Is the New Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance One of the Best Redesigns of the Year?
It’s tough being a watch collector. You have to juggle your budget and pace your purchases, but just when you think you have nailed your wish list and earmarked the necessary funds, along comes a new watch model to throw everything up in the air.
With its superbly refined dial, case, and movement, the new Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance is exactly the kind of timepiece that might compel many a high-end collector to revise their budget for 2022. In short: Its unexpected charms are pretty hard to resist.
I say “unexpected charms” because we thought we already knew what the Mirrored Force Resonance family was all about. After all, it is five years since the independent watchmaker unveiled its first Mirrored Force Resonance – the Manufacture Edition Black Gold – at London’s one-time premier watch fair, Salon QP.
It caused quite a sensation. Not least of which because the Bienne-based brand had achieved something that few historical and contemporary watchmakers have managed to do: Harness the physical phenomenon of resonance to generate a more stable rate and better timekeeping precision.
Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance
As horological luminaries Abraham-Louis Breguet and Antide Janvier discovered, when two oscillators are coupled via a common support, vibrations are shared through it, with a small force added to or subtracted from the opposite oscillator by this energy. This connection averages the oscillators’ rates by speeding up the slower one and slowing down the faster one, until they synchronize and keep each other at a constant rate.
For its own daring take on resonance, Armin Strom equipped the Mirrored Force Resonance with a butterfly-shaped, steel clutch spring, designed by the brand’s chief horologist Claude Greisler.
By connecting to the outer terminal curves of the balance springs for two independent regulators, the clutch spring allows vibrations to pass over to the opposite balance wheel. It takes just a few minutes for the 3.5Hz balances, oscillating in opposite directions, to synch.
Beyond its impressive performance, the original Mirrored Force Resonance looks fantastic, too. Framed by an assertive 43mm case, the twin regulators provide a striking visual symmetry and are complemented by excellent hand-finishing on the movement.
The family-owned brand has since brought out further editions featuring hand-guilloche and oven-fired enamel hour-minute sub-dials. And their popularity helped to establish the Mirrored Force Resonance as one of the stand-out, independent watches of the last decade.
Making a Great Watch Even Better
But now, Armin Strom has decided to revisit its milestone creation and reimagine its looks, proportions, and functionality using a fresh and elegant design language. As an exercise in making an already great watch look even better, the next-generation Mirrored Force Resonance is an object lesson.
The first thing you notice while examining the new Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance is that the proportions of its polished and satin-finished stainless-steel case have been refined. Its diameter remains 43mm, but its height has been reduced from 13.55mm to 11mm. The lugs, too, have a slimmer profile, while the bezel lip at 6 o’clock bears a less protrusive shape.
The crown has also been redesigned, with a narrow portion that allows it to sit more elegantly against the caseband. Meanwhile, the 2 o’clock pusher (which resets the twin seconds via a “fly-back” mechanism) has a sleeker profile.
Additionally, the raised “glass box” sapphire crystal adds further refinement as it seems to let in more light and make the visible Calibre ARF21 project out more from the dial.
Open-Worked Bridges and Hands
The patented clutch spring and mirror-image balance wheels remain unchanged. But the two bridges supporting the balances are now openworked, as are the hour-minute hands on the multi-textured opaline sub-dial with its warm black-gold tone. It gives the dial an airier, more contemporary feel, enhanced by its monochromatic colorway.
Depth and Three-Dimensionality
However, it is looking through the transparent display caseback that the full extent of the movement’s redesign can be truly appreciated.
Previously, full bridges flush with the barrel lids and ratchet wheel made for an understated, two-dimensional spectacle. Now, we are treated to views of a movement exuding depth and three-dimensionality.
Armin Strom has achieved that effect by paring back the bridges to expose the winding gear train and the mainplate, which now features characteristics of the Mirrored Force Resonance engraved in relief.
Fine Hand-Finishing and Improved Winding
The open execution not only helps make plain the symmetry of the movement. It also allows Armin Strom’s artisans to display their hand-finishing prowess. While the gears are circular-grained, the surfaces of the bridges are frosted or mirror-polished, with the chamfers on the bridges – now markedly wider – also hand-polished.
Finally, the ratchet wheel and clicks have been reworked to echo the design of those found in pocket watches. According to Armin Strom, this provides a smoother winding action.
Price & Availability
Limited to 25 pieces and priced at CHF 58,000 excluding taxes, this first next-generation Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance comes on a dark blue alligator strap with white stitching and a stainless-steel pin buckle and boasts a couple of features that will remain exclusive to it.
Its black-gold dial is one but also the two finger bridges on the back of the movement, which have been exceptionally well-crafted in white gold. Likewise, Armin Strom is offering a 10-year warranty rather than the brand’s usual five.
And finally, if the redesigned Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance, with its slimmer proportions and refined looks, has caught your eye, then there is more exciting news for you in the pipeline: The brand has announced a second “Manufacture Edition” scheduled for early 2023. For more information, please visit the Armin Strom website.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)