Ever heard of a watch with a rotating dial inside? How about one that has an oil-filled dial? While these concepts might seem strange and even avant-garde, you might be intrigued to know that they have been made possible by the Swiss luxury watch brand, Ressence. Through constant technological advancement and design innovation, the marvelous, minimalistic Ressence watches have been made into existence. Read on to find out all you need to know about the one-of-a-kind Ressence watches.
What is Ressence?
Established in just 2010, Ressence is a relatively new luxury microbrand when it comes to the industry of watchmaking. Benoît Mintiens, the founder of the brand, was an industrial designer who sought to craft innovative watches that mirrored the modern aesthetics of the 21st century. To that end, Mintiens successfully introduced a lineup of timepieces that possessed an utterly unique oil-based design, while still showcasing the same functionality a traditional watch had.
Interestingly, while Belgium is the birthplace of this luxury watchmaker, all Ressence watches are actually meticulously manufactured in Switzerland. This ensures that each Ressence piece meets all the stringent quality control standards a Swiss-made watch model is required to meet.
Fun fact: Ressence is a creative combination of the words “renaissance” and “essence.” The brand’s name perfectly encapsulates how it has revitalized the watchmaking art, through its introduction of a breed of watches that capture the very soul of timekeeping in a whole new way. This is demonstrated by Ressence’s creative invention of a watch with a revolving dial and its launch of the world’s first-ever oil-filled watch dial.
But just what exactly is so special about these Ressence watches? Let us find out.
How Do Ressence Watches Work?
One thing you can be sure of is that the design of Ressence watches is brand new, even when taking into account the entire history of watch manufacturing. You might wonder how exactly a Ressence watch manages to achieve its rotating, oil-filled dial; the answer lies in what the brand calls “ROCS”.
ROCS, which stands for “Ressence Orbital Convex System”, is Ressence’s patented in-house module. The ROCS utilizes custom-modified movements, based on the ETA 2892/2 and ETA 2824/2 calibers, as the very foundation of the Ressence watches’ whole structure. These movements are carefully adapted by Ressence in order to deliver impressive mechanisms which are able to power its watches’ signature rotating dials.
In terms of motion and display, all Ressence watches share the same signature dial display. This includes a minute hand that is rotated alongside the main disc, as well as smaller individual rotating discs that house the hours, seconds, day-of-the-week, and AM/PM markers.
The hour ring is slightly larger than the two discs that contain seconds and day-of-the-week markers. The day-of-the-week ring is also rather distinctively designed. Instead of bearing any numerals, it consists of seven arcs that make up a circle: five portions that are filled in white indicate the weekdays, while the two empty segments indicate the weekends. All of these components circle around the main dial as the watch performs its function of reliably displaying the time.
All of the movements within the Ressence watches’ dials are powered through the usage of the ROCS. In particular, the operations of the co-planar rotating discs and rings that orbit the dial make up an intricate arrangement that includes more than a hundred pieces of gear. These elements are deliberately, meticulously organized in a convex manner. In fact, unlike traditional timepieces, these gears are laid out in several layers. This makes it easier for these different components to keep moving cleanly around the dial.
Another selling point of the Ressence watches is their unusual oil-filled dials. Ressence’s main goal in utilizing oil was to ensure the readability of the watch face, so that wearers would have a clear view of the dial from any angle. In particular, the use of oil was meant to prevent the refraction of light when it hits the dial’s protective layer of sapphire crystal.
Thanks to Ressence’s unique employment of oil in its watches, every oil-filled Ressence watch is divided into two chambers. The upper half of the case, which is visible to viewers, is filled with oil and contains the ROCS, while the lower half of the dial remains dry and houses the watch’s caliber. In order to maintain the smooth rotation of the dial and its components, Ressence utilizes strong magnets which keep the two different chambers connected.
Yet another remarkable trait of all Ressence watches is the placement of the crown. Conventionally, with traditional timepieces, the crown can be found on the right side of the watch case, either at 3 or 4 o’clock. Ressence, however, has opted to place its crowns on the casebacks of its watches instead.
A simple lever is located on each Ressence watch’s caseback and can be used to manage and wind the watch’s functions. This innovative crown placement serves to give the watch a more minimalistic appearance, while also emphasizing the alluring display of the dial. According to the brand, this caseback crown also allows wearers a certain degree of freedom. Whether you are a lefty or a righty, you will have zero trouble operating the crowns of Ressence watches.
