February 23, 2017
by Zach Pina
There are few watches like the Ressence Type 5. Actually, there are exactly zero watches quite like it – as the Type 5 continues the Ressence tradition of manufacturing the world’s first and still only oil-filled mechanical watches. And just ahead of Baselworld 2017, the award-winning Belgian watchmaker is introducing a third execution of its Type 5 “diver-esque” watch: the Ressence Type 5G that has a sleek gray dial with a polished and micro-blasted titanium finish, joining the titanium and black DLC variants released previously.
“Diver-esque” because while we’d be daft for suggesting this as a watch actually purpose-built for getting wet, it does borrow some design cues from actual dive watches (like the seamlessly integrated unidirectional rotating bezel), is markedly legible in low light, and carries 100m of water resistance. That water-resistance rating is thanks in part to its oil-filled case which reinforces the sapphire viewing window at depths, negating the need for thicker or steeper angled glass. The end result is a strikingly integrated aesthetic, whose uniform, gentle curvature is punctuated by the absence of a crown (instead of using a crown, the watch is wound and set by rotating the control disc set into the caseback).
This curvature combined with the oil-filled case create the Ressence signature: crazy-sharp legibility even at steep viewing angles, and underwater – should you plan on getting this thing wet in the first place. Fans of the few oil-filled watches out there (the quartz-powered Sinn UX and Bell & Ross Hydromax, respectively) already know that it’s an aesthetic that must be seen in person to be appreciated – as the hands and the rest of the dial appear to be suspended in a crisp, three-dimensional digital display.
But one does not simply pour oil into a mechanical movement and expect it to work. At the heart of it all is a barely-recognizable ETA 2824 ebauche, dramatically modified to yield the ROCS5 (Ressence Orbital Convex System) movement, which revolves – quite literally – around a rotating disc display that tells the time in an ever-changing visual context.
All told, the Ressence Type 5 adheres to a series of five other micromechanical and design principles in addition to ROCS – physical innovations, really, all of which are still grounded in the realm of haute horology. They include signatures like an anti-magnetic membrane shielding the movement, the crown-less design, and the inert oil-filled case which uses a complex bellows system to prevent bubbles from appearing in the oil when the case changes temperature. And while all of these principles generally apply to other watches in the Ressence stable, the Ressence Type 5 gets a specially-developed hydraulic shock-absorber. It is a dive watch, after all.
Just as the Ressence Type 5 that preceded it in 2015, the price for the new Ressence Type 5G with its cool gray dial is $35,800 (or 28,500 CHF + VAT). ressencewatches.com