Zeitgeist Unique Piece By Armin Strom: Pure Resonance, Sensational Synchronicity
There is a word in the German language that is so specific that other languages have just adopted it instead of creating a new word with the same meaning: Zeitgeist. You may have a loose understanding of what the word means but struggle to define it clearly. Zeitgeist broadly means, “the general beliefs, ideas, and spirit of a time and place.” Which unfortunately still doesn’t make it very clear what zeitgeist is.
That is because it is specific to the popular sentiment of a very specific time and place, such as the prevailing ideas in the American South during the civil rights movement or the modern work culture found in Japan during the asset bubble of the late 1980s. Each time period and location has a broadly accepted or influential set of ideas and beliefs driving the culture forward. This is the zeitgeist.
It is always changing with the culture, cannot be perfectly predicted, and, as many philosophers argue, cannot be accurately described until after it is over and assessed from outside itself. This is why keeping your finger on the pulse of the here and now, understanding where culture is moving, and knowing what influences will matter is an artform perfectly encapsulated by one singular word no matter your country of origin.
The here and now is the zeitgeist. And that’s why Armin Strom chose this word as the name for its newest piece, which represents an addition to the history of the brand’s incredible Resonance Clutch Spring technology.
Zeitgeist marks the five-year anniversary of the launch of Armin Strom’s patented resonance technology and focuses on the brand’s ideals and commitment to innovation in watchmaking. It does so by going back to the roots of watchmaking while remaining entirely cutting edge.
Armin Strom Zeitgeist
After five years and four models featuring resonance, Zeitgeist represents a return to form and a chance to remind us why resonance is such an incredible achievement for any watchmaker.
The Resonance Clutch Spring always has been at the core of this model family and the Zeitgeist puts it on full display. The entire aesthetic of the Zeitgeist has been pared back from that of the Mirrored Force Resonance, the original model, yet it makes sure to highlight the resonance technology.
Zeitgeist has an open dial with partially cutaway movement architecture allowing a better view into the mechanical core of the watch. With clean, blasted plates cut from German silver a rich patina will develop over time, helping the caliber to feel vintage and historic even with the very modern Resonance Clutch Spring on display. But that was the point: to highlight technology that is the most advanced and fastest resonance architecture in a wristwatch, synchronizing more quickly than any resonance watch on the market.
The dial layout is the same as the Mirrored Force Resonance with a large dial displaying the hours and minutes and two subdials for seconds, each subdial running in sync in opposite directions to emphasize the resonance phenomenon at work. The Zeitgeist does away with everything that isn’t needed, leaving only three outlined dials.
The hour and minute hands have been skeletonized, as have the bridges supporting the second hands and the balance bridge.
The entire area beneath the dual balances and Resonance Clutch Spring is cut away to allow the mechanism to seem to float in space, giving a more three-dimensional feeling to the phenomenon. The case is part of the most recent design direction, minimizing the styling codes to a more subdued aesthetic, the engravable tombstone at the bottom of the case is now merely a small protrusion from the bezel. These reductions serve to emphasize the movement and technology, the true goal of this Zeitgeist unique piece.
Mechanics and resonance
The Resonance Clutch Spring and the phenomenon of resonance is becoming the core of Armin Strom’s pursuit of technical innovation, which is a primary goal for the brand. The new Caliber ARF21 ZG reminds everyone that Armin Strom is serious about creative horological problem solving. As the dial is cut away we can now see how thanks to a heart-shaped cam, while the reset pusher connects both displays of seconds and realigns each hand.
This feature is designed to help highlight the synchronization that resonance brings. Resonance (which is when two or more vibrating systems interact to trade small amounts of energy and eventually settle into a shared frequency) allows the twin balance wheels to sync up after a shock. However, after a shock the two second hands may have deviated from being perfectly aligned so once it is back in resonance the wearer can press the pusher at 2 o’clock to realign them.
When the movement is out of resonance, you can watch the Resonance Clutch Spring at work, slowly tugging on each balance spring and in turn each balance so that they drift back together. The Resonance Clutch Spring, a patented and scientifically proven device guaranteeing resonance, is attached to the end of each balance spring to transmit vibrational energy. It flexes and deforms as each balance oscillates to synchronize each frequency much more quickly.
