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FeatureLook Ma, No Hands! Introducing Ressence And Their Top Timepieces That Redefine 21st-Century Watchmaking

With features such as the eCrown, an oil-filled capsule, and no hands to tell time the traditional way; Ressence have been challenging the traditional watchmaking norms since 2010 to establish a firm identity in the haute horlogerie business

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The current scenario for independent watch brands seems promising. With new players, now more than ever, bringing their A-game to the forefront, the watch industry has witnessed a marked shift in terms of the offerings being doled out by brands. This is also beneficial as it allows brands to experiment when it comes to creative expression whether it’s design, innovation or technical supremacy. One such brand that’s surely created quite a buzz is Ressence—a new-age company that aims to redefine the essence of contemporary watches with its unique approach to haute horlogerie. Established in 2010, by industrial designer Benoît Mintiens, the brand crafts timepieces that are rooted in the philosophy of ‘Less is More’ by getting rid of all ‘unnecessary’ elements, which according to the brand are not required for a timepiece to keep track of time. The brand believes that ‘behind its minimalistic design, the true purpose is to provoke wonder, to awaken senses and to make mechanical watches daily companions for today’s and tomorrow’s generations’. A typical Ressence watch can be spotted from a mile off, thanks to its distinct architecture and design. And this was first noticed in the brand’s Zero Series—a revolutionary concept in time-telling, showcasing a completely new dial design in which time is represented through two-dimensional rotating discs. Here, traditional means of showing time, that is, through hands has been completely done away with and it is, perhaps, more visual when compared to the mechanism followed by traditional timekeepers. The brand followed through with this design with the Type 1° model, which eliminated the crown, resulting in a truly left-right watch. But before we get into the details of some of their outstanding watches, let’s look at some important elements that form the bedrock of a typical Ressence timepiece.

Ressence Watches
Established in 2010, by industrial designer Benoît Mintiens, Ressence crafts timepieces that are rooted in the philosophy of ‘Less is More’ by getting rid of all ‘unnecessary’ elements, which according to the brand are not required for a timepiece to keep track of time. The brand believes that behind its minimalistic design, the true purpose is to provoke wonder, to awaken senses and to make mechanical watches daily companions for today’s and tomorrow’s generations

Go Beyond Barriers With Ressence: Redefining The Essence Of New-Age Timekeeping

A portmanteau of the words ‘Renaissance’ and ‘Essence’, the brand was created with the goal of redefining the soul of modern-day haute horlogerie. And this prompted the founder Benoît Mintiens to adopt a highly minimalistic approach by removing all unnecessary attributes, which have been part of watches for over generations. However, the real purpose of this according to the brands is to ‘provoke wonder, to awaken senses, and to make mechanical watches meaningful and lovable companions for today’s and tomorrow’s generations’. Their watches are known for their distinctive appearance and technical sophistication, combining traditional Swiss watchmaking techniques with contemporary design elements. One of the most distinguishing features of Ressence watches is their patented Orbital Convex System (ROCS). Instead of using traditional hands, the ROCS employs rotating discs with graphical indications, giving the appearance that the dial itself is in motion. This innovative design not only enhances legibility but also creates a mesmerising visual effect.

Then there is also the eCrown mechanism, which is according to the brand is a cutting-edge electro-mechanical embedded system that interfaces the mechanical base movement with the in-house ROCS module. The eCrown replaces the traditional crown’s setup functions in a mechanical watch and it’s also makes it more efficient as it doesn’t interfere with the gear train from the barrel to the hands.

Some timepieces also use a unique oil-filled capsule system to eliminate the visual distortion caused by the reflection and refraction of light between the different layers of the watch. By filling the space between the dial and the sapphire crystal with oil, the brand achieves a seamless and almost organic aesthetic, with no visible lines or reflections

The Watch Guide

A portmanteau of the words ‘Renaissance’ and ‘Essence’, the brand was created with the goal of redefining the soul of modern-day haute horlogerie

The Watch Guide

One of the most distinguishing features of Ressence watches is the patented Orbital Convex System (ROCS). This employs rotating discs with graphical indications, giving the appearance that the dial itself is in motion

The Watch Guide

Just like the Type 8, featured here, their watches come in hyper-modern, sleek cases with a deceptively simple and lean silhouette, powered by mechanical movements

Ressence watches also use magnetic transmission and have developed highly effective magnetic conductors to reduce the spread of magnetic fields. They concentrate the fields in loops around the magnets, measuring only 1mm in diameter and 0.5mm thick. They are physically positioned far from the regulating organ and the residual fields are deflected by a specially-designed alloy, which protects the regulating organ from electro-magnetic fields.

