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Ressence Type 5 Oil-Filled Dive Watch

Ressence Type 5 Oil-Filled Dive Watch Watch Releases

One of my favorite modern mechanical watchmakers Ressence today debuts their first dive watch with the Ressence Type 5. Based in Belgium and started by the truly passionate and innovative Benoit Mintiens, the Ressence concept is about creating an ultra-chic timepiece case filled with oil to create the illusion that it is one solid dial with almost invisible connections between the parts. You need to see these Ressence watches in person to truly understand how cool they look, but the concept also lends itself well to incredible legibility in most lighting conditions.

Oil-filled cases and wonderful legibility also happen to lend themselves well to extreme dive watches. Some of the coolest oil-filled watches around, such as the Bell & Ross Hydromax and similar models from Sinn, offer incredible depth-resistance because the lack of air in the case means that they cannot be as easily compressed. Watch fans who are lucky enough to have watches like that also notice how creating an oil-filled dial lends itself well to fantastic legibility.

Ressence Type 5 Oil-Filled Dive Watch Watch Releases

Now, while the Ressence Type 5 doesn’t offer “extreme” water resistance, it is mechanical. This is in contrast to those Bell & Ross and Sinn models I mentioned above which are electronic quartz movement-based timepieces. Having oil inside of a mechanical movement isn’t exactly a super idea. For this reason, Ressence watches are more interesting, and of course, the heavily modified base Swiss ETA movements are secluded in protective chambers. So consider the Ressence Type 5 to be perhaps the first mechanical oil-filled watch suitable for underwater exploration.

Ressence Type 5 Oil-Filled Dive Watch Watch Releases

Inspired by the shape of sea turtles, the Ressence Type 5 diver is water resistant to 100 meters. This makes it totally suitable for recreational diving and, according to the brand, the Ressence Type 5 meets ISO 6425 standards in regard to being durable and useful enough for particular “extreme” conditions. While it is true that the Ressence Type 5 isn’t meant for extremely deep diving, it is the first timepiece of its kind and remains nicely sized without bulking up the case in order to protect it against water pressure.

Ressence Type 5 Oil-Filled Dive Watch Watch Releases

Sized at 46mm wide and 15.5mm thick, the Ressence Type 5 is produced from mostly sapphire crystal along with titanium – and if it is anything like most other Ressence watches, it is extremely nimble and light on the wrist. Ressence fills the case with 37.5ml of oil, and the watch has a unique bellows system that allows it to handle the changing volume of the oil. One issue Ressence encountered early on, and has since solved in the Ressence Type 3 watch, was that oil changes volume depending on its temperature. One of the gauges on the dial of the Ressence Type 5 is an oil temperature indicator that allows the wearer to have an understanding of how the temperate can fluctuate. A very unique system of seven small bellows increase or decrease in size based on how much the oil volume causes them to compress. This allows the Ressence Type 5 watch to handle such temperature changes and not have the case burst or get damaged.

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Ressence Type 5 Oil-Filled Dive Watch Watch Releases

The Ressence Type 5 and other Ressence cases do not have traditional crowns. Rather, the case itself is turned in order to manually wind or set the time. The movement inside the watch is an automatic, which, of course, helps the Ressence Type 5 to be very convenient to wear. This all seems simple from the outside but involves a series of unique systems developed by Ressence, which is part of their in-house magic that allows them to be both unique, and not particularly inexpensive. The basic system is called “ROCS” (Ressence Orbital Convex System) which is about both the type of display as well as how the movement and case are assembled and designed. The top part of the case is what is filled with oil while the back part of the case is dry and where the movement is.

How are these two sections connected? Small magnets, actually. The movement chamber is hermetically sealed, according to Ressence, which prevents any of the dial oil from seeping into the movement. Thus special magnets are used as the transmission system which allows the movement to both power the dial and for the user to adjust the time. This latter system is known as “RCLS” (Ressence Compression Lock System) which incorporates both the magnetic transmission as well as the system for setting the time.

Ressence Type 5 Oil-Filled Dive Watch Watch Releases

While it has been heavily modified in-house, the movement of the Ressence Type 5 (known as the caliber ROCS 5, for obvious reasons) begins life as a base Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic. In its modified state, the 4Hz frequency movement still has 36 hours of power reserve (impressive, given the new power demands) and, of course, is a self-winding automatic. The indicators on the dial are the time with separated hours, minutes, and seconds, along with the oil temperature gauge.

Both the Ressence Type 5 case (the metal parts) and the dial are produced from type 5 titanium. I like the new style of lugs which are more compact and should make for a better fit on the wrist. Attached to the case is a black Barenia leather strap (which I am assuming is water resistant as well) with a matching titanium buckle.

Ressence Type 5 Oil-Filled Dive Watch Watch Releases

As a dive watch enthusiast, this is probably my favorite Ressence watch to date. About a year ago, Benoit teased me by saying that “my next watch will be your favorite,” and he was spot on knowing my tastes. Perhaps, in the strictest of senses, the Ressence Type 5 isn’t a serious commercial dive watch, but it can put up with the majority of recreational swimming, snorkeling, and diving without a problem. Endlessly cool and extremely beautiful, this should yet again be a “must-have” watch when it becomes commercially available in 2016. Like other Ressence watches, it sure isn’t cheap, with a retail price of $35,800. ressencewatches.com

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  • iamcalledryan

    V Cool. I like the overall look and the temp gauge. Would have been better if they made a good strap!

