Keep something in reserve
The Gravity Equal Force is demonstrating an Armin Strom core principle: always be innovating. This watch takes the traditional mainspring barrel and turns it on its head by adding a stop-work declutch mechanism combined with automatic winding to create consistent power delivery to the balance. With a bold redesign of the movement, dial and case, Gravity Equal Force marks a new era for the manufacture.
Behind the inspiration of Gravity Equal Force was a desire to transmit equal force to the balance, thereby increasing the consistency of rate. Building upon the classic stop-works mechanism, Armin Strom developed an ingenious stop-works declutch system that operates inside the mainspring barrel to limit the torque delivered to the balance, providing smooth power delivery. This represents the first time a stop-works declutch mechanism has been added to an automatic winding movement.
The contemporary dimensions maintain the essence of Armin Strom DNA while shaping a new aesthetic that showcases a reduction to the essential. Moving to an off-center dial, the Gravity Equal Force is more legible to maximize the user experience for discerning collectors.
Gravity Equal Force is the newest watch demonstrating an Armin Strom core principle: always be innovating. This watch takes the traditional mainspring barrel and turns it on its head by adding a stop-work declutch mechanism combined with automatic winding to create consistent power delivery to the balance. With a bold redesign of the movement, dial and case, Gravity Equal Force marks the launch of the new System 78 Collection, highlighting innovative watchmaking at a competitive price.
As a guiding principle, every watch that comes from the Armin Strom manufacture must include an innovation. The inspiration behind Gravity Equal Force was a desire to transmit equal force to the balance, thereby increasing the consistency of rate. Building upon the classic stop-works mechanism, Armin Strom developed an ingenious stop-works declutch system that operates inside the mainspring barrel to limit the torque delivered to the balance, providing smooth power delivery. This represents the first time a stop-works declutch mechanism has been added to an automatic winding movement.
Not content with one innovation, Armin Strom found insight in a pocket watch in need of repair from a U.S. collector, which contained a motor barrel design showing clear advantages over the standard going barrel. Inspired, the watchmakers designed a barrel operating in the reverse of a traditional mainspring barrel by driving the going train via the barrel arbor and winding the barrel housing, which both improves functionality and reduces wear.
This state-of-the-art design creates a stable, low-friction axis of rotation for the mainspring to deliver power from the barrel arbor, supported by precision jewel bearings. Though using only a portion of the mainspring by preventing it from completely unwinding, Armin Strom still achieved a power reserve of 72 hours. Wound by a unidirectionally winding micro rotor visible from the dial, the mainspring bears a power reserve indicator on the barrel cover for reference.
With numerous small improvements to the going train and winding mechanism, the new Caliber ASB19 demonstrates Armin Strom’s commitment to continually questioning established theory and using in-house R&D to advance horological technology. Claude Greisler, co-founder of Armin Strom, highlights the improved usability: “We have reinvented the whole functionality of an automatic watch movement to bring another level of precision and to offer our collectors more assurance for reliable daily wear.”
The new Gravity Equal Force also differs from previous models with a new off-center dial and slimmer case with a smaller diameter. The highlight of the watch is now the triplet of bridges echoing the pocket watch inspiration behind the ASB19. The 41-millimeter case, a first for Armin Strom, should appeal to the more classically-inclined collector. The contemporary dimensions maintain the essence of Armin Strom DNA while shaping a new aesthetic that showcases a reduction to the essential. Moving to an off-center dial, the Gravity Equal Force is more legible to maximize the user experience for discerning collectors.
Armin Strom carefully upholds the craftsmanship and tradition of Swiss watchmaking while pursuing technical innovation. A pared-down approach that keeps the brand’s style of watchmaking focused on its essence. How concentrated that style may be, shows the unique piece created for Only Watch by squarely placing emphasis on the watch’s most remarkable feature: the visible dual balances oscillating in resonance. The groundbreaking movement is housed in a 42 mm stainless steel case with reduced lugs and crown and practically no bezel, though the characteristic lip at 6 o’clock remains.
