The exclusive Mirrored Force Resonance: Armin Strom creates a stir at QP!

London, 3 November 2016: Armin Strom explodes onto the world chronometry landscape at the QP fair. The Mirrored Force Resonance is a resonance timekeeper that comes packed with patents and an awesome calibre.

By Joel Grandjean

The final home straight before the international Haute Horlogerie Salon in Geneva in January 2017, the QP Salon opens its doors at Chelsea's Saatchi Gallery to an impressive sixty or so exhibitors, including a selection of Swiss watchmaking brands. Among them is the Biel-based Armin Strom, showcasing its innovative world first.

London in November - a smart move

Having a watchmaker on your management team, namely chief horologist, Claude Greisler, can lead to a little tweaking of the rules, a few subversive acts that contravene marketing logic and bend bureaucratic procedure. After all, who else would have brought out such a novelty at one of the intermediate dates in the watchmaking calendar? Wouldn't it have been better to hold it back for the more "compulsory" events, such as the January edition of the SIHH in Geneva, or Baselworld in spring 2017? But there you are. The stands held at these prestigious fairs abound with new items, specials, excitement and drama. And the media, solicited from all sides, tend to go for the slickest, or the wealthiest communicators. So, how to make one's voice heard in the crowd?

It's November and we're in London, a city steeped in watchmaking history, the memory of great watchmakers of the past immortalised in its must-see museums. The perfect environment for launching innovations that are redolent of pure chronometry. Armin Strom, the discreet operator and efficient independent micro-Manufacture slowly gaining universal recognition, is tackling one of the most fascinating complications on the mechanical watchmaking planet. The resonance complication is a rarely mastered phenomenon, and one even more rarely found on a wristwatch. Few have ever attempted it… Breguet was a pioneer in the field for pocket watches, while François-Paul Journe made it a speciality.

The resonance complication, a fascinating physical phenomenon

Yet it is far away from London, in the Netherlands, that we discover the first scientist to have observed the resonance principle; the mathematician, astronomer and physicist, Christian Huygens (1629 - 1695). Regarded, among other things, as the father of the pendulum, he observed, in 1665, that two pendulums placed close to each other and suspended from the same mount, entered into resonance and synchronised. They tuned into each other's rhythm, neither advancing nor retreating, but mutually gaining in precision. And neither one striving to tell a different time, as logic would otherwise have it. They are as if transformed by their intimate co-habitation into a single mechanism, or rather two mechanisms, mysteriously linked and capable of interaction. As if formed from a substance that both transmits and receives.

This near-sacred phenomenon continues to captivate even the most masterly watchmakers. Personally speaking, not being much of a mathematician, I consider it the most fascinating watchmaking complication. I see it as akin to finding a soulmate: two entities, separate and distinct, which, when they meet and harmonise, begin to beat in such perfect synchronisation that they offer an unequalled precision. Try and explain that to a watchmaker (I tried it with one of the most brilliant geniuses of this century), and he'll call you a lost cause for Science!

But there is nevertheless a very easy formula to help the layman understand the phenomenon: it's like when soldiers have to break stride to cross a bridge. The simple law of physics that can suddenly amplify their movements and instil a rhythm in unison that brings the bridge crashing down... That's resonance.

Independence in the name of fine chronometry

With the launch of its Mirrored Force Resonance, Armin Strom is doing its bit for chronometry and giving it a modern twist into the bargain, for the brand masters its technologies as consummately as it does its products. It invites us to step into the magical world of micro-mechanics, to foray into a third millennium, a future time that refuses to neglect ancestral values. Values, such as the three reasons behind the tremendous appeal of this exceptional mechanism: firstly, the resonance principle is of benefit to time-measurement, since its stabilising effect considerably enhances the precision of the timepiece; secondly, its energy-saving potential - think of a cyclist riding in the wake of a sprinter to take advantage of his aerodynamics; and thirdly, it helps to better absorb any outside vibrations and their negative effects on the smooth running of the timekeeper, ‘buffering’, for example, any shocks to the balance staff more efficiently. Once again, the ultimate in precision is achieved.

Beating at a rare 25,200 vibrations per hour!

Armin Strom's independent approach to design can generally be seen in its slightly off-centre calibre, which is placed to the left of the circle normally containing the movement. Through this tiny visual indicator, perceptible to the connoisseur, but also of aesthetic interest to the majority, the company clearly shows that it refuses to call upon the usual movement suppliers in the sector.

For the Mirrored Force Resonance model, it devised a calibre distinctive for its extremely unusual frequency of 25,200 vibrations per hour (i.e. 3.5 Hertz). Serving as a welcome reminder of the basics of watchmaking, it is designed, assembled and even adjusted in-house. This rather uncommon frequency allows the onlooker to observe the patented resonance regulators in action. The main goal was to achieve optimum accessibility to the principle of resonance upon which the model operates, a symmetrical twin display of seconds, connected by a single spring. The spring clutch assembly also turned out to be a real brainteaser for Claude Greiser and his team. It therefore had to be crafted in-house, which meant devoting two years to the calculations, optimisations, simulations and inspections required to achieve the necessary optimum, unique form for connecting the two oscillator assemblies. Each comprises twin springs and balances that complete their revolutions in opposite directions. The result is pure magic and once the watch exhausts its 48 hours' power reserve, it resynchronises after ten minutes or less, when new power is delivered by pressing the pushpiece at 2 o'clock.

Collectors and enthusiasts, the architects of desire

Watchmaking aficionados, the mere handful of 2,000 or so diehards in the world, whose vast personal fortunes keep those at the very tip of the luxury watchmaking pyramid in pocket, should find gratification. Thanks to this remarkable creation, they can at last shed any misgivings they might have about Armin Strom, a brand that has built its raison d'être on its discreet loyalty and, of course, its perfectly tuned, dependable timekeepers. Yet still it retains the fiercely independent spirit and wilful self-reliance of a brand that, even if it had limitless resources, would refuse to use them... for the sake of its originality.

More info about Salon QP: www.salonqp.com

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