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Ressence Watch Hands-On

Ressence Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Last year at Baselworld I learned about this new brand called Ressence. It sort of slipped through the cracks of coverage, but then I was able to speak directly with the brand's friendly Belgian founder Benoit Mintiens. In addition to explaining to me how Belgium is known for more than just waffles and how their chocolate is better than that of the Swiss, he walked me through his timepiece. To be clear, I am not sure the exact name of the watch. Sometimes it is referred to as the "Platform watch," and on the Ressence site, the watches are differentiated only by color being called Type 1001, Type 1002, etc... For now I will just call it the Ressence watch... the one and only.

The concept is fluid and unique - and there is nothing else quite like it. The watch case is 42mm wide in either steel or titanium. Both the top and bottom of the case are cover in highly curved pieces of sapphire crystal that look like caps. The lugs stick out and have nice looking straps attached to them... very little on this watch looks like anything you've ever seen. In fact, the Ressence watch would be interesting enough it where just for the dial, but Benoit wanted to make all parts of the watch quite unique in and of themselves.

Ressence Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Aside from the four dial colors, Ressence seems to offers healthy amount of customization options. For example, they indicate that you can order a watch with the crown at 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock (righty or lefty version). There are various straps, and you can swap them out yourself if you like. The lugs come out via nearby screws in the case.

Ressence Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Ressence Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Let's talk about the dial as I am sure your interest lays there much more than the case. The dial has the hours, minutes, seconds, and AM/PM indicator - each on a separate dial in a regulator watch fashion. Everything is on a disc, so the dial is almost totally flat (in a good way). It has a really modern feel to it that I really like. But it doesn't stop there. As you can see in the video I took, the entire dial changes as the time changes. Where else have we seen this recently? In the much more expensive Harry Winston Opus X of course. Ressence made the idea work in a rather slick way. I have to say the piece impressed me. Even the entire back of the watch (under the sapphire crystal) moves around as the automatic rotor. Ressence is really about regular movement - and it shows. In the future, I understand Ressence will extend this concept with more complications, etc... I also like the little "helping hand" logo.

Powering all this is a heavily modified Swiss ETA 2824 automatic movement. Ressence makes a lot of changes to the base movement. Aside from the obvious on the dial, they use ceramic ball bearings, and the entire disc/satellite system uses lightweight aluminum. I understand that getting the dials to be relatively flush was a pain in the ass to say the least. With all that is going on, the watch isn't too thick at 13mm.

Ressence Watch Hands-On Hands-On

A weird (weirder?) part of the watch is the crown. It doesn't pull out as normal but requires you to "open" it up with the tip of your finger nail. You can then adjust the time. A bit of over engineering? Maybe, but hey, we are talking the high-end watch industry here! We appreciate that sort of thing. My top choice is the Ressence Type 1001 with the black and white dial. It looks the most spacey and modern. The seams between the discs are hard to see unless you are looking right at it... so everything just seems to float around mysteriously. It is a great timepiece that I would wear (and enjoy becoming accustomed to reading) a lot of the time. What Ressence did is not just create something different the eschews function, but developed a new concept that is meant to work as well and effortlessly as standard timepieces that you are used to. Price is somewhere around $13,000.

About the Author

Fueled by an unshakable love for horology and a general curiosity for intricate things, Ariel Adams founded aBlogtoWatch in 2007 as a means of sharing his passion. Since then, ABTW has become the highest trafficked blog on luxury timepieces, and Ariel has become a contributor to other online publications such as Forbes, Departures and Tech Crunch, to name just a few. His conversational writing style and inclusive attitude brings a wider appreciation for watches the world over, and that's just the way he likes it.

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  • Kris C

    I like. It really is quite unique, even amongst other regulators. It looks like it wears a lot bigger and higher than 42x13mm, must be the wire lugs that are both high onj the case and straight out. It’s a good look though. I went to the site quick to see if it came in any neat colours, but no. I think my favourite is the 1004.

    Anyway, this is a refreshing piece. The movement mods are pretty intense – do I think I would justify $13k for it? Perhaps. But, being a new brand, I’d bet that if one were to hold out, a gently used piece could be had for a fraction of that sticker. Which is not meant to offend the brand, that’s just how it goes.

  • weatherman

    What an amazing watch. The complexity and simplicity of it are just astounding. I think I have a new grail. Now let me see, if I sell my Seiko and my Lum-Tec and my kidney…

  • Andrew

    Absolutely gorgeous. This is real innovation.

  • Simeon Weinraub

    Beautiful. In better economic times I would buy two, just to reward the company for creating something so cool.

  • IS3515

    Wow, what a nice concept! Just when you think you have seen it all something else appears. I love the dial design, plan but classic. I hope they have more in the future. Great review.

  • Dangeruss

    Thanks for sharing this Ariel. The mechanics are truly memerizing. I’d have to wear this just often enough where I’d have to reset the time and enjoy the show. Sadly $13K is about 2x my price resistance point.

  • Erwin

    Great watch!
    And very cool that it’s from Belgium. I’m tempted…

  • Who wouldn’t like one of these in their collection? I’ll add this to the list along with the Sarpaneva K3 of watches that sadly I will probably never own.

  • Ivan Y

    Other than lugs (would like curved), I like everything about this watch. Very original and very well-done. Not in love with the price, but I can understand it given how heavy customizations and modifications.

    Anyway, saved eBay search in case a piece pops up there.

  • cluedog12

    Very cool! Given the modifications made to the ETA 2824, I think the price is quite reasonable. Simply a well-designed and awesome watch – and they even make a lefty version. I’d like to try it on to see if wears comfortably on my small wrist…and worry about the price later.

  • John

    Hi,
    I really like this watch, and it was a bit of a shock to see the whole face change!

    I will be back to get more info’.

    Thanks you.

    John

  • Patrick

    I had the occasion to see the watch live at the Salon de Belles Montres in Paris, and being Belgian myself I can say I was proud to see what Benoit made possible in this watch. It’s absolutely a stunning piece and with 42mm it looks quite big due to the lack of a bezel. A real innovation. I know the price of +/- 12k € seems high but compared to what it is it’s still reasonable, just look at the prices of Urwerk when they started … you pay at least 40-60k now. The latest I heard is that the production models will start to hit the AD’s very soon now. I’ll certainly would keep an eye on this one !!!

  • zookeepa3

    Do the men capable of buying this pieces of art understand what they have?  I can’t afford this watch but my lord it is beautiful.  I lay awake at night thinking of cool software apps or creative business models all because I’m greedy and want to own watches like these….amazing…simply amazing.