Ressence, founded in 2010 by Benoît Mintiens in Antwerp, Belgium, has achieved a lot over the last six years. In November 2013, the Type 3 was awarded the Horological revelation prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG). This year, 2016, Ressence have once again entered a watch into the competition, Type 5B, this time for the Sport watch section.
Applying the Ressence concept to a diver’s watch is very apt. The three subdials (hours, seconds, temperature) swim about in an oil bath in the upper section of the watch. The arrangement makes the blue and green SuperLuminova-covered hands and indications seemingly float right on the surface of the curved watchglass. It’s one of the most original and innovative watch displays on the market, a concept created by designer Benoît Mintiens. The animation on the home page of the Ressence website provides a good illustration of the intriguing dance of time created by this system.
ETA 2824/2 base calibre
The watch is powered by an ETA 2824/2 base calibre in a sealed compartment in the bottom section of the watch, whose movement is transmitted to the planetary gears of the display mechanism by means of micro-magnets. Just the minutes pivot from the 2824/2 movement is used. The system is called the Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS). The movement itself is shielded from the magnetic field created by the micro-magnets, by a special alloy sleeve acting as a Faraday cage. In the photo below, the ROCS system.
The movement’s performance is determined by the characteristics of the ETA 2824/2 movement, therefore a self-winding calibre, with a balance running at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hertz), and providing 36 hours power reserve. The fact that the ROCS section is oil-filled reduces friction of the display to a minimum.
Perfect visibility underwater
Ressence Type 5B offers a practical advantage to divers. Most diving watches have to be viewed straight on, because at other angles, refraction turns the watchglass into a mirror. As the top section of the Type 5B is filled with oil, it overcomes this problem and can be read at any angle. The watch is made of titanium, and so it’s light at 87 grams, and comfortable to wear. The 37.5 ml of oil in the ROCS section is protected against changes in volume due to changing temperature by a system of seven small bellows that compensate for any variations in volume. There is an oil temperature gauge on the dial which provides the user an indication of oil temperature and hence the watch’s integrity and accuracy.
The minute hand is the only hand that stays where you would expect it, and so it can be used in combination with the unidirectional rotating bezel to time a dive.
Caseback for winding and setting
Another interesting feature of Ressence watches is the absence of a crown. This has the extra benefit of making the watch perfect for both right-handed and left-handed wearers. The caseback can be rotated to wind and set the time. Winding is just clockwise, timesetting works in both directions. For the Type 5, a new caseback was designed, with a locking system. It has two positions, lock and set.
Case and strap
The watch is large at 46 mm diameter and 15.5 mm thickness, but the lugs are short to improve wearability on smaller wrists. The strap is in black Barenia leather, with a Nato strap also available. Water resistance is 100 metres.
Price of the Ressence Type 5B
The watch is quite expensive at €31,500, 30,800 Swiss francs. But the watch is like a timepiece with two movements: in addition to the base ETA movement, the ROCS display system has 142 components. It has an impressive armoury of innovative features, so I think it stands a good chance of winning an award at GPHG. Bonne chance.