Ressence Introduces the Type 1 Slim X

Enticing and subtle two-tone olive.

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.

Initial thoughts

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.

ROCking on

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
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 10 m

Movement: ROCS 1
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and day of the week
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 36 hours

Strap: Calfskin

Limited edition: 40 pieces
Availability: Now, direct from Ressence or its retailers
Price: US$21,500

For more information, visit Ressencewatches.com.


 

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Breguet Introduces the Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097

Blue guilloché for boutiques only.

Breguet is one of the grandest names in watchmaking, and mostly makes watches that are rooted in its history. The aptly named Tradition exudes, well, tradition. Modelled on the souscription pocket watch created by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1796, the wide-ranging collection has been gently modernised in recent years. The newly-announced Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 continues that trend, with a dark blue guilloché dial against a grey movement.

Initial thoughts

This version of the Tradition 7097 is possibly my favourite yet, mostly because of the off-centre dial in blue. Engine-turned by hand, the blue dial is striking against the monochromatic movement. And it looks especially appealing when compared against the earlier versions that have plainer and more conventional silvered dials, which offer less contrast against the movement.

But as with all other Tradition watches, there’s a nit to pick here: the serial number plaque on the dial makes it look a bit cluttered, especially since the dial is small to begin with. One solution would be to put the serial numbers beside the Breguet logo, as done on the female Tradition Dame 7038.

And while I like the retrograde seconds, its position feels awkward as it cuts into the sub-dial. Though intersecting indicators are a feature in some historical Breguet pocket watches, the face of the Tradition is a bit too small to accommodate it comfortably.

The white gold case is in classic Breguet style a delicately-fluted case band and narrow lugs. At 40 mm wide and 11.8 mm tall, the watch is a good size that complements the open-dial design.

Historically-inspired inside

The watch is powered by the cal. 505SR1 that’s symmetrical and open on the front, with the layout of the bridges, escapement, going train, and barrel modelled on the reverse of the souscription movement developed by Breguet, which got its name from the deposit that buyers had to pay in order to “subscribe” for the watch. Besides the layout, many smaller elements are also derived from the vintage pocket watch movement, including the U-shaped pare-chute shock absorber spring for the balance jewel.

While the overall look is historically-inspired, the movement is intrinsically modern. The technology inside includes silicon pallets and a silicon Breguet overcoil balance spring that aids with chronometry.

An original souscription pocket watch with its movement revealed

The finishing similarly takes its cues from the pocket watch, but rendered in modern colours. Instead of an old-school yellow-gold gilt finish, the movement is finished in grey, ruthenium plating.

And visible through the transparent case back is the hammer-shaped rotor that is inspired by the platinum rotor of Breguet’s perpétuelle mechanism, one of the first automatic winding systems ever. While the perpétuelle was a actually a hammer-winding system, with the rotor swinging back and forth over a short distance, the rotor in the Tradition is a conventional rotor that spins feely in both directions.


Key Facts and Price

Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097
Ref. 7097BB/GY/9WU

Diameter: 40 mm
Thickness: 11.8 mm
Material: White gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Cal. 505SR1
Functions: Hours, minutes and retrograde seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

Availability: Only at Breguet boutiques
Price: 35,200 Swiss francs; or 51,800 Singapore dollars

For more information, visit Breguet.com.


 

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