As the COVID-19 pandemic was reaching its peak, Ressence announced Time to Draw, a design competition inviting contestants to reinterpret of its Type 1 Slim, with the winning entry being sold to benefit COVID-19 research at KU Leuven, a university in the company’s native Belgium.
Triumphing over 465 other entries, the winning design was created by Englishman Raymond Ramsden. Named after his two sons, the Type 1 Slim “Ayrton & Finlay” is a bright rendition of the Type 1 that is a striking departure from the brand’s typically monochromatic style.
Clad in pastel colours, the watch clinched the prize because it looks vastly different from the standard offerings of Ressence. Ressence founder Benoît Mintiens stated “[we] wanted to create a genuine one-off, so we opted for entries that were far from our own artistic direction”.
By extension, the watch is distinct in personality – the bright pastel colours are more cheerful and extroverted compared to the usual Ressence wristwatch, which has a no-frills, technical appearance. I love this design for its fun, fresh, and vibrant look.
Apart from the facelift, the rest of the watch is everything that you know about the Type 1 Slim. The watch has 42 mm, tonneau-shaped titanium case that’s 11 mm tall. Because of its almost lug-less design and concave profile, it sits very compactly on the wrist.
The orbital display is the Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS), the brand’s signature expression of time. Hours, minutes, seconds and days are located on separate, planetary discs. The entire dial rotates on itself, with each sub-dial making smaller revolution on its own axis, without ever overlapping with another. The result is something akin to a constantly-changing, regulator-style display
The base movement a customised ETA 2892, allowing the watch to be slimmer than its predecessors, which were powered by the thicker ETA 2824. Winding and setting the time is performed by lifting and turning a large, swivelling tab on the case back, hence the lack of a crown.
The colours were chosen by Mr Ramsden for their optimistic and uplifting nature as he wanted his design to be a celebration of human values, and the dedication of “frontline” workers during the pandemic.
For example, the pastel blue that dominates the watch and the strap is meant to represent medical staff and workers – a reference to the colour of medical scrubs. The marker for the 19th minute has been painted red as a discrete reference to COVID-19.
The design is also planetary-inspired, with the dark blue, yellow and white sub-dials representing the Earth, Sun, and Moon respectively. I find this concept to be particularly clever as it echoes the concept behind the orbital time display.
With an estimate of HK$150,000-300,000, the Type 1 Slim “Ayrton & Finlay” is lot 2267 in Sotheby’s Important Watches auction, which will take place on July 11, 2020 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai.
The watch, along with the rest of the lots, is now on show at the preview exhibition that is happening from now till July 10 at the same venue.
For more information and bidding, visit the catalogue entry for the Type 1 Slim “Ayrton & Finlay”.
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