of one or both balances, resonance will ensure that they strive to get back to beating in harmony at the correct rate.
That having been said, I never noticed the accuracy of the watch faltering, not once. As it was a busy fair week, I didn’t measure the accuracy in any special way other than comparing it with my iPhone in the mornings. But as far as that went, it kept time perfectly.
Also, its unusual 3.5 Hertz (25,200 vph) frequency is perfect: it is slow enough to allow the observer to really appreciate the resonant regulators in action as they perform their magic dial side, but fast enough to maximize precision.
I truly enjoyed wearing the Pure Resonance for a few days. In my opinion, it is a great unisex watch thanks to its minimalist look and easy-to-wear case. As an enthusiast of mechanical watches, I also really appreciated the watch’s visuals with their distinct with technical bent.
That all having been said, don’t forget that this watch, like almost all of Armin Strom’s collection, is fully customizable meaning that you can give this watch almost any look you want, whether sportier, sleeker, more jeweled, or even a different color. Check out the brand’s Configurator for more!
For more information please visit www.arminstrom.com/en/collection/model/pure.
Quick Facts Armin Strom Pure Resonance Fire
Case: 42 x 12 mm, pink gold
Movement: manual winding Caliber ARF16 with visible resonance clutch spring, two independent, symmetrically mirrored regulators beating at 25,200 vph / 3.5 Hz frequency; 48-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Price: 62,000 Swiss francs
Remark: comes with an alligator skin strap and an additional black rubber strap