Founded only a decade ago, Ressence has already left an indelible impression on watchmaking. Lauded for a design philosophy that is centred on legibility, wearability and intuitive function, the brand’s unusual perspective is thanks to its founder Benoît Mintiens, an industrial designer by profession.
To mark its 10th year, Ressence has debuted the Type 1 Slim X, the first of four watches in the commemorative Collection X – “X” being a Roman “10”. Limited to 40 watches, the new watch is essentially identical to the standard Type 1 Slim, but face-lifted with an intriguing dial in a single shade of olive green but finished with contrasting surfaces to achieve a two-tone effect. The remaining Collection X watches will be dressed in a similar shade of green.
I have long been fascinated by Ressence and its watches. The first time I laid eyes on a Ressence, I assumed that it was just an electronic watch with a high-pixel density display; the dial on it was truly flat. When I found out what it was – the effect was due to the oil-filled time display chamber – surprise was an understatement. They are in a class of their own in terms of design, and are, in fact, great examples of “postmodern” mechanical watchmaking.
The dark olive dial on the anniversary Type 1 Slim is a first for the brand. The colour is attractive but not as widely used as I would like, with the exception of military-style timepieces, which this is definitely not. To see it here heightens the appeal of this watch.
Notably, the olive dial has different finishes, matte frosting and circular graining. According to Ressence, it is a textual and visual display of the sweep of time, making the passing of time apparent as the discs rotate.
The two-tone finish might be a point of contention as it interrupts the symmetry of the dial, the varying tones as each surface catches the light is compelling and sets it apart from other Ressence watches.
Another reason why I adore Ressence watches is the patented Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS), a distinct and contemporary take on the traditional regulator-style dial that I have long appreciated.
The ROCS is composed of 107 parts, with the display made up of orbital discs; the entire dial rotates on itself, with each smaller sub-dial making smaller revolutions. In the brand’s top-of-the-line models, the display module is filled with oil, with the viscous liquid creating a distortion-free display when viewed from any angle.
The Type 1 Slim X has a conventional display module, without the oil-filled display, so it doesn’t have the pressed-against-the-glass dial but still manages to maintain the same floating and seamless appearance. But the anniversary edition does have a tiny extra detail: “10” on the hour scale has been replaced by an stylised “X” that resembles an hourglass.
The rest of the watch is identical to the standard Type 1 Slim. That means a tonneau-shaped titanium case that’s 42 mm wide and 11 mm tall, but wears slightly smaller and thinner thanks to the tiny lugs and wide dial. Ressence has also done away with the traditional crown for a perfectly streamlined case silhouette. Instead, time-setting and winding are done via a lever on the case back.
The base movement is a customised ETA 2892, which is why the Type 1 Slim is slightly thinner than its predecessors like the Type 5, which were powered by the thicker ETA 2824.
Though Ressence watches are pricey to begin with – justifiably pricey a result of the unique components required for its unique construction as well as the small-scale production – the anniversary edition is a reasonable proposition. Priced at US$21,600, the Type 1 Slim X costs only US$1,000 over the standard model, a compelling price given the unusual aesthetic and limited numbers.
Key Facts and Price
Ressence Type 1 Slim X
Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 11 mm
Water resistance: 10 m
Movement: ROCS 1
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and day of the week
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 36 hours
Limited edition: 40 pieces
Availability: Now, direct from Ressence or its retailers
For more information, visit Ressencewatches.com.
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