Ressence Type 3 – Le Scaphandrier
Maybe you can remember Ressence, the Belgian (!!) watch brand that amazed watch connoisseurs around the world with their Zero Series One with rotating dial and planetary orbiting sub dials? Well, we got to review it for you (check the review here). Now Ressence comes with a new model, named Type 3, that brings time to the surface of the watch.
With the top half of the watch, the part between dial and crystal, that is filled with fluid, there is very little refraction of light. That makes it appear as if the indications are printed or projected on the crystal and the time comes to the surface. Type 3 is not just a fluid-filled next step for Ressence, it is a true evolution and it offers an entirely different experience (added date, days of the week and no crown). Besides that, it is limited to just 50 pieces!
The Type 3 is a mechanical watch; however the illusion of seeing indications appear on the sapphire crystal as if they were on a computer screen is reinforced by the pronounced curve of the glass and a ‘water drop’ effect that accentuates the black/white contrast of the dial. At last year’s Baselworld I already got to see the prototype and this is really a watch that you have to see yourself!
The way to indicate the time remains more or less the same, with a rotating dial and orbiting planetary sub dials for hours, seconds and days of the week. Around the dial is a date ring and you can read the date at the orange triangle at 6 o’clock. Since the entire dial rotates, all planetary sub dials will rotate with it, while rotating around their own axis as well.
The sub dial with the Ressence logo, the hand, is the hour sub dial. The minute hand is on the ‘large dial’, which also contains three planetary subdials. The two smaller subdials are for the seconds and the day of the week. And did you notice the missing crown? That because the Type 3 is operated by turning the case back!
Setting the time without a crown
That Ressence’s design is characterised by purity and minimalism, is no news, but by leaving out a crown, they are taking it a step further. The complete sapphire caseback rotates and takes the role of the crown and several quadrants on the case back replace different crown positions.
The Type 3 is wound up by turning the case back. To change the date, it is simply necessary to make a longer rotation through 200° in order to arrive at the date quadrant. The hour is set by starting from the neutral position and turning in the direction indicated. And what’s really novel about the Type 3’s operating, is that a gravitational gearing system allows time setting to be disconnected by simply inverting the watch! This gravitational gearing system allows the indications to be adjusted separately: with the dials facing up, it is possible to change the time and date; with the back up, the watch can be wound.
The unique concept of Ressence would be impossible with traditional overlapping hands. Because the hands do not overlap, there’s less space required between the dial and the crystal. The sapphire crystal is of course anti-reflective coated. A sandwich construction with a titanium membrane between movement and fluid-filled indication module, keeps the ETA 2824-2 movement dry. In fact, the entire Type 3 looks like a sapphire ‘bubble’ that indicates time, day and date.
Magnetics and the Faraday cage
An unbroken hermetic titanium membrane between the upper section housing, the complication module and indications, and the movement prevents any physical connection, so the information is transmitted magnetically!! The automatic winding movement is protected by a Faraday cage to minimise the effects of magnetic fields on timing.
The Type 3 consists of three basic elements: a central section is made from a 2mm titanium plate that integrates the lugs for the bracelet; an upper liquid-filled capsule with the complication and indications submerged in naphtha-fluid; and a lower section housing the movement (inside a Faraday cage) and winding/time-setting functions. The upper display module is completely sealed and physically separate from the movement. The indications are transmitted from the movement to the upper display via micro-magnetic fields.
Like the dial side, the back is curved convexly so that its centre touches the wrist between the bones, ensuring that the Type 3 is a very comfortable watch to wear.
The Ressence Type 3 is a limited edition of 50 pieces – Price is 23,000 euros (without shipping or taxes)
- FUNCTIONS: Date, Days, Hours, Minutes, Seconds ( 360’’ )
- SYSTEM: Information transmitted from movement to indications by micro-magnetic fields
- CASE: Sapphire crystal and grade 5 titanium
- DIMENSIONS: 44mm x 15mm
- CRYSTALS: Domed sapphire crystals top and bottom with anti-reflective coating on both sides
- MODULE: Patented system invented and developed by Ressence, independent module comprising 28 gears and 57 jewels, Grade 5 titanium plate integrating three eccentric biaxial satellites inclined at 3° and 4,75° with a date ring around the circumference, shock absorber system, module and indications are completely immersed in fluid, a thermal valve compensates for expansion/contraction of the fluid
- MOVEMENT: Automatic winding movement based on calibre 2824-2, 120 components, 25 jewels, power reserve 36 hours, balance frequency 28.800 A/h, visible ring-shape winding rotor
- COMPONANTS: Total: 407 components, module alone: 287 components.
- WEIGHT: 175 grams
Please visit the Ressence website for more information.
This article is written by Frank Geelen, executive editor for Monochrome Watches.
Great watch. Nice to see how the original concept has been brought to an even higher level.
I agree with you, Jack. It looks like the concept has arrived at another level. I’m very much looking forward to seeing it in Basel.
Brilliant…good to see new developments and companies willing to explore new frontiers.