One of the new kids on the block that we definitely wanted to see during Baselworld was Ressence. We already mentioned them in our watchtime.com ‘Top 5 watches from Baselworld’ article. This young brand was founded in 2009 by Benoit Mintiens. When you look at his biography you could be surprised that an industrial designer goes watchmaker, or not. While it’s not uncommon to see new brands popping up, usually they don’t change the basics of watchmaking. Something Ressence on the other hand has done with the collection of watches that they produce.
On the Ressence website the chosen name and logo are explained. The name Ressence is a portmanteau of the words renaissance and essence. Making Ressence the rebirth of what is essential to a watch, displaying time. Their logo is representing the universal symbol of humanism, the hand. Horizontally placed like it is reaching out. It also used as the icon for the world harbour of the city Antwerp in Belgium, the origin of Ressence.
Let’s get back to the watches and the part where I mentioned they have changed the basics of watchmaking. The first thing you will notice on any Ressence watch is the lack of a winding crown. You would have to turn the watch around to find out that winding and setting time is done by rotating the sapphire caseback, thus making the traditional crown redundant. This is not the only feature that’s worth giving them credit for changing watchmaking. Similar winding mechanisms has been used before by other brands. What appear hands are in fact spherical rotating discs that revolve continuously.
On the Ressence Type 1 the biggest disc, being the minute indicator, ’holds’ three sub dials which are the seconds, hour and week indication display. To get an idea of how it works it’s best to have a look at an animation that clearly shows how it works. Note that this display doesn’t have the week day indication but shows AM/PM instead. Click the image below for the animation.
On the Ressence Type 3 the titanium case is even slimmer, creating extra space under the curved sapphire crystal to house a date function. Adding a fluid in-between the dial and sapphire makes it look as if all functions are displayed on the sapphire itself. Setting the extra functions on the Ressence Type 3 is also controlled by rotating the sapphire case back to the different indicatd settings on the back. Setting time is actually done by choosing the correct position and turning the watch over. Setting time is now made possible with the help of a gravitational gearing system.
With most parts being made from titanium the weight on the Ressence watches is very low. Choosing leather straps helps of course. The 42 millimeter Type 1 weighs only 75 grams on your wrist. The liquid filled Type 3 only gained 5 grams with 2 extra millimeters (wider & thicker) and weighs 80 grams only.
So, in the end we are more surprised with the innovative design and used mechanisms of the first Ressence watches than the fact that an industrial designer goes watchmaker. Definitely one of our favorite watches we saw during Baselworld and we’re keeping an eye out for their future novelties.
Bert Buijsrogge has worked in the real-estate business for 15 years and combined his passion for watches and photography over the years. He became famous for his watch photography and created a specific branded watch calendar for a number of... read more