Roman numerals dominate the off-centered blue sunray subdial of the timepiece, displaying hours and minutes with the in-house manufactured steel hands, while a classic railroad track marks the exact minutes. The smaller seconds dial at 7 o’clock has the same coloring as the famous charity auction corporate colors from this year’s edition and uses a baton-shaped hand in steel.
“Based on our patented Resonance movement we used a small detail for a big cause: The two different blue tons on the dials create a magical synthesis of the power of colors and cutting-edge Haute Horlogerie. We wanted to create something which is instantly recognizable,” says Claude Greisler – Co-Founder of the manufacture.
This unique piece can focus fully on precisely providing the time. The time displays receive their portioned energy from the lower regulator, while the upper regulator remains in place to create resonance for improved chronometric precision. The two beating hearts are synchronized and stands as a symbol and expression of support for the research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The Caliber ARF16 showcases the resonant regulators and playful patented resonance clutch spring. The bridges are hand decorated with succinct, eye-catching côtes de Genève which appears in straight lines.
The Only Watch Auction
Armin Strom is particularly keen to dedicate their work to the Monaco foundation, as they emphasize: “We are proud of being able to make our contribution to research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy through this cooperation.” The Only Watch auction gives prestigious names in watchmaking an opportunity to put their expertise at the service of a good cause once every two years. At the last event of this kind, record takings of 10.7 million Swiss francs were achieved. On November 9th, 2019 all eyes will once again be turned on Geneva when unique timepieces by more than 50 watch brands will be presented in an exclusive auction.
Minute Repeater Resonance: Armin Strom Masterpiece 2 is a world first two-in-one
Minute Repeater Resonance by Armin Strom, the world’s first and only resonance chiming wristwatch, offers two-in-one for double the pleasure. Two complications, resonance and minute repeater; two vertically-stacked independent movements; two forms of resonance (oscillators and sound propagation); two independent mainsprings in one barrel; and two top development teams in Armin Strom (resonance) and Le Cercle des Horlogers (repeaters).
The Minute Repeater Resonance is not simply a masterpiece, it’s Masterpiece 2!
Inspired by the Bern’s centuries old chiming tower clock, the Minute Repeater Resonance is limited to just 10 pieces in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Armin Strom manufacture. Masterpiece 2 highlights both the phenomenon of resonance and the sonorous chiming of the time by placing all of the action up front and center dial side.
Activated by a slider on the left side of the case band, two hand-polished hammers at 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock respectively chime the hours and minutes on two three-dimensionally curved gongs encircling the hour/minute subdial. The hammers are visually and technically balanced by the two independent regulators – one for each of the two movements – at 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock.
The case is in Grade 5 titanium for optimal sound transmission (and comfort), and its 47.7 mm diameter allows for a generous volume for the sound to propagate from. The sonorous chimes are also enhanced by attaching the gongs directly to the case.
A specially developed security system maximizes ease-of-use by protecting the minute repeater from accidental damage by blocking operation during time-setting and winding.
Fully visible between the two oscillating balances is Armin Strom’s patented Resonance Clutch Spring – the key to Armin Strom’s mastery of resonance – and the result of three years of intensive research and development.
While it has been long known that resonating coupled oscillators in watch and clock movements improves accuracy, less known is that resonance also conserves energy. Armin Strom’s laboratory testing has revealed gains in precision of 15-20%.
Under a virtually invisible sapphire crystal dial, the dual balances oscillating in synchronization and the two hammers striking the time, the Minute Repeater Resonance stages an unparalleled horological spectacle for both the eyes and the ears.
The Armin Strom Minute Repeater Resonance is a limited edition of 10 pieces in Grade 5 titanium in honor of the 10th anniversary of the manufacture. There will be no more editions.