There is also an ingenious hydraulic shock absorber, which helps to keep the magnetic transmission efficient and working smoothly. This is obviously in the models that contain the oil-filled module. This is based on a bottlenecked oil flow, where blades under the runner disc generate a flow of oil that is guided through small apertures. ‘When the watch undergoes a shock, the oil flow increases and will exceed the capacity of these. This will induce a hydraulic friction that will slow down the rotation speed of the runner disc, which is mechanically connected to the rest of the watch via a set of gears. The system will keep the ROCS and the rest of the watch connected together and will prevent the uncoupling of the magnets’, as explained in the brand module.

While all Ressence watches are designed and engineered in Antwerp, Belgium; the production and assembly happens in Fleurier, Switzerland, with the aim to produce watches that showcase a clear, graphic aesthetic that is decidedly 21st century. Let’s look at some of their noteworthy timepieces.

The brand has some of the most striking timepieces with unmatched craftsmanship, divided into six collections named: Type 1°, Type 1², Type 2, Type 3, Type 5, and Type 8. This almost comes across as a militaristic nomenclature, which also highlights the utilitarian and the functional aspect of these watches.

The Watch Guide
A typical Ressence watch can be spotted from a mile off, thanks to its distinct architecture and design. Here, traditional means of showing time, that is, through hands has been completely done away with and it is, perhaps, more visual when compared to the mechanism followed by traditional timekeepers
Ressence Type 1

This is broadly divided into two sub-categories: The Type 1°, which is built on the Series Zero—one of the first timepieces by the watchmaker, launched in 2010—and features a round, curvaceous design, while the Type 1² range features a square case—designed over the Series Zero.

The Type 1° comprises 212 components, which constitute the timekeeper’s ergonomic and functional design, thanks to the revolving discs that display time in a bidimensional format by means of the Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS), allowing hours, minutes, seconds and days to orbit each other. The iconic pebble design is sleek and sits comfortably on the wrist, resulting in a strikingly smooth watch with a satisfying tactile quality, that’s highly responsive and foolproof. This also features the shock-absorption system is based on a bottlenecked oil flow that ensures accuracy and smooth functioning of the timepiece and the absence of a crown makes the watch comfortable in both left or right fit—definitely an added advantage.

The Watch Guide

The Type 1° is built on the Series Zero—one of the first timepieces by the watchmaker, launched in 2010—and features a round, curvaceous design

The Watch Guide

The Type 1° comprises 212 components, which constitute the timekeeper’s ergonomic and functional design, thanks to the revolving discs

The Watch Guide

The iconic pebble design is sleek and sits comfortably on the wrist, resulting in a strikingly smooth watch with a satisfying tactile quality, that’s highly responsive and foolproof

The Type 1² range, as mentioned earlier feature square-shaped cases and comes in options of blue or white dials. The blue version looks stately with a dial that has sunray-finished discs, which emphasise the movement of the dial. They also stand out as the design is a round dial within a square case—giving it a slightly robust yet elegant appearance. Also, Ressence have ensure that the legibility of the watch is not compromised under any conditions, thanks to the numerals, markers, and hands filled with extra-strong Super-LumiNova. Also, the use of the caseback for winding and adjusting improves ergonomics, making the watch equally wearable on the right or the left wrist.

Ressence watches
The Type 1² range features square-shaped cases with round dials. The blue version, featured here, looks stately with a dial that has sunray-finished discs, which emphasise the movement of the dial. Also, the use of the caseback for winding and adjusting improves ergonomics, making the watch equally wearable on the right or the left wrist
Type 3

The Type 3 features the much revered oil-filled capsule, which delivers a more symbiotic experience of watchmaking. Since the refraction of light as it moves from one substance to another can distort perception, this model negates this effect since its upper half is flooded with 3.75ml of oil. This results in clarity due to reduced friction, and also aids greater mechanical efficiency. The Type 3 consists of 376 components, carefully assembled to provide a balance of simplicity and complexity. Another highlight is the brand’s patented Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS) module, coupled with the suave pebble-like design—artistic innovation for the wrist.

