Armin Strom introduces a new 8 piece limited edition for SHH in their Mirrored Force Resonance collection. Dubbed the Zeitgeist, this is a the purest interpretation of the iconic watch yet.
We got our hands on the new Mirrored Forced Resonance Zeitgeist. We photographed the watch and bring you this comprehensive review.
New and Reviewed: Armin Strom Mirrored Forced Resonance Zeigeist SHH Edition
The Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance Zeitgeist SHH Edition Ref: ST22-ZS.SA has a retail price of SGD $134,840 including GST. Limited Edition of 8 pieces.
The dial side visuals
The novelty is based on the Resonance Zeitgeist unveiled in 2021. This is a minimalist interpretation made to highlight the architecture of the Mirrored Force Resonance first shown in 2016. Armin Strom nomenclature has always been confusing at best, so in our comparative notes, we will refer to the launch models linked in our earlier reviews as the launch models, and the Zeitgeist Ref. PT21-ZG.60 released in 2021 in a platinum case, and now sold out as Zeitgeist 2021. And this subject of this review is the novelty known as Zeitgeist SHH.
The base watch operates using the same principles of the Mirrored Force Resonance model first shown in 2016. The design visuals also follow the same blueprint in exactly the same layout as with earlier editions. The double escape wheels coupled by the clutch spring are at the 9 o’clock position, and the sub-dial for the hour and minute hands at the 3 o’clock position. In between and above and below the center line are the two seconds three armed hands, turning in opposite directions, but remain in synchronisation.
The Zeitgeist 2021’s finishing is left intentionally raw in execution with matte finished sand blasted base places visible through the dial side. In contrast, the new Zeitgeist SHH shows beautiful finishing in raw maillechot, with its characteristic warm glowing tones. The finishing is also stepped up, with hand-polished bevels, perlage, circular & straight graining, and Geneva stripes. The center bridge, visible as a skeletonised plate under the hour and minute hands is now in steel and finished with a high gloss black polish.
Both Zeitgeists follows a very pure visual architecture of transparency, where all the components of the movement are laid bare to be visible from the dial side. In particular, the entire watch below the exposed double balance and clutch spring is open and see through. When worn on the wrist, one’s skin is visible as the backdrop to this amazing synchronised spectacle.
The dials on the Zeitgeist 2021 consists of three overlapping rings in 18ct White Gold finished in vernis laqué poli with lacquer markings in black, while in the Zeitgeist SHH, these overlapping rings are in sapphire glass with white transfer print. The same markings and fonts are used. If we have a nit to pick, it is that the entire dial side ensemble is rather monotone, and contrast is low leading to a poor ability to read the time easily, even in good light.
The case design is revised from the earlier edition, but follows that of the Resonance Zeitgeist, with the reduced chin design. It is still there, but small an unobtrusive enough to easily be unnoticeable. The SHH Edition also has a smaller case size of 41mm, compared to the 43.3mm of the Zeitgeist 2021 which share the same dimensions as original launch models of the Mirrored Forced Resonance. Editor’s note: we were just informed (5pm Dec 5) that the Press Release incorrectly stated that the Zeitgeist SHH is 41mm. In reality, the case diameter remains at 43.3mm, no change from earlier versions. A small pusher at the 2 o’clock position on the case side forces both seconds hands to reset to zero, and when released will start the synchronisation.
The movement: Armin Strom Caliber AFR21 ZF
The movement, though looks very similar and uses the same operating principles as the launch models. But now updated from AFR15 to AFR21 since the Zeitgeist 2021. The principle difference being the size of the movement is reduced from 37.2mm to 36.6mm. Armin Strom also improved the efficiency of the movement and the power reserve was increased from 48 hours to 80 hours. The beat frequency of a rather uncommon 3.5Hz remains unchanged.
The German Silver theme is taken to the case back, and the warm glow of the metal is evident, with the generously ruled fauss côtes, offering contrast to the silver hued wheels of the transmission wheels, the gorgeous internal wolf’s teeth click system and the skeletonised going barrels.
Movement finishing is judged to be excellent and comparable in best in class.
The competitive landscape remain unchanged since the 2016 review. And there is still no competition for a watch with two independent wheel trains with two balance wheels which are coupled together by a clutch spring. Perhaps the nearest is the F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance, which also feature two independent wheel trains, but resonance in this case is achieved by fine adjustment of the proximity of the two balances instead of being forced by a clutch spring. The Dufour Duality, on the other hand is sometimes quoted as a possible alternative, but it uses a single train with a differential to drive two balance wheels.
Overall, we find the new Zeitgeist SHH to be quite a spectacular watch. Perhaps even more so than the Zeitgeist 2021 or the launch editions. The pricing has remained rather reasonable. In 2016, the launch model in a rose gold case was SGD 102.5k, the Zeitgeist 2021 in platinum retailed for CHF 160k (then SGD 235k based on the average rate of CHF1=SGD 1.47 in 2021). The current pricing for the Zeitgeist SHH in stainless steel case at SGD 134k seems to be not an unreasonable ransom. Though, mileage may vary, as always, you are the final arbiter on whether this is a good pricing or not.
The Zeitgeist SHH offers a much more refined watch than earlier editions. Though a pink gold case with matching gold hands, might provide a bit more contrast, but will surely drive the retail price up. The case size feels just right on my wrist, though smaller wristed collectors would be well advised to try it on for size. In conclusion, the Zeitgeist SHH is a great timepiece, which is unique in its features, and technical abilities balanced with a rather beautiful aesthetic and excellent execution and finishing.