Horomariobro Discusses Collaborating With Armin Strom On The New Pure Resonance Ultimate Sapphire
Known for impressive Instagram macro shots of the watches he owns, Horomariobro knows a thing or two about the subtle ingredients that make a great timepiece. We chat with this discerning collector about his recent collaboration with indie favorite Armin Strom, which spawned the Pure Resonance Ultimate Sapphire LE.
In the world of horology, where timekeeping meets craftsmanship, there are individuals whose passion for watches transcends the ordinary. One such example is Horomariobro. This distinguished watch collector, based on the US West Coast, is renowned for his discerning taste and keen eye for fine hand-finishing thanks to his eye-opening macro photos and videos published on his influential Instagram account.
Having transitioned from prestigious established brands to the captivating world of independents on his watch collecting journey, Horomariobro doesn't shy away from candidly scrutinizing the timepieces he owns, whether they hit the mark or fall short in terms of their intricate details and hand-decoration. By sharing his warts-and-all assessments, he provides an insightful context that sparks engaging discussions among his dedicated followers on Instagram.
In our exclusive interview with him, Horomariobro gives us a glimpse into his fascinating world of watch collecting and reveals the story behind his recent collaboration with esteemed independent watchmaker Armin Strom, a pairing which has spawned the Pure Resonance Ultimate Sapphire 10-piece limited edition.
Blending Horomariobro's eagle eye for horological details and the Bienne-based brand’s cutting-edge, in-house savoir-faire, this collab is perhaps one of the most harmonious matchups in the industry.
First Things First: Pure Resonance Ultimate Sapphire
Before the interview, let’s take a quick look at the watch itself. Pure Resonance Ultimate Sapphire is a thoroughly fresh take on Armin Strom’s patented resonance technology that improves timekeeping precision thanks to a butterfly-shaped clutch spring that helps synch two oscillators.
Pure Resonance Ultimate Sapphire stands out for being the brand’s most minimalist resonance watch so far. That’s because, in accordance with Horomariobro’s wishes, it dispenses with a number of elements usually found on Pure Resonance. On the dial, gone are the small seconds subdial and Armin Strom logo, while on the 42mm stainless-steel case, the brand’s signature “lip” at 6 ‘clock has been removed.
In terms of additions, we now have a transparent smoked sapphire ring for the hour-minute dial, while the gear train bridges are adorned with an eye-catching barleycorn guilloche pattern executed at Kari Voutilainen’s Comblémine workshop. The ensemble is treated with a smart monochromatic colorway comprising various hues of gray.
Less is More
This pared-down approach not only helps to enhance the horizontal symmetry of the dial and emphasize the mesmerizing motion of the resonance clutch spring, but it also showcases Armin Strom's in-house capabilities in movement production and haute horlogerie decoration.
Many components of the manufacture Calibre ARF16 are visible dial side, and their alluring shapes are embellished with a range of contrasting fine hand-finishes, as befits a timepiece destined for Horomariobro and his ilk.
These include hand-polished bevels, black-polished and hand-frosted flat surfaces, and circular-grained gears. There is also a superb example of the hand-engraved tremblage technique on the winding bridge at 3 o’clock. More fine hand-decoration can be found on the open-worked back of the movement, which features an improved ratchet mechanism.
Priced at $59,000 excluding taxes, Pure Resonance Ultimate Sapphire is exclusively available at Oster Jewelers. This popular Denver-based retailer specializes in independent watch brands and helped bring Horomariobro and Armin Strom together to work on this co-creation.
Interview with Horomariobro
Could you share with us how you got into the world of watchmaking and the trigger that ignited your passion?
I have always liked handcrafted objects since I can remember. Growing up, I was fascinated with Chinese handmade miniature objects such as hand-engraving on a single grain of rice. These miniature objects were not only amazing to look at, but they also gave me an appreciation of the years of skills and experience required to achieve such a feat.
It was not until I was older that I learned about mechanical watches, and I was able to find similar types of craftsmanship being applied to miniature parts in wristwatches. Wristwatches are even more fascinating to me in that ultra-high precision needs to be achieved – measured in microns in some cases – in order to function properly, on top of having good aesthetics.
What drew you to collaborating with Armin Strom?
Armin Strom is one of the few watch brands that focus on both chronometry engineering, as well as haute horlogerie finishing. These areas are also what attract me to wristwatches. This is especially evident after owning an Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force as the level of finishing blew me away for the price point when I took a close look at it for the very first time.
Also, according to Armin Strom owner and co-founder Serge Michel, more than a third of his team works only on hand-finishing. So, it should come as no surprise that their finishing is great.
How did your request for a unique piece give birth to the creation of this limited edition?
The launch of the Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force Ultimate Sapphire inspired me to commission a unique Pure Resonance with a similar design language.
As I worked on the design with Jeremy Oster from Oster Jewelers and Claude Greisler, master watchmaker at Armin Strom, Claude and Jeremy proposed to make it a Horomariobro collaboration limited edition so that other like-minded collectors can enjoy this creation as well. It was an easy decision for me because it marks a special milestone in my watch collecting journey.
What impressed you most about collaborating with Armin Strom on this watch?
In my view, this watch features several significant modifications, such as the removal of the case lip and the seconds subdial. I wanted to have these changes because it gives the watch a much more symmetrical look and puts a focus on the two balance wheels, which are synced through the resonance clutch spring.
I made these proposals with the mindset that they would most likely get rejected because I was basically asking to remove two important design features of Pure Resonance. I was utterly in shock when Armin Strom agreed to do it. This shows me that Armin Strom was serious about the collaboration and has an open mind for creative ideas.
You have an enviable watch collection. Tell us a little about what you look for in a watch…
My watch collection comprises mainly independent brands that focus on technical engineering and finishing. I do occasionally venture out to collect some mainstream brands. That’s mainly to help me understand why they can speak to the majority of the watch community. However, in the end, I still go back to independent brands, and that’s where I get most joy from.
What are your next steps and aspirations?
I find that I tend to only wear a portion of watches in my collection these days. I started to ask myself my purpose and goal of watch collecting. The answer is definitely very different from when I started many years ago. So, my next step is to consolidate and downsize my collection to fewer than 10 pieces, and add an Haldimann H1 to it. It’s going to be a long and painful journey to reach that goal. Ironically, that’s what makes watch collecting so satisfying and so much fun.