With a knack for technically innovative yet fun timepieces, Belgian watchmaker Ressence now unveils the Type 1 Spymaster, a limited-edition series of watches – each accompanied by a non-fungible token (NFT) artwork – conceived in collaboration with New York espionage museum Spyscape.
NFTs are digital tokens stored on a blockchain – the digital ledgers that also store cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether – that are essentially assets in digital format. Each of the 21 watches in the Type 1 Spymaster series is accompanied by its own NFT, a unique video artwork referencing the watch that also serves as a certificate of authenticity.
The first publicly-available example of the Type 1 Spymaster, numbered “008”, will be offered at Sotheby’s Important Watches auction in Hong Kong on April 23 with an estimate of HK$170,000-300,000, or US$21,000-38,000 (we covered a few highlights from the sale earlier this week). It will be sold to benefit a good cause, with all proceeds going to the Make-a-Wish (UK) Foundation, which works to fulfil the wishes of young children with terminal illnesses.
NFTs have catapulted into prominence in recent months – a digital image sold for US$69 million at Christie’s in March 2021 – becoming the biggest and hottest fad in an era of fads. Watchmakers have jumped on the bandwagon as well, but if there’s a brand that’s NFT ready, it is Ressence.
Having both filled a watch case with oil and installed magnets within, Ressence is a young brand with a penchant for out-of-the-box engineering and design, making an NFT that’s slightly tongue-in-cheek a perfect fit. The intangibility of a digital artwork along with a watch backed by a museum of deception makes the Spymaster intriguingly amusing – and its charitable angle is commendable.
But more importantly, the watch itself is striking. Based upon the Ressence Type 1 – arguably the brand’s signature watch – the Spymaster looks familiar with its planetary time display, but different enough, especially with its typography done in Spyscape’s trademark redacted font. The Spymaster’s grey-and-black palette and titanium case make it look as stealthy as it was conceived to be.
The Type 1 Spymaster tells the time with the Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS), a planetary display with sub-dials that each rotates on their own axes, with the main dial itself revolving.
The watch also features a crown-less case, where time-setting is accomplished with a swivelling tab recessed into the case back. That also allows the symmetrical case to be worn comfortably on both the left and right wrist.
The Spymaster is powered by the ROCS 1.3, an ETA 2892 fitted with the ROCS module. Because it is powered by the ETA 2892 instead of the ETA 2824 used in other Ressence models, the Spymaster is relatively slim, though it only has a paltry 36 hours of power reserve.
Key Facts and Price
Ressence Type 1 Spymaster
Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 11 mm
Water resistance: 10 m
Movement: ROCS 1.3
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, days
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 36 hours
Strap: Black calfskin, with additional cyan rubber strap
Limited edition: 21 pieces
Availability: “008” to be sold at Sotheby’s on April 23, and the rest of the edition via auction at Spyscape on April 24
Price: Sotheby’s estimate of HK$170,000-300,000, or US$21,000-38,000
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