Minute Repeater Resonance: Inspiration
For the 10th anniversary of its fully integrated manufacture, Armin Strom decided to develop a world-first masterpiece fully highlighting the brand’s savoir-faire. As the industry leaders in resonance, including the brand’s laboratory-certified resonance technology was an easy choice. But Armin Strom’s chief watchmaker Claude Greisler wanted something more: a grand complication.
Inspiration for a minute repeater came from an unusual source: a sixteenth-century tower clock. Armin Strom is based in Bienne in Switzerland’s canton of Bern, and Greisler wanted to pay homage to the region. While the French-speaking region of Switzerland is known for a multitude of famous historical timepieces, Bern has far fewer. But it does have one landmark clock that everyone in the region knows: the thirteenth-century Zytglogge. The clock in this tower has not only served as the city’s main clock for more than 500 years, the tower also served as the reference point for travel times indicated on stone markers along the main cantonal roads.
This clock tower supposedly helped Albert Einstein hone his special theory of relativity while working as a patent clerk in Bern.
The impressive tower clock is animated with automatons: four minutes before the change of the hour, a cock crows, a bear (the symbol of Bern) makes his rounds, and a jester takes the liberty of announcing the hour in advance. And at the top of the hour (and on the quarters), the clock chimes the time for all to hear.
Minute Repeater Resonance: Development
Armin Strom as masters of resonance movements wanted to work in partnership with masters of chiming watches, and Greisler knew the perfect person and team: his old friend Alain Schiesser, founder of Cercle des Horlogers, with whom he had worked with in the past at Christophe Claret. Working behind the scenes, Le Cercle des Horlogers has developed around half of the minute repeaters launched by prestigious Swiss brands over the last few years.
Originally the minute repeater mechanism had been envisaged to be in the traditional position at the back of watch, but the team decided that it deserved equal billing with the resonant regulators dial side where it could be appreciated by all. This brought many technical challenges of its own. Armin Strom not only wanted the resonant regulators and minute repeater hammers and gongs to be fully visible on top of the movement dial side; Greisler and his team did not want appreciation of the animated mechanisms to be potentially diluted by the associated gearing necessary to drive the repeater and going train for the time display. So the movements are inverted with the pinions driving the repeater hammers and hour and minutes transversing the two vertically stacked calibers.
They say necessity is the mother of invention and that’s certainly the case here. Space constraints meant that there was insufficient room for separate large mainspring barrels for each of the two movements, so Armin Strom developed an innovative single barrel with two independent mainsprings inside, each driving its own movement.
The high visibility of the complications dial side also dictates that the watchmakers have to pay very special attention when assembling and regulating the watch as the slightest scratch or mark on the beautifully hand-finished surfaces would be visible to all. Skeletonized bridges and plates (an Armin Strom specialty) allow visual access through the sapphire crystal dial deep into the movement.
While the vast majority of the components were produced in-house at the Armin Strom manufacture, the gongs were made by Le Cercle des Horlogers in a process involving more than 30 different stages including multiple thermic treatments. While the exact process is a closely guarded secret, it is said to be very similar to Patek Philippe’s process for making gongs.
All components are finished to the very highest level, but of special note is the tremblage hand-engraving on the large golden balance cocks supporting the two oscillating balances. While titanium is the perfect metal for both transmitting the resonating sound from the gongs to the ear and ensuring that the watch is relatively light and comfortable to wear, it is a ‘cold’ metal; this coolness is balanced by the warm gold.
In the pursuit of horological accuracy, precision, and rate stability, resonance has usually involved using two independent movements connected to allow fine tuning of the distance between them. Until Armin Strom, precise adjustment of the distance between the two regulators has been necessary to incite resonance. However, the Armin Strom Resonance Clutch Spring eliminates the necessity for fine tuning the distance, ensuring a much more reliable and efficient resonant system only taking up to 10 minutes to synchronize. The idea of resonance has endured for three centuries for a reason, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve upon it.
