This is the world’s first and only resonance chiming watch and everything about it is awe-inspiring to say the least
It may have been made to celebrate Armin Strom’s 10th anniversary but two is the magic number for this one-of-a-kind supercomplication. Named the Masterpiece 2, it offers two of the watchmaking world’s loftiest technical features: the resonance oscillator and the minute repeater.
Indeed, Armin Strom would have you know that both meanings of the word resonance come into play here: that relating to sound and that relating to mechanics.
There are also two vertically-stacked independent movements within the watch, as well as two independent mainsprings in one barrel. In addition, the Masterpiece 2 was developed by two brilliant teams. Armin Strom came up with the technical design for the resonance while Le Cercle des Horlogers created the striking mechanism.
Knowing that connoisseurs love nothing more than to gaze lovingly at their watches, Armin Strom has positioned all the horological pyrotechnics up front. The first thing you should notice about the Masterpiece 2 is the unusually-shaped hammer and gongs. Typically, a standard repeater’s gongs go around the movement but here they encircle the sapphire crystal off-centred dial.
These gongs were made by Le Cercle des Horlogers in a process involving more than 30 different stages including multiple thermic treatments.
Activate the lever on the side of the case to hear the chimes, which are loud and crystal clear thanks to the large Grade 5 titanium case. Founder of Armin Strom, Serge Michel, says that the strikes are calibrated by hand. The process is lengthy and arduous, but once you pull back the lever and release it, you’ll understand why it was all worth the effort.
For something as exquisite as the Masterpiece 2, a 10-piece limited edition, Armin Strom has incorporated a security device that protects the repeater from accidental damage. It blocks the lever during time-setting and winding, so that you can only operate the repeater when the crown is in the right position.
Accompanying the repeater complication, the Armin Strom Resonance Clutch Spring appears between the two oscillating balances. The company spent three years developing this odd-shaped spring.
Unlike the classical application of mechanical resonance, where two independent movements are connected to allow fine tuning of the distance between them, the Armin Strom Masterpiece 2 uses this patented mechanism to eliminate the need to fine tune the distance between the two movements, which can run up hours, even days.
In fact, with the Resonance Clutch Spring, it takes only 10 minutes for the two balance wheels to synchronise.
Much of the skeletonised movement can be clearly admired, most notably the large gold balance cocks on either side of the smoked sapphire dial. Completely covered with a unique traditional finish called tremblage engraving where a sharp burin leaves indentations all over a surface in different directions, resulting in a three-dimensional satin finish.
To the tune of CHF380,000 (approximately S$537,795), the Masterpiece 2 showcases the best of Armin Strom in terms of concept, execution and delivery.