Best Ressence Watches on the Market
As we have established, Ressence is known for producing luxury timepieces that boast high-end, intricate mechanisms and stylish, avant-garde designs. Despite all their complexity and innovation, however, Ressence watches are also known for clean, uncluttered layouts that exude a very minimalistic appeal. Without further ado, let us take a look at some of the best watches that Ressence has to offer.
1. Type 1 Slim
First on the list is the sleek Ressence Type 1 Slim. This titanium watch is a redesign of Ressence’s first-ever release of the Type 1. Measuring 42mm in diameter and just 11mm thick, this slender watch comes in a case made out of robust grade 5 titanium and a snug black leather strap. Its lightweight titanium build ensures that this watch is incredibly easy to carry around all day, an effect which is bolstered by the watch’s incredible slim lugs.
Complementing the watch’s black leather strap is a striking matte black dial. This dial is furnished with a sweeping white minute hand and co-planar spheres containing the hours, seconds, day-of-the-week, and AM/PM indicators. Boasting a clean minimalism that rivals even the German Bauhaus timepieces, this dial is remarkably easy to read at a glance, even with its curious design. A double-domed sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating is also used to protect this watch face from any impacts or scratches.
The Ressence Type 1 Slim runs on the brand’s in-house ROCS 1.3, which has a solid power supply of 36 hours. It is important to note that this watch is not particularly designed to withstand extreme water conditions as it only offers 10 meters of water resistance. While this water resistance capacity is quite typical for a dress watch like the Ressence Type 1 Slim, you should still be extra careful when using this watch.
You can purchase this watch for around $20,000 USD.
2. Type 1² Squared
For a more stylish blue dial watch option, check out the Ressence Type 1² Squared. This timepiece is presented in a square cushion-like design measuring 41mm in diameter. Its case, which is made from stainless steel, bears a gleaming, polished finish that adds to the luster of this Ressence timepiece. This is coupled with thin straight lugs and a handsome blue leather strap.
The highlight of this watch is easily its elegant blue dial, which boasts a lovely, swirling sunray finish that looks extremely well brushed. This dial is decorated with three discs for the hours, seconds, day-of-the-week, and AM/PM markers, while a long white minute hand can also be found on the upper right side of the dial. You will notice subtle orange accents on the day-of-the-week and small seconds rings, which help add a distinct, vibrant edge to this timepiece. Each disc also bears its own sunray finish, creating an interplay of blue shades that is incredibly satisfying to look at under the light.
Like the Type 1 Slim, this watch is powered by the brand’s patented ROCS 1.3. Customized from a base ETA 2892 Caliber, the ROCS 1.3 offers a 36-hour power reserve and a 10-meter depth rating.
The Ressence Type 1² Squared is priced at approximately $20,000 USD. This fashionable luxury dress watch would be the perfect companion for any formal event or dinner party.
3. Type 2
Our next timepiece is a first of its kind. The Ressence Type 2 is a particularly innovative watch because it prides itself on being the first mechanical watch to come with a smart crown. This watch is housed in a large 45mm case made of lightweight grade 5 titanium, coupled with a matching gray leather bracelet.
A matte gray dial finishes off the watch’s monochrome look, giving it a consistent, uniform aesthetic. This dial is adorned with a white-coated minute hand, along with rings for the hours, seconds, and AM/PM markers. The Ressence Type 2, however, does away with the day-of-the-week indicator seen in previous Ressence watches. Instead, it replaces this with a mode selector disc which displays the current function of the watch. These include the local timezone (yellow), a second time zone (green), bluetooth connectivity (blue), and the e-Crown (indicated by the white downwards arrow).
Wearers can use the unique e-Crown on the dial to automatically set the correct time of the watch, so you do not have to manually wind the levered crown on the caseback. In this way, the e-Crown provides wearers with more user-friendly engagement. You can activate it by simply tapping on the sapphire crystal of the dial and the discs will swiftly rotate to show you the correct time. In addition, this e-Crown can also be operated to show you a second time zone through a smartphone app via Bluetooth. All of these functions are driven by the brand’s in-house ROCS 2 module, which can last for up to 36 hours when fully wound.