Never before has this mechanism been as visible as on the Zeitgeist: with the cutaway movement the entire assembly can be viewed from either side, drawing your eyes to the mechanical show. As this piece aims to reintroduce resonance to Armin Strom fans and the uninitiated alike, Zeitgeist a perfect format for maximum impact. The exposed mechanics of both the Resonance Clutch Spring and the caliber as a whole make it clear that this is a highly technical and finely crafted timepiece.
Change is good
The differences to the new Caliber ARF21 ZG are in service of highlighting resonance, but also honoring the old masters who first discovered resonance principles, creating some of the first examples more than two centuries ago. Christiaan Huygens, Abraham-Louis Breguet, and Antide Janvier were instrumental in documenting and researching the resonance phenomenon and employing it in some incredible horological machines. Due to the limitations of the time it fell out of favor, but proved a very useful tool for achieving consistency of rate.
Now Armin Strom takes cues from the masters to create its innovative Zeitgeist. The use of German silver is a nod as is the rear of the movement, a mashup of modern and classic aesthetics with a large symmetrical base plate and a grand sonnerie-style winding ratchet system that feels entirely from the old world. The mainspring barrels and skeletonization, on the other hand, feel incredibly new.
When combined, the movement synthesizes the inspirations for Armin Strom and makes it clear that the brand isn’t going to be stuck in the past, nor is it going to abandon tradition entirely. The Zeitgeist is a representation of the beliefs and ideals of the brand in this time and place, speaking to the wider watchmaking industry.
Watch brands are finally becoming aware that they cannot solely focus on tradition or innovation because it leaves so much opportunity on the table. The brands seeking to combine and use the interplay of classic, modern, and futuristic will be the ones poised to take the industry into the next decade and beyond.
We are nearing the end of 2021 and the direction from Armin Strom moving forward feels like a good one. I’m guessing (and hoping) it will influence others too. I’m a huge fan of Zeitgeist and disappointed that it is (thus far) a unique piece, but I’m confident that there could be some future model inspired by the ideology of this piece.
One lucky collector is going to own a piece of resonance history,that is sure, and I’m excited that Armin Strom is making such an effort to reintroduce these ideas for their next decade of watchmaking.
Even though it will just resynchronize, let’s break this watch down!
- Wowza Factor * 9.2 This watch is all about the exposed mechanics and those resonating oscillators, it’s a huge wow from me!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 92» 902.212m/s2 The amount of late nights spent ogling the Zeitgeist is no small number, and it doubles when you consider the dual balance wheels!
- M.G.R. * 69.4 The Resonance Clutch Spring is always going to be a winner when it comes to geeky movements, and the new ARF21 ZG adds even more oomph!
- Added-Functionitis * N/A Yet another without added functions – and need for them seems superfluous when you look at this one. Either way, you can skip the Gotta-HAVE-That cream once again!
- Ouch Outline * 11.7 Everything is broken! Some days the worst pain is frustration when nothing seems to work and everything you do to fix things goes wrong. Those are the days when inner peace, or a healthy serving of chocolate, can go a long way. Still, I would gladly take a whole week of those days if it meant I got the Zeitgeist on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * The combination! The Resonance line is already something to love, but seeing this piece with the combination of classic style mixed with the modern engineering is a whole new love!
- Awesome Total * 891.43 Start with the power reserve in hours (80) and multiply by the number of jewels in the movement (39), then divide by the frequency in Hz (3.5) and the result is a technically precise awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.arminstrom.com/en/kollektion/resonance/resonance-zeitgeist.
Quick Facts Armin Strom Zeitgeist
Case: 43 x 11.55 mm, platinum
Movement: manually wound Caliber ARF21 ZG, 80-hour power reserve, 25,200 vph/3.5 Hz frequency on dual balance wheels with Resonance Clutch Spring
Functions: hours, minutes, dual seconds with seconds reset
Limitation: unique piece
Price: CHF 160,000 / €150,000 / $170,000