Good Vibrations: Armin Strom Celebrates Five Years Of Resonance Technology With Zeitgeist
To mark the fifth anniversary of its resonance system, Armin Strom has created a one-of-a-kind watch that not only honors this innovative technology but pays homage to the brand’s roots in skeletonization.
Swiss independent brand Armin Strom is in a celebratory mood, for it is five years since the Biel/Bienne-based, family-owned company introduced its resonance technology. And to commemorate the milestone, the watchmaker decided to create something rather special – a stunning, skeletonized, unique resonance timepiece called Zeitgeist.
The Phenomenon of Resonance
In watchmaking, the phenomenon of resonance involves two oscillating mechanisms that transmit vibrational energy between one another, so each affects – and corrects – the other’s rate, thus improving accuracy.
As the eminent horologists Christiaan Huygens, Abraham-Louis Breguet, and Antide Janvier discovered, when two pendulums or balance wheels are fixed to a common support, small vibrations are shared through the supporting structure. A tiny force is either added to or subtracted from the opposite oscillator by this energy, averaging their rate by speeding up the slower one and slowing down the faster one. That carries on until both synchronize and keep each other at a constant rate.
Butterfly-Shaped Clutch Spring
Armin Strom’s impressive take on resonance entails a butterfly-shaped resonance clutch spring. A flexible suspension made from steel, the patented Resonance Clutch Spring connects both the hairsprings of a pair of oscillators, letting the vibrations pass to the opposite balance wheel.
It doesn’t just perform well – it takes a matter of minutes for the 3.5Hz balances oscillating in opposite directions to synch – but it looks fantastic too. The twin regulators set a symmetrical visual tone for the timepiece, into which the brand has channeled its technology.
Drawing on a Past Tradition
To create its Zeitgeist, Armin Strom has essentially taken its Mirrored Force Resonance design, with twin oscillators and corresponding twin small seconds displays, and given it a contemporary makeover. And at the heart of which is another of the brand’s traditional specialties: skeletonization.
Before Founder and CEO Serge Michel and Co-founder and Master Watchmaker Claude Greisler took over the reins of the brand in 2006, Armin Strom was known for its openworked watches, hand-skeletonized by the man who established the brand – and lent his name to it – Mr. Armin Strom.
Zeitgeist pays tribute to that tradition of skeletonization, thanks to the paring down of its mainplate, bridges, and dial discs. As a result, this leaves a number of the moving parts of the Calibre ARF21_ZG visible in all their glory. Stealing the show at 9 o’clock are the twin oscillators coupled with the clutch spring, their presence now made all the more spectacular by a large void that has been created by cutting out part of the mainplate beneath them.
A Smart, Sober Look
While the plates and bridges are a light gray, the two small seconds rings and the hour-minute sub-dial are made with 18K white gold that has been lacquered white, complemented by hand-finished stainless-steel hands. It’s a smart, sober look, enhanced by a studied choice of decoration to the movement plates – mainly hand-frosting, with a little bit of straight-graining and perlage added for good measure.
Through the display caseback, we can still see the twin balances oscillating in the opposite direction to each other thanks to the cut-out in the mainplate. We also see a number of gears and the ratchet wheels of the two mainspring barrels, which are hand-wound to offer 80 hours of power reserve.
Housing the movement is a 43mm platinum case that is water-resistant to 50m and features a platinum pusher at 2 o’clock, which, when pressed, resets the twin seconds via a “fly-back” mechanism. The case is fitted with a black alligator leather strap with a double folding clasp.
A Sign of Great Things to Come
Both Greisler and Michel are excited about what Zeitgeist represents for its resonance technology and the brand, both today and in the years ahead.
“We decided to create something unique for this fifth anniversary: a work of art that honors our resonance technology and pays tribute to our roots in skeletonization. Zeitgeist’s movement was painstakingly produced, piece by piece, clearly emphasizing the resonance mechanism. This has never been done before,” said Greisler.
Michel added, “Zeitgeist plays a very important part in the history and the future of our brand. It stands for our belief in the evolution of watchmaking, and it clearly marks the next chapter in resonance for our manufacture.”
They aren’t the only ones excited to see what that next chapter entails – with maybe more skeletonized resonance pieces on the horizon. Watch this space!
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(Photography by Pierre Vogel)