  • pkansa

    The oil-filled Ressence watches are definitely tops of my “hope to handle” list…

  • JP. Coqueran

    This brand is a real conflict for me internally, I get it, yet I don’t all at the same time. I will have to see it in the metal to truly get it I think.

  • Shinytoys

    Sex on the wrist! I love this unit.!

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I just haven’t taken to this style at all.

  • I_G

    Fetching design, too bad it’s automatic…

    • the #watchnerd

      It wouldn’t really be all that impressive if it were a quartz, would it?

      • I_G

        Definitely not, with hand-wound movement on the other hand…

        • the #watchnerd

          Okay. So you’d have preferred it if Benoit had made a crownless handwinding dive watch with an oil-filled display. Regardless of the practicality of adding a third setting to the case (Wind, Lock and Setup), what’s the point? All models have been built on the same base movement…

  • Seems to me to be a watch you can dive with rather than a dive watch. Meaning the unusual time display and the not that easy to read timing bezel don’t really make it a dive watch per se (to say nothing of how paranoid I would be of whacking that huge sapphire crystal onto a coral head or piece of dive gear). Plus I have no doubts about how water proof any leather strap is in the long haul. And at that price, I probably wouldn’t risk taking it diving.

    Having said all of that, assuming you want a Ressence anyway (and I think most watch lovers would if they had a chance to actually see one in person), then this is simply one that you won’t be afraid to get wet, plus it is cool looking with its colorful oil temp gauge. I really didn’t “get” Ressence watches until I saw them in person at BaselWorld. Now I’m a big time (pun intended) fan of the brand. Thanks for the review Ariel.

  • otaking241

    I think this is my favorite Ressence yet, though the “oil temperature gauge” seems like kind of a waste of dial space. The case design is nicely organic which compliments the slightly funky dial design. Kind of like the old Ikepods, which I like. ETA movement is kind of a downer but considering the huge amount of proprietary tech that goes into these I don’t think the pricing is outrageous. Probably wouldn’t be high on my wishlist of $20K+ watches, though.

  • cg

    really very nice… the future is now! could have been worn by Kier Dullea in his portrayal of Astronaut “David Bowman” in 2001. They really skimped on depth meters for the money. Oil filled gauges are great for arresting vibration so you can get accurate readings… so next time you are using a pneumatic jack hammer underwater you know you’re good to go!

  • spiceballs

    I like what Ressence are trying to do and altho the dial is nice the “form” (and size) is not to my personal taste. The complex internals means more things to go wrong and difficult to service. I “get” the price for such, but also not high on my 20K watch list – if I had such.

  • JimBob

    I love the the Ressence watches, though this turtle shape is not my favorite. And then, as always, there is the price.

  • Berndt Norten

    The term ‘revolutionary’ is so misused and overused it is nauseating. But in this case we have a true breakthrough product. Highly original. Stunning watches. My only concern? If this company goes under, who will service such a device? You pays your money and you takes your chances.

    • MEddie90

      I was thinking exactly the same. With their more regular pieces it’s not too much of an issue but the oil filled ones in particular would worry me. At least with Sinn’s oil filled case you can trust that the company will be around for a good long period but with a newer independent brand i’m a little bit more skeptical.

  • SuperStrapper

    I can’t get enough of this brand this is not my favourite of their offerings, but it is crazy cool just the same.

  • NotoriousAPP

    Oh dang, you had me at “not particularly expensive”! That was a good one.

  • Berndt Norten

    For the pen nuts out there…. I just got me a Lamy 2000. Couldn’t you imagine how good this watch would look with that pen? One day this watch may well end up–like the Lamy–in the MoMa.

    Now… as for Lorenzo Lamas… I’m not so sure how kind history will be. To his kind…

  • hatster

    Looks like what we Brits call a Marmite brand, you either love or loathe it. Personally I love their watches. The design is great, the profile wonderful. Ariel, does the construction of this watch in part determine the price?

  • WImads

    WOW! Definitely their coolest watch to date! Love the “turtle” case shape, besides being unique also fitting to the dive theme in an original way. I’m not normally a fan of dive watches, but that is mostly because of their ususally bulky design, and not a fan of large bezels. This however is lovely refined. Let’s move it to the top of my grail list 🙂

  • funNactive

    I like the uniqueness of Ressence. This model is my favorite (I am a diver). Being a dive watch, it’s a little strange to come on a leather strap. (all other dive watches I am aware of are on a rubber strap or metal bracelet – obviously being meant to spend time in the water)

  • Ulysses31

    Really cool and futuristic styling, but I wonder how well an exposed domed crystal can take a hit. I wouldn’t trust it for sea diving – desk and muff only.

    • Spangles

      Hmm, are there specialized muff diving watches?