Armin Strom’s patented Resonance Clutch Spring is an innovative way of upgrading an old concept, one that is horology’s very reason for being: precision and accuracy.
Note that the CSEM (Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique) has officially certified Armin Strom’s resonance system based on the clutch spring as being a true system in resonance.
What is resonance?
A body in motion causes vibrations in its surroundings. When another body with a similar natural resonant frequency to the first receives these vibrations, it absorbs energy from it and starts vibrating at the same frequency in a sympathetic manner. For example, a trained singer can hold a note causing a tuning fork tuned to the same frequency to vibrate.
For the oscillators of a watch movement to be able to synchronize with each other, they have to be closely tuned. Imagine a small child trying to synchronize steps with an adult; the child is unlikely to synchronize for more than a few steps as the systems are too dissimilar to resonate.
Or imagine yourself pushing a child on a swing: the child and the swing make a natural pendulum, which will have an inherent natural frequency (speed of swing back and forth). If you push at the wrong frequency (too fast or too slow) then you are likely to block the motion and slow the swing down; however, if you push at or near the natural frequency of the swing then you will increase the amplitude (distance the swing moves) of the child/swing system.
In horology, the phenomenon of synchronized motion has fascinated watchmakers since the time of Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695). Huygens, inventor of the pendulum clock, was the first to discover the resonance of two separate pendulum clocks, which he logically surmised should keep slightly different time. When hung from a common beam, however, the pendulums of the adjacent clocks synchronized; subsequent researchers confirmed that the common wooden beam coupled the vibrations and created resonance. The two pendulums functioned as one in a synchronous manner. In the eighteenth century, Abraham-Louis Breguet demonstrated his mastery of the physics with his double pendulum resonance clock.
An outside shock slowing down one of them increases the speed of the other one by the same amount; but both will strive to get back in resonance, averaging and minimizing the effects of the outside influence as they find their rhythm. What was true for Huygens’ and Breguet’s clocks is just as true for Armin Strom’s wristwatch.
The advantages of resonance are threefold: 1) stabilizing effect on timekeeping, meaning better accuracy; 2) conservation of energy (think of a professional cyclist riding in the shadow of another cyclist in a racing situation); and 3) reduction of negative effects on timekeeping accuracy due to outside perturbation such as shock to the balance staff, which in turn keeps the rate more stable (better accuracy).
While the advantages of resonance have been known for centuries, only a handful of clockmakers and watchmakers have created timepieces deliberately and successfully exploiting the phenomenon of resonance, including Antide Janvier (1751-1855) and Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823).
And, now, Armin Strom.
The Director of Armin Strom, Claude Greisler, granted us an exclusive interview during the SIHH 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Interviewed by Alberic Virchaux
In 2018, ARMIN STROM will be present for the first time in the Carré des Horlogers at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH).
ARMIN STROM is proud to announce its participation in the Carré des Horlogers at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva (SIHH) in 2018. A new generation of independent creators is presenting its expertise at this select circle, which expects participants to demonstrate exceptionally high skills. ARMIN STROM particularly welcomes the opportunity to surprise visitors to the SIHH with sophisticated collections and an entirely new creation.
Serge Michel, the ARMIN STROM proprietor, confirms this: “Our presence in this privileged environment is an honour. The invitation from the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie is a great distinction which confirms our own exacting standards.”
The SIHH is one of the leading global events in the watch industry field and is organized each year by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva. The exceptional challenges taken up by the exhibitors’ art of luxury watchmaking make this event an exclusive and prestigious gathering of our branch.
In the words of Fabienne Lupo, President and Managing Director of the FHH: “We welcome the opportunity to host this year in the Carré des Horlogers, Armin Strom, a resolutely innovative manufacturer with its distinctive watch configurator that permits extreme personalization. Its dynamism perfectly complements the offer of the other exhibitors at the Carré des Horlogers.”
The next SIHH will be held from January 15 – 19, 2018 in Geneva.