For a more extravagant, high-tech watch with a handy smart crown, the Ressence Type 2 retails at a costly price of $48,800 USD.
4. Type 3
Next up, we have the world’s first-ever oil-filled dial watch, the Ressence Type 3. Released in 2015, this watch is an updated version of the first Type 3, which was initially launched in 2013. This watch utilizes a 44mm case made of grade 5 titanium, coupled with a matching titanium caseback and a rugged black leather strap. This case is especially in a curved shape, almost like a small pebble; this ensures that the oil-filled dial is clearly legible from every angle. The whole watch face is also kept safe by a layer of sapphire crystal, so you do not have to worry about any scratches or impacts.
The star of the Ressence Type 3, of course, is its oil-filled dial. This dial follows a layout that is incredibly similar to other Ressence watches, comprising separate discs for the hours, seconds, AM/PM, and day-of-the-week indicators, along with a long white minute hand. Scattered across the dial are bright yellow, blue, and red accents, which help add a touch of vivid color to this otherwise monochrome watch face.
This dial is also filled with 37.5ml of oil, although you will hardly feel the weight of this timepiece at all, thanks to its lightweight titanium construction. Ressence made sure to include an oil temperature disc. This is a helpful safety aspect, especially for wearers who frequently travel to places with varying temperatures, as it keeps the oil from freezing or overheating.
Inside this sophisticated timepiece, you can find an in-house ROCS 3.5 module. Based on a standard ETA 2824-2 base caliber, this movement provides the watch with a 36-hour power supply.
If you are looking for a truly out-of-this-world timepiece that wears very light, the Ressence Type 3 is an excellent choice. It is worth an estimated price of $42,200 USD.
5. Type 5
In this entry, we will be looking at Ressence’s first-ever dive watch, the Ressence Type 5. This watch comes in a bulky 46mm case made of lightweight grade 5 titanium. It is offered with two different straps: a supple black leather bracelet, which can be utilized for formal events and office use, and a black nylon strap which is great for everyday, casual routines.
The watch also comes with a jet-black dial, which matches wonderfully with its bracelet. This dial consists of a minute hand, along with different discs for the hours, seconds, and temperature gauge. It is also decorated with colorful yellow, red, and blue accents, which add a hint of vibrancy and liveliness to this watch face. Even when underwater, this dial can be read with optimal legibility from any angle, thanks to the oil inside the dial and the anti-reflective sapphire crystal that protects it.
As a dive watch, the Ressence Type 5 comes with a slender rotating bezel marked with green and white indicators for its elapsed time scale. It also has a reliable 100-meter depth rating, which allows you to use this watch for watersports activities such as swimming and recreational diving. Inside the Ressence Type 5, you can find the brand’s in-house ROCS 5 module. Held together by 41 jewels, this module offers a power supply of 36 hours.
The Ressence Type 5 can be yours for around $35,800 USD.
6. Type 8
Last on this list is the luxury brand’s latest addition to the Ressence collection: the Ressence Type 8. Of all the Ressence watches, the Type 8 has to be the very definition of what a minimalist watch is all about.
This watch is encased in a 42.9mm grade 5 titanium case that measures a slim 11mm in thickness. Its thin, straight watch lugs are barely visible, hidden under the round titanium case. This helps reinforce Type 8’s sleek and slender look. A smart blue leather strap is used to keep this watch securely fastened around your wrist.
Turning our eyes to the Type 8’s watch face, its matte cobalt blue dial is luxurious in its simplicity. This watch does away with all the additional complications and discs. Instead, it keeps things straightforward with just white minute indices on the rim of the main dial and a single disc bearing hour markers and an hour hand, all in white. In low-visibility conditions, these elements all glow brightly, thanks to their Super-LumiNova coatings. Underneath this minimalistic watch face, you can also find an in-house ROCS 8 module, which possesses a 36-hour power reserve.
The Ressence Type 8 sells at just $14,800 USD, making it one of the more affordable Ressence watches.
Where design and innovation meet, technological creations are born. However eccentric some concepts of Ressence watches may be for some, you cannot deny that the ideas behind their products deserve to be lauded. For a luxury brand, Ressence sure knows how to serve its customers well with well-made and unique high-end watches.
All images courtesy of Ressence Watches and Flickr.