Ressence Type 3 Liquid-Filled Watch Hands-On

Ressence Type 3 Liquid-Filled Watch Hands-On

Ressence Type 3 Liquid Filled Watch Hands On   hands on

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.

Ressence Type 3 Liquid Filled Watch Hands On   hands on

Ressence Type 3 Liquid Filled Watch Hands On   hands on

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.

Ressence Type 3 Liquid Filled Watch Hands On   hands on

Ressence Type 3 Liquid Filled Watch Hands On   hands on

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.

Ressence Type 3 Liquid Filled Watch Hands On   hands on

Ressence Type 3 Liquid Filled Watch Hands On   hands on Ressence Type 3 Liquid Filled Watch Hands On   hands on

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

Ressence Type 3 Liquid Filled Watch Hands On   hands on

Ressence Type 3 Liquid Filled Watch Hands On   hands on

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.

22 comments
ZL
ZL

God it's cool. Just got to scrounge up $34K...

Jeffrey M
Jeffrey M

Are the wrist shots from the prototype? Hopefully the lug / strap issue will be sorted for the production version.

Andre Fortin
Andre Fortin

This is my favorite watch ever, period !! If had to have only one watch this one would be it !

au bloc
au bloc

From what I have read, most mechanical watches use several different kinds of lubricants and in different quantities in different locations. Immersing the whole movement in only one oil leads me to believe there is going to be some compromise in performance, short term, long term or both. Of course you could seal certain areas. Furthermore, you'd better not have any bubbles in the oil. They'll show up on the face or get caught in the movement. Otherwise it's a spectacular design and a unique look.

Kar Wai Law
Kar Wai Law

Now if you replace the liquid with a shot of 30 year-old Laphroaig..

CG
CG

Nice watch... I'd buy one ..err maybe not 23000 Euro = 29900 USD, I'll wait for the Euro crash THEN I'll get one!

Ryan B
Ryan B

very innovative and modern looking.

Zeitblom
Zeitblom

Magnificent design, interesting and attractive. I would buy one immediately if [1] they took out the oil, which serves no purpose and makes the thing practically unserviceable and [2] dropped the price to something reasonable [eg about a third of that].

EranR
EranR

The watch itself is near perfect, however it seems looking at wrist shots that the lugs and strap somehow don't work well together - something's not tidy there. Perhaps on a larger wrist they would work better - on Ariel's (which, judging from past articles, is kind of 'normal') they don't. Either the lugs should be more curved toward the wrist, or the strap should not be so loose between them.

Danny Ng
Danny Ng

Won't the liquid inside the watch dry out?  What happens when it's in the sun too long?  

LapYoda
LapYoda

I love this watch!  It is unique, thoroughly modern, and doesn't look backward toward some vintage piece or era.  Does the fluid help lubricate the movement as well?  I would imagine that it would be a pain to service.

TAGDUDE
TAGDUDE

The design is futuristic, elegant and very readable. If they still have watches 100 years from now this is what it would look like. I want one!

TimelyOne
TimelyOne

This looks like something from a parallel universe. Simple minimalist elegance, and surprisingly easy to read. Something to cherish and wear daily. WOW!

rwag1
rwag1

This is my favorite new watch design in a while. I just wonder how they seal the fluid, especially when setting the watch. I assume sealing fluid is harder than sealing out air.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

It's brilliant.  I don't want to sound too effusive but what we have here is a unique looking watch using several novel concepts.  To begin with, I love the saucer-shaped case that smoothly blends front and back, and how the lugs emerge from the centre so elegantly.  The "flat" graphical design is very attractive, using graphical elements that would look perfectly at home on a high-end automobile dashboard.  Having a normal crown would have spoiled the pebble-like smoothness of the thing and so i'm glad they found a way around that.  I'd be interested to find out what kind of pressure resistance a liquid-filled watch has, liquids being practically incompressible.  The only (slight) downside is the small power reserve but I guess having to move parts around in contact with a liquid causes some degree of energy loss.

flowthepro
flowthepro

@David Bidwell the movement IS NOT IMMERSED! Dial(s) and their mechanism are entirely sealed off. Power from the movement is transmitted via some sort of MICRO-MAGNETIC FIELD. Also, no bubbles thanks to a thermostatic valve. Simply genius! Benoit Mintiens, YOU THE MAN.    

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

@Zeitblom I might be wrong but I believe the oil has the same refractive index as the crystal,  making the transition between them invisible and so making it appear as though the front of the watch all the way down to the dial is one solid piece.  I don't think it would look quite as nice without that.

Oelholm
Oelholm

@Danny Ng If it's a sealed system there's nowhere the evaporated liquid can go.

Zeitblom
Zeitblom

@Ulysses31 @Zeitblom You're right. I guess we should wait for more details before deciding whether filling it with oil is really as crazy as it sounds. Anyway full marks to them for design if not practicality.

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