Darling of the avant-garde watch scene Ressence has launched its latest creation, the Type 5 AIT. A collaboration with Monaco-based collective Art In Time, the new edition of the brand’s Type 5 dive watch contributes to protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development locally and globally. How exactly? Let’s find out.

It all starts with HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. In June 2006, Prince Albert II established a foundation dedicated to worldwide environmental sustainability. Since then, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has sought to allow scientists, political leaders, and economic and civil society stakeholders to work together with the united goal of protecting the ocean and the land.

What Is Art In Time?

That’s a good question, and I thought you might ask that. If I’m totally honest, it was not a question I was fully ready to answer, so I did a little digging. Art In Time is a design collective based in Monaco, right at the heart of the stunning Côte d’Azur. It calls itself an expression of the shared desire to offer only the very best in fine watchmaking from a selection of truly complementary watchmaking houses. When those houses include the likes of Ferdinand Berthoud, Chopard, Greubel Forsey, H. Moser & Cie, MB&F, URWERK, and now Ressence, it kind of makes you sit up and listen.

Let’s talk about the watch

Of course, at the end of the day, that’s what we’re all here for. Still, it’s always encouraging to see luxury watchmaking take up some kind of initiative towards environmental and sustainable goals. Ressence crafted the case from Grade 5 titanium, contributing to its exceptionally lightweight in hand and on the wrist. For all you number crunchers out there, the watch weighs just 85 grams with the strap included. The tapered case has a sandwich-style construction with a monochrome two-tone polished and satin finish.

Monochrome and yellow

That’s where the monochromatic color scheme finishes. Ressence has injected the Type 5 AIT with lashings of bright yellow, giving the watch a sunnier disposition than the original Type 5. You’ll find yellow on the strap, the minute ring, the bezel markings, and the sub-dial markings. Rather cleverly, Ressence has made each of the 12 watches comprising this limited edition unique. The large hours sub-dial has one marker in yellow and the rest in grey. The yellow marker is different for each of the 12 watches and corresponds to the watch’s serial number. So, #11/12 has a yellow 11 o’clock hour marker, and so on. The 12th watch, with a distinctive yellow Ressence logo will be sold at a charity event in September, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco.

The Ressence Type 5 AIT

The Type 5 AIT has received a slight update regarding the bezel design compared to its predecessor. The new version features little protrusions for each of the even 10-minute markers. Previously, the bezel had little ridges for the odd 10-minute markers. I prefer the newer design a little more. Coupled with the color scheme, the newer bezel reminds me of a pufferfish when it inflates to protect itself with its spines. As such, I’m unofficially nicknaming this watch “the Pufferfish”. I hope it sticks.

Below the oil-filled upper chamber is an air-filled lower chamber that houses the bespoke mechanical auto-winding movement. This is where the magic of Ressence shines. The movement uses a magnet transmission to drive the discs on the ROCS dial. Yes, magnets in a mechanical watch — madness!

Complete legibility!

You may wonder why Ressence has gone to all this effort to use oil in the upper chamber of its watches. After all, this inevitably causes several knock-on problems that have to be solved. Well, the use of oil has one ultimate advantage — it cancels out what is known as “Total Internal Reflection”. Typically, underwater, the wearer must view their watch straight-on otherwise refraction turns the glass into a mirror, thus rendering the watch illegible. However, with the oil-filled Type 5, this is not the case. Because oil and glass share similar responses to refraction, the eye is tricked into momentarily losing its depth perception. The result is that the watch’s dial seems projected onto the top crystal as if onto a screen. This ensures complete legibility, whatever the viewing angle. It’s impressive stuff and even more impressive when you see one in hand for the first time.

The challenges of oil

Despite the light-refraction benefits, oil is not without its challenges. Temperature fluctuations cause the oil to expand and contract, increasing and decreasing the upper chamber’s internal pressure, which could obviously cause severe damage to the watch. ​​Air also expands and contracts with the temperature changes, but to a much lesser degree than oil. To compensate for all of this, Ressence has built seven individual “bellows” that allow the oil to expand and contract. The temperature gauge sub-dial shows the wearer the operating temperatures of the watch. After all, these bellows can only allow for so much expansion and contraction.

The rear-mounted crown deploys the Ressence Compression Lock System (RCLS), a mechanism that closes the gasket sealing of the lower air chamber when the crown is pushed back into its resting position.

Ressence Type 5 AIT price and availability

Ressence will produce the Type 5 AIT in a series of 12 unique watches. Numbers 1 through 11 are available exclusively at Art In Time, priced at €35,500 (including taxes). The final piece will be auctioned at a charity event in September 2022, with all proceeds going to the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco. You can find more on the official Ressence website.

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