When I last saw Benoit Mintiens, the Belgian founder of watch brand Ressence, he was excitedly showing me the prototype of the Type 3 watch. I was pretty darn impressed. Boutique brand Ressence is among the few watch brands out there (large or small) that I'd consider as benefiting from my hard-earned watch buying money. Benoit is just that type of outside-the-box thinking innovator that I like to personally support. So let's see how Ressence built on their core concept with a crown-free, liquid-filled watch.
Before getting all ga-ga over the Type 3, I recommend you check out the original Ressence watch (hands-on) here. You'll see a few things which are the same, and a few which are different. Ressence pretty much hates depth in a dial. For Benoit, life is most beautiful in some flat reality where all things are "level." For the Type 3 he takes this concept even further to not only make his watches look like they have animated hands, but to also make the dial almost meld in with the sapphire crystal, which also more or less doubles as the case.
Filling the case with liquid, some type of synthetic oil I presume, creates the appearance of a solid, no refraction mass. Everything blends together offering a sensational viewing experience. I got to see this in the prototypes, and in the final Type 3 version the effect will be even better. Note that the prototypes seen were later updated with the final dial designs.
Oddly enough, Ressence does not mention how water resistant the watch is. You'd think that would be one of the first things to brag about in a totally sealed watch with liquid already inside of it. Some of the world's top diving watches contain liquid so that the chambers aren't filled with pressurized air. I guess I am saying, when are we gonna see a Ressence dive watch? The Type 3 case is 44mm wide in titanium and sapphire crystal. The dial elements are also in titanium and DLC coated black. It isn't clear whether or not the brand will build the gray-colored dial as well as the cool black version.
The way Ressence watches work sort of needs to be seen to be appreciated. The flat dial has a series of dials that all move together. The dial is constantly moving, and it also revolves around itself. That means the hour indicator dial moves around the entire larger dial. It sounds insane to be honest, but it looks really cool in person, and is more legible than you may think. So again, there are no actual hands, but rather dials with hands printed on them. The hands and other indicators are all coated with SuperLumiNova for night viewing. The black and white look makes for a very appealing high-contrast display. Ressence decided to throw in a little orange color for good measure as well.
Technically this watch is very interesting. It starts with a base Swiss automatic, that is partially deconstructed and then uses a module system developed by Ressence. The automatic movement features the time with separate indicators for the hours, minutes, and seconds, as well as the day and date. I like the clever day of the week indicator that uses just bars, but is easy to read given the special markers for Saturday and Sunday. The date is shown on the periphery of the dial.
Without a crown, the only way possible to adjust the watch is via the case back. This isn't wholly a new concept, but Ressence makes it interesting. The case back turns and features a series of function quadrants. You can even seen the automatic rotor moving back there. We will probably get a video soon to show you how it works. The concept is interesting to say the least... and I have to say that I don't really miss having a crown at all in the design.
The look of the Ressence Type 3 alone makes it a really remarkable watch, but how it all works together to function properly and actually be useful adds to the appeal. I think this is going to be one of the top new indy timepieces for 2013 and I very much look forward to stealing one from Benoit. Price will be $34,000 USD. ressence.eu
Type 3 Technical Specifications
FUNCTIONS: Date, Days, Hours, Minutes, Seconds ( 360’’ )
ARCHITECTURE: Sandwich construction with titanium membrane between movement and fluid-filled indication module.
SYSTEM: Information transmitted from movement to indications by micro-magnetic fields .
CASE: Sapphire crystal and grade 5 titanium
DIMENSIONS: 44mm x 15mm
CRYSTALS: Domed sapphire crystals top and bottom with anti-reflective coating on both sides
INDICATIONS: Convex dial and indications (radius: 125mm) in grade 5 titanium with black DLC.
Indications engraved and filled with white, grey and orange Super-LumiNova, glowing green and orange in the dark.
MODULE: Patented system invented and developed by Ressence.
Independent module comprising 28 gears and 57 jewels
Grade 5 titanium plate integrating three eccentric biaxial satellites inclined at 3° and 4,75° with a date ring around the circumference.
Shock absorber system.
The module and indications are completely immersed in fluid.
A thermal valve compensates for expansion/contraction of the fluid
MOVEMENT: Automatic winding movement, 25 jewels
Power reserve 36 hours,
Balance frequency 28.800 A/h
Visible ring-shape winding rotor
COMPONENTS: Total of 407 components.
WEIGHT: 175 grams.