Ressence Watches
The Type 3 features the much revered oil-filled capsule, which delivers a more symbiotic experience of watchmaking. It consists of 376 components and also features the brand’s patented Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS) module, coupled with the suave pebble-like design
Type 5

The Type 5 is a diving watch featuring the brand’s renowned ROCS module to display time along with an organic design inspired from nature—primarily the hard shells of sea turtles. For this watch, instead of focusing on protecting it against the pressure while underwater by using a bulky oversized case with thick glasses, the brand have concentrated on the oil technology and explain the science behind it. ‘Since the laws of hydraulics state that a liquid cannot be compressed, the oil will compensate for underwater pressure. Moreover there are other advantages related to the oil technology. The components are constantly lubricated and since they are suspended in liquid, they are lighter and hence require less power to move, which in turn improves accurate time-keeping’, states the brand literature. The use of oil also cancels out the total internal reflection, which hampers legibility underwater as most dive watches have to be viewed straight. However, with the Type 5, the use of oil ensures complete legibility, whatever the angle of view. Consisting of 324 components and the brand’s state-of-the-art technology, the Type 5 comes with a new caseback, specially developed for this dive timer, featuring the Ressence Compression Lock System (RCLS), which locks and checks the compression of the gasket, with two positions, ‘lock’ and ‘set’.

The Watch Guide

The Type 5 is a diving watch featuring the ROCS module along with a design inspired from the hard shells of sea turtles. Here, the brand have focused on the oil technology to optimise functions while underwater

The Watch Guide

Consisting of 324 components, the Type 5 comes with a new caseback, specially developed for this dive timer, featuring the Ressence Compression Lock System (RCLS)

The Watch Guide

The use of oil also cancels out the total internal reflection, which hampers legibility underwater as most dive watches have to be viewed straight

Type 8

The Type 8, a minimalistic timekeeper, delivers on both the aesthetics and mechanical aspects of watchmaking, truly living up to the philosophy of simplicity being the ultimate sophistication. It’s a playful, colourful, and streamlined watch, designed for ergonomic comfort and maximum legibility. The watch comes in a hyper-modern, sleek case with a deceptively simple and lean silhouette. Crafted entirely from grade-5 titanium, the 42.9mm case contributes to an extremely light overall weight and along with the strap included, the watch weighs just 42gm. However, this does not compromise on the overall toughness of the watch, thanks to the titanium framework, built to resemble the shape of an eggshell. The tapered case has a sandwich-style construction with a two-tone finish, showcasing both polished and satin finishing textures. There are no apparent lugs; they are hidden behind a small ‘skirt’ extending from the round case body, giving the impression of an integrated unit, from where the straps appear to grow invisibly. Demonstrating the brand’s commitment to traditional mechanical watchmaking with a contemporary twist, the Type 8 is powered by an automatic movement, based on an ETA calibre 2892/2 with a 36-hour power reserve that has been customised to suit the brand’s watchmaking ethos.

  • The Watch Guide

    The Type 8, a minimalistic timekeeper, delivers on both the aesthetics and mechanical aspects of watchmaking, truly living up to the philosophy of simplicity being the ultimate sophistication

  • The Watch Guide

    It’s a playful, bright, and streamlined watch, designed for ergonomic comfort and maximum legibility

  • The Watch Guide

    Crafted entirely from grade-5 titanium, the 42.9mm case contributes to an extremely light overall weight and along with the strap included, the watch weighs just 42gm

  • The Watch Guide

    However, this does not compromise on the overall toughness of the watch, thanks to the titanium framework, built to resemble the shape of an eggshell

  • The Watch Guide

    There are no apparent lugs; they are hidden behind a small ‘skirt’ extending from the case body, giving the impression of an integrated unit, from where the straps appear to grow invisibly

Ressence Type 5
Ressence Type 8

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