Many claim to make ‘revolutionary’ changes to the wristwatch, but in 2010 Benoit Mitiens and the new brand of Ressence really did do something groundbreaking – they made the watch (and design) world accept a watch with no crown with which to wind it, a watch whose ‘hands’ seemed to be printed onto the watch’s crystal but which used what they were calling ‘fluid technology’, aka an oil-filled time display module.
The first Ressence Type 3, released in 2013, has now been upgraded to include a an oil temperature thermometer. Because the oil inside the time display module is sensitive to temperature changes, the thermometer indicates when the temperature is at the optimum, courtesy of a 0.5mm bi‐metal spiral mounted 0.1 mm under the discs to register temperature changes ranging from ‐5 degrees to +55 degrees Celsius.
The Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS) as Ressence calls their method of time display (it’s also the name given to the movement, which is a heavily modified ETA 2824), is a sealed module comprising of 158 parts, 35 gears, and 52 jewels. One of the main ROCS characteristics is the discs, which are in a constant state of revolution. The convex discs are displaying hours, minutes, runner (360 seconds), days of the week, oil temperature, and the date. The indices are engaved and have Super-LumiNova.
The TYPE 3 consists of three main sections: the centre made from a titanium grade 5 plate that integrates the lugs for the bracelet, the upper section with the ROCS submerged in oil (35.2ml to be precise), and the lower containing the movement and the winding/ setting mechanism.
Magnets are used to move the gears. What this means is that the information is transmitted from the movement to the ROCS via micro‐magnetic fields sealed and separated from the lower section by a anti-magnetic Faraday cage made from titanium grade 5 – the movement in a separate module has no physical connection to the time display.
The discs and the date ring that are ‘bathed’ in oil appear to be displayed directly onto the glass. This almost ‘printed’ effect is due to the elimination of light refraction between the discs and the sapphire crystal. The brain is tricked and loses the impression of depth. In fact the entire watch, as with previous Ressences, just look like curves.
The automatic movement can be hand‐wound by turning the caseback clockwise. Setting the day is done by turning it anti‐clocking wise. Time can be set in either direction. The power reserve for the TYPE 3 is 36 hours. The watch is made of titanium grade 5 except for the 35 gears that drive the display. This high use of titanium means that it only 75grams.
Ressence watches are quite revolutionary and have an interesting purity of form which so far has not seem dated and, if I may be so bold as to hazard a prediction, may well end up dating very well indeed.
This new TYPE 3 costs US$42,200.