The latest new watch from Belgium-based watchmaker Ressence is the Type 8. It is, for lack of a better term, a new “entry-level” product that presents much of the appeal of the Ressence brand while offering a simpler mechanical system and a lower price point. That said, with a retail price that is still over $10,000 USD, the Ressence Type 8 is not a budget watch. So, let’s look more closely at the new Ressence Type 8 watch, which debuts with a cobalt-blue dial.
Ressence founder Benoit Mintiens bristles as I refer to the Type 8 as a “two-hander” watch, implying that it has indicators for just the hours and minutes. For Mintiens, a big part of the Ressence brand is that its watches have no hands. The entire concept of the brand is to use a magnetically controlled module (which indicates the time) that sits on top of a base movement. The resulting case has no observable crown, and it also has a dial display that is meant to look like one solid curved surface. In reality, Ressence dials are created using circles within circles that all move together as time passes. For the Type 8, Ressence created a dial with just two circles, the outer disc to indicate the minutes and the smaller inner disc to indicate the hours. Accordingly, the hour indicator dial moves around the periphery of the dial as the minute disc turns.
The underlying movement is a Swiss Made ETA 2892-A2 automatic base mechanism, which has Ressence’s “ROCS” (Ressence Orbital Convex System) 8 module over it. It operates at 4Hz with a power reserve of 36 hours (less than the base movement since a lot more torque is necessary) and maintains the automatic winding system. Adjusting the time is done via turning the back of the case in one direction, while you can LAO wind the movement by turning the caseback, depending on where the rear case wheel is when you turn it (hard to explain but it makes sense once you use it).
The Type 8 watch case itself is meant to be thin(ish) and is produced from grade 5 titanium with a mixture of polished and satin-finished surfaces. The curved case is 11mm-thick and 42.9mm-wide but doesn’t wear too large thanks to its nearly lugless design. Over the dial is a highly domed sapphire crystal (a photographer’s nightmare in terms of glare, though legibility is still pretty good). The case is barely water-resistant (10 meters), so I’d avoid getting it much more than splash wet. Attached to the case is a deep blue leather strap.
Ressence paints the hands and markers with Super-LumiNova for night viewing, which is a great extra. To me, the Type 8 feels very simple and straightforward, meaning I think it will be marketable. As a long-time Ressence fan, I’m not personally as excited about it since I hunger for the more complex dials and complications (such as a Ressence Type 3 or a Type 5), but these watches are often priced at $30,000-$40,000 USD. It is very trendy these days for brands that operated at normally higher price points to come down to earth a bit and offer one or more entry-level pieces that collectors unable (or unwilling) to spend more jump on happily. So, in that regard, Ressence is smart to follow this trend and offer a more affordable timepiece but that will nonetheless be hard to get due to limited production and other normal “availability issues.”
Brands like Ressence that have been toiling away for years making excellent alternatives to more traditional luxury timepiece brands are experiencing a moment of huge consumer interest right now, and the brands predictably want it to last. They are doing their best to produce marketable watches that will sell in today’s consumer environment but are also faced with numerous challenges, including a still highly volatile market and ongoing supply issues. Getting all the special custom parts made for these exotic creations is the number one battle brands like Ressence face. This means the limited nature of these productions is quite natural because they can’t always produce more units, even if they want to. This topic simply adds an additional layer of discussion to the larger context around the release of the Ressence Type 8 and other similar watches released this year in 2022. Price for the Ressence Type 8 watch is 12,500 Swiss Francs. Learn more at the Ressence website here.