Ressence… what an interesting brand! In terms of originality, boldness and uniqueness of the display, these Belgium guys know how to make things differently. Ressence is known for their display that uses revolving sub-dials, all rotating on themselves, to indicate the time (first step, achieved with the Type 1). They also known to be the crazy one behind a watch filled with oil, that virtually brings time to the surface of the watch (step 2, with the Type 3). The third step is about to be achieved, bringing these innovations to create a dive watch, that also is the first and only watch that can be seen in every single angle underwater. Here is the Ressence Type 5.
Let me pause the review of the Ressence Type 5 for a second. Figure that: you’re about to dive (or you just have your wrist underwater) and you want to look at the dial of your watch. And, oh surprise, it acts like a mirror, as long as you don’t look at the watch straight in the eyes (straight in the dial if you prefer). We all experienced this situation where you have to change position to make your watch readable underwater. Look at this image here and you’ll understand. Well, it seems that the young brand Ressence has found a solution to solve this issue – and wait, the watch we’re talking about also has much more to offer.
The thing is that, when developing the Ressence Type 3, Benoît Mintiens (the founder) figured out that when the this watch was plunged underwater, thanks to its dial filled with oil, there were absolutely no reflection on the dial, whatever the angle you choose to look at the watch. Then, the next step to reach was a natural one: creating a dive watch. Without making any sacrifices to the original concept of the previous watches (Type 1 and Type 3), the Type 5 brings sportiness and real diving aptitudes (as meeting the ISO 6425 norm).
So, the Ressence Type 5 is the brand’s vision of a dive watch mixed with a Type 3. Meaning that it looks like a Type 3, with the classical elements of a watch made to go underwater. The case of the Type 5 is fully made in Grade 5 titanium (meaning that it is super light) and measures 46mm in diameter (which seems big on paper but wears like a 42mm watch on the wrist, due to the almost inexistent lugs). It is a super-comfy and well proportioned watch. The increase of diameter (compared to the 44mm of the Type 3) is mainly due to the addition of a rotating diving bezel, of course unidirectional and engraved with a 60-minute scale (with one minute intervals from 0 to 15). The rest feels properly Ressence, with this huge bubble on the top that serves as a dial. The no-crown concept of the 2 previous watches is still used here, meaning that time adjusting and winding are made via the rotating caseback (to ensure maximum water-resistance, a new case-back has been specially developed for the TYPE 5. Dubbed the Ressence Compression Lock System, or RCLS, it has a system for the locking and compression of the gasket, with two positions, ‘lock’ and ‘setup’).
The display of the Ressence Type 5 is still very close to the one employed in the Type 3, however without the date and the day of the week. It only shows the hours, the minutes, a 90-second runner (a sort of small second that acts as shock absorber. We’ll explain later) and a temperature gauge (because it’s filled with oil). As in the Type 1 and Type 3, the new Ressence Type 5 displays the time via revolving discs, all powered via a complex mechanism called the ROCS. This watch is quite special and composed of two module: first is a classical mechanical movement and then is the ROCS, a sort of mechanical series of gears that all rotate simultaneously to actuate the several discs on the dial.
- Base movement: the Type 5 uses a highly modified ETA 2824 calibre. It gives the minutes as a base for the calculation of time and drives a large disc on the top. This disc features several magnets.
- ROCS: this is a hermetically closed chamber, filled with oil. It comprises the gears and the discs that composes the dial. The oil allows to have this incredible contrasted view, where the hands seems to be printed directly on the sapphire crystal. However, as it is hermitically close (to keep the oil inside), Ressence had to find a way to create a link between the movement and the gears of the ROCS. That’s were the magnets are employed. The discs with magnets on the movement interferes with another disc with magnets inside the ROCS, thus both are moving simultaneously. The system drives the minutes, the rest is just a game of wheels and pinions: some wheels accelerate the movement to display a runner (sort of small second) and some wheels slow down the display to indicate the hours.
As said, this unique effect on the dial is obtained via oil. However, oil is subject to pressure and temperature. It can thus expand (if hot) or contract (if cold). Ressence has featured the Type 5 (like the Type 3) with 7 bellows that compensate the dilatation of oil. However, extreme conditions are to be avoided, and that’s the reason why the Type 5 features a temperature gauge. in any case you ask, if the watch goes in extremely low temperatures, the only thing that may happen is the apparition of a small bubble (because the oil retracted too much) that will disappear in warmer conditions.
Another subtlety of the Ressence Type 5 is its runner that acts like a shock absorber. Because the hands / discs are not mechanically driven but actuated by magnets (meaning that there’s no mechanical touch like with gears and pinions), in case the watch overgoes a shock, a difference in position may appear between the magnetic disc of the movement and the magnetic disc of the ROCS, before those replace one in front of another. The back of the small-second-like disc (that turns in 90 seconds) in fact comprises blades that act like an hydraulic brake. As all the discs are linked, if the runner brakes, the other one will brake even more and the shock will be absorbed.
in order to meet with the concept of a dive watch, the team of Ressence wanted a watch able to meet with the ISO 6425 standard, meaning able to dive (to a minimum of 100m, which is the case of the Type 5), without condensation (no worries, as the dial is filled with oil), with strong resistance of the crown (well, there no crown here), high legibility (that’s why the Type ( has larger indexes and hands), an indication if the watch is running (usually a second hand, here the 90-second runner), luminous hands and numerals and a rotating bezel. As surprising as it seems, the Ressence Type 5 is really a diving tool, certainly the most unconventional one around but still a watch that can be worn to say hello to sea-horses.
The transformation of the Type 3 into a diving watch is impressively well made and really cool to wear. The Ressence Type 5 feels more horological, with a proper case and this integrated bezel. On the other hand, it doesn’t loose the coolness and the roots of the original concept. To be very honest, I’d like it to be my next summer watch (yes, that’s a sort of official demand to the brand to have the Type 5 as my next summer review watch… just saying).
The Ressence Type 5 will be priced at 31,500 Euros (inc. taxes) while the more complicated display of Type 3 requires 35,400 Euros. More details (and nice interactive simulators) to see on Ressence new website.
- Runner (90 Seconds) Oil Temperature
- Patented ROCS 5 – Ressence Orbital Convex System – driven by the minute axle of a customised 2824/2
- Caseback winding and time setting with RCLS – Ressence Compression Lock System Magnetic Transmission
- Compensating Bellows System (7 Bellows)
- 36 hours power reserve
- 28,800 vibrations per hour
- 60 jewels
- 25 gears
- Convex titanium grade 5 dial (125mm radius) with 3 eccentric biaxial satellites inclined at 3° (hours), 4.75° (thermal gauge and seconds)
- Engraved indications filled with blue and green Superluminova
- Titanium grade 5
- Two separate sealed chambers with the upper one filled with 37.5 ml of oil Domed sapphire crystals top and bottom with both sides anti-reflective coating Uni-directional bezel
- 46mm (diameter) x 15.5 mm (thickness)
- 10 ATM water-resistance
BUCKLE & STRAP
- Ardillon Buckle in titanium grade 5 Black Barenia leather (24/22mm)