Resonance in Horology
Any body in motion causes vibrations in its surroundings. When another body with a similar natural resonant frequency as the first body 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.
In horology, the phenomenon of synchronised motion has fascinated watchmakers since the time of Christiaan Huygens (1629 – 1695). Huygens invented the pendulum clock and was the first to discover the resonance of two separate pendulum clocks. When hung from a common beam, the pendulums of the adjacent clocks synchronised; later researchers revealed that the common wooden beam ‘coupled the vibrations’ to produce resonance. In the 18th century, Abraham-Louis Breguet invented the double pendulum resonance clock.
An external shock that disrupts and slows down one of the pendulums will increase the speed of the other pendulum by the same amount. Both pendulums strive to get back in resonance, averaging and minimising the effects of the outside influence as they find their rhythm. The same principle that was true for Huygens and Breguet clocks also applies to the Armin Strom Resonance wristwatch.
There are three advantages of resonance in horology:
1) stabilizing effect on timekeeping (better accuracy)
2) conservation of energy (like racing cyclists drafting for aerodynamic advantage)
3) reduction of negative effects of external shocks (better accuracy)
Armin Strom Dual Time Resonance (GMT) Watch
The Masterpiece 1 collection is represented by watches with an oval shape with two movements side-by-side. Launched with the first Dual Time Resonance model in titanium, the Masterpiece collection now includes 18K gold versions in white and rose gold tones, each in a limited edition of only 8 pieces.
The two independent hand-wind movements sit side-by-side with regulators joined by a patented Resonance Clutch Spring in the Armin Strom manufacture calibre ARF17 so that the two counter-oscillating balances continually even out any discrepancies. The oscillating frequency is an unusual 3.5 Hz (25,200 vph); I can think only of the early Omega coaxial movements that beat at the same rate.
Independent movements allow the Dual Time Resonance to show GMT or a second time zone, as well as an option to be used as a timer or countdown.
Movement 1 drives displays on the guilloche dial for hours, minutes, 24-hour indicator (at 6 o’clock) and power reserve indicator.
Movement 2 drives displays for hours, minutes and power reserve indicator.
The case is 59 mm x 43.4 mm (including lugs) with a height of 15.9 mm that wears comfortably because of its longitudinal orientation along the wrist.
Precision and Power Saving
It has long been known that resonance in watch and clock movements, with synchronised coupled oscillators, improves accuracy by averaging slight differences in the precision of each movement and in wristwatches minimises adverse effects of shocks on precision.
Less known is that resonance also conserves energy: vibrational energy that is normally lost through the supports of the regulator is conserved in the system.
Armin Strom laboratory testing has revealed gains in precision of 15 – 20 % for two COSC chronometer-level regulated movements placed in resonance. Two movements side-by-side naturally led to the oval-shaped case of the Dual Time Resonance, while the increased space allowed twin mainspring barrels per movement (four barrels in total), giving a longer power reserve of 110 hours for each movement.
One of the joys of winding the watch is seeing all four barrels winding simultaneously through the display sapphire back, which is as fulfilling as the ‘pas de deux’ of both regulators on the dial side.
For those two views, you need to shell out CHF 200,000 (USD 202,700).
With only 8 pieces in each of the two gold colours, you’ll be in rarefied company.
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He was former CEO of PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).