Diving Watches: From Sports Watches to Certified Icons
Ressence founder Benoit Mintiens got SIHH attendees talking: You could hardly go anywhere without hearing a visitor or journalist mention the Belgian brand. Whether at the snack bar, press lounge, or relaxation zones, this 10-year-old brand was this year’s talk of the town.
It’s no wonder when you look at the brand’s new releases for 2019. The Ressence Type 1 Slim, Type 2 e-Crown, and Type 3W were designed to drive the watch world forward.
The public got their first glimpse of the Type 1 at Baselworld 2014. After five years, it was due for an update.
This watch, like its predecessor, is missing a crown – an absence that caused an uproar when it was first revealed. This year’s release was less of a revolution and more of an evolution of the popular Type 1 model. At just 11 mm thick, the new Slim version earns its name. The thin profile, 42-mm diameter, and extremely light 67-gram titanium case make the Type 1 very comfortable to wear on the wrist.
The integrated lugs blend seamlessly with the case and perfectly support the black leather strap. With a water resistance of just 1 ATM (10 meters, 33 feet), the Type 1 Slim is more of an everyday watch; the Type 5, Ressence‘s first diving watch, fits the bill for the brand’s “tool watch.” The Type 1 Slim pairs well with a suit for at the office or with jeans and a t-shirt on the weekends. The dial features a day display and is easy to read thanks to its domed sapphire glass and the contrast of white indices against the black dial. A high level of readability is a characteristic feature of all Ressence watches. The dial layout is similar to that of other models from this brand. The largest subdial is positioned to the left and displays the hours, the longest hand points to minute indices around the dial edge, and the separate seconds subdial sits above the hour display. The display on the lower right has seven bars, indicating the day of the week.
This timepiece is powered by the proven Ressence ROCS (Ressence Orbital Convex System) 1 caliber. This movement takes the ETA 2892/A and adapts it to include additional features, such as a 36-hour power reserve. The Type 1 Slim is an automatic watch, as is its predecessor. The missing crown on this watch is replaced by a small metal “flap” on the case back that can be used to set the watch.
Each of the four Ressence Type 1 Slim editions is priced at 16,800 CHF (16,800 USD), making this the brand’s introductory model.
The Ressence Type 2 was the star of last year’s SIHH. At that time, it was just a prototype with plans to be released later that year; however, the Type 2 is now scheduled to officially go on sale this year, 2019.
The watch combines a classic mechanical movement (ROCS caliber) and completely new “e-Crown” technology. As Ressence put it at when presenting the watch, “The combination of a mechanical watch and new technology links the best of both worlds.” The overall design of this year’s Type 2 hasn’t changed since 2018; however, the twelve small openings in the hour subdial are new. We’ll talk about the function of these turbine-like openings a bit later on.
The e-Crown technology is hidden inside a 45-mm, 52-gram titanium case – more specifically between the mechanical movement and the display. As its name suggests, the e-Crown stops you from having to wind the watch by hand. It generates energy from an automatic rotor, kinetic energy, and solar power collected from solar cells beneath the openings in the hour subdial. If the solar power generated from the holes isn’t sufficient, there is another “energy panel” on the right side of the dial that will open. This second turbine-style feature remains closed if the watch is sufficiently charged. The watch uses the e-Crown feature to effectively communicate with the wearer. You can bring the watch to life by lightly tapping the sapphire glass with your finger. Like magic (or impressive technology), the watch automatically sets itself to the International Atomic Time (TAI), making this watch more precise than any other mechanical watch. How does the Type 2 know Atomic Time, you wonder? Through an app on your smartphone that communicates with the watch’s movement. If the Type 2 is off your wrist for more than 12 hours, the watch will automatically turn itself off. After resting in this so-called “standby mode”, the watch will automatically reset to the correct time thanks to the kinetic and solar energy stored in the e-Crown and the time communicated via the app – even three months later. The Ressence Type 2 was certainly a highlight this year.
The display on the right side of the dial with a green, orange, and blue bar represents three different watch modes. The Type 2 can save two time zones with help from the app – as if Mintiens and his team hadn’t added enough innovative features to this timepiece already. As soon as you enter a new time zone, simply tap the watch glass and your watch will automatically adjust itself to the correct time.
The list price for the world’s “smartest” mechanical watch is 42,500 CHF (42,500 USD) for both the anthracite and grey versions.
The tried and trusted Type 3W also made an appearance this year. This timepiece first appeared at Baselworld 2013. The subdials are similar to those on the Type 1, but the oil-filled case cuts down on reflection and makes the dial even easier to read. In addition to a day display, the Type 3W also displays the date on an outer ring. The oil temperature is displayed via a blue and orange subdial. Another unique feature is the fixed “hand.” The Type 3W relies on continuously rotating discs with printed indices to tell the time. This way, moving hands will never block your display, meaning you have a clear view of each dial at all times. The movement for this watch is also based on an ETA caliber, the 2824. This year’s version, however, features a new light-silver dial, which looks nearly white from a distance. The watch is slightly larger than the Type 1 and Type 2, but still sits well on the wrist thanks to its 44-mm diameter and 15 mm thickness. The thin cases of the former models are notably lighter and more comfortable to wear; however, the light tone and futuristic, yet classic dial certainly gives off the look of modern watchmaking at its finest and makes the wearer feel as though they are wearing a timepiece that is redefining the industry.
The Ressence Type 3W is priced at 36,500 CHF (36,500 USD).