Belgian born Benoît Mintiens launched independent watch brand Ressence in 2010. This is not a traditional watch brand by any stretch of the imagination. Benoît puts the emphasis on concrete product creativity rather than on branding. “Industrial designers work from the outside to the inside,” he says. “They start in the user’s brain to define the specifications of the watch and end up designing the movement as a means and not as goal in itself.”
Ressence watches are designed in Antwerp and made in Switzerland – These watches are very understated without being boring and sparse. They are as pure as design should be: functional, not flashy and accessible, both in style and relative price. Its symbolic hand logo suggests as much, open, intuitive, inviting, human, enquiring.
Recently Ressence launched the NEW Type 1 Genesis. This watch has no crown, for example, the winding/setting mechanism being the case-back itself, for better ergonomics and allowing a left-right fit. It is all tactile curves, the domed sapphire glass extending to the very edge of the case – making the watch more sapphire than metal, in fact – the lugs seemingly part of the case too, an organic whole. And that’s no illusion – lugs and case are milled in one action from the same grade 5 titanium block.
What I love most about this watch is the use of non conventional and traditional hands. the time is displayed via its patented, 107-part Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS1) – a complex mechanism driving convex sub-discs that continually revolve, as does the main disc into which they are set, like moons in orbit around a planet.
This allows the curved dial to be set closer to the sapphire glass, which gives a sense of immediacy to the look and aids legibility. It also means that the watch’s uncluttered face is ever-changing as everything is in time.
This is for that gear head collector that is equally interested in the design as much as the movement to perpetuate the way we conventionally see how watches display time.
The case, in titanium, measures 42mm x 13mm. It has an AR-coated domed sapphire crystal, a sapphire display back, and it is water resistant to one atmosphere.
Movement is the Swiss automatic Ressence in-house caliber ROCS1 (Ressence Orbital Convex System) with crownless winding and date/time setting mechanism. It has 53 jewels, 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 36 hours.
The dial is convex nickel silver with 3 eccentric bi-axial satellites inclined at 3° (hours) and 4,75° (seconds and day of the week) and engraved indications.
It comes on a 20mm Barenia calf leather strap with a titanium folding clasp.
MSRP is 18,750 Euros.