When it has been launched, back in December 2015, we’ve been fairly surprised with the Ressence Type 5… In a very good way, this has to be said. For sure, a dive watch from Ressence was really not expected, however, when knowing the evolution of the concept initialized with the Type 3, it felt like a natural evolution. Apart from the cool display, this watch, thanks to its oil-filled dial, allowed to be the only mechanical dive watch with zero reflections underwater (and if you’re doubtful, see our field test here). Just between the SIHH and the upcoming Baselworld, Ressence now comes with a full titanium version of this watch, the Type 5G, and it has some arguments to convince. And after you saw it yesterday on all our competitors’ websites with press photos, we, at Monochrome, go hands-on with it.
Throwback to the Ressence Type 5 Concept
The Ressence Type 5 is, to us, the natural evolution of the Ressence Type 3, itself the natural evolution of the Ressence Type 1. A nice family portrait to make it short. The Type 1 set the base for the “Beyond Hand” display, introducing the ROCS module, which allows for a display with co-planar discs and rings of different sizes, curved to match the bend of the glass that covers them. The whole dial rotates to indicate the minutes (as a regulator watch) and, inside this main rotating dial, several discs also rotates on their own axis and at their own speed to indicate the hours (by a series of gears that slows down the minute indication) or the seconds (by a series of gears that accelerates the minute indication). The base was here: a planar dial with a unique display, entirely mobile and rather unusual. Very designed, very modern, yet readable and quite rational in the end.
The original titanium / black version of the Ressence Type 5
Then came the Type 3, which integrated the concept of the oil-filled dial, to create a screen-like display. In fact, the whole top module, the ROCS, is an hermetically-sealed chamber filled with oil. This creates a rather special display, were you can’t see any gap between the sapphire crystal and the discs of the dial. It feels as if the hands and indication were projected onto the inside surface of the crystal… quite magical. Yet, once this watch was achieved, the people at Ressence discovered an unexpected advantage. When underwater, this oil-filled display actually allows to have zero reflections or distortions (people who dive know that a standard watch, because of the air contained between the dial and the crystal, is only readable in certain angles. When looks diagonally, most dive watches transform into mirrors).
The no-reflections / no-distortions effect of the Ressence Type 5
Thanks to this almost miraculous result, the natural evolution was of course to create a dive watch, benefiting from this zero-reflections/distortions display. The Ressence Type 5 was born. Based on the same (yet simplified) display as the Type 1 and Type 3, the Type 5 felt more horological, more “watch” thanks to a real case and a diving bezel around the domed sapphire crystal. Yet, the spirit of Ressence was still there, with a modern, almost industrial look, a no-crown architecture (setting is done via the caseback), a screen-like display and, new for the brand, real diving capacities (certified ISO 6425 – water resistant to 100m). After a black dial / titanium case version, after a full black edition (the Type 5BB), it is now time for a third iteration.
The new Ressence Type 5G Titanium
For 2017, Ressence brings the Type 5G, the all-grey, all-matte edition of their dive watch. What we have here is only a visual update, so for better or for worse, it is a Type 5 that you have in front of you – and for us, it is for the better… Basically, the polished and brushed Grade 5 Titanium case is used in the same way, with its 46mm diameter (which surprisingly wears like a 42mm, thanks to the super-short lugs), with matte titanium diving bezel. Yet, on this Ressence Type 5G, titanium goes all the way around, including now the dial, which is made in non-coated, non-painted, non-treated microbilled grade 5 titanium – for the 4 discs (minutes, hours, temperature gauge and running second) and the 4 rings. All indications are directly engraved into those discs and then filled with withe SuperLuminova (and what a cold watch to see in the dark…)
Technically, the Ressence Type 5G remains entirely identical to the previous editions, with the water-drop effect dial. The display module (the ROCS) is an hermetically-sealed chamber that contains 37.5ml of oil to create this zero-reflections display. To compensate retractions or dilatations of oil, the ROCS module comprises 7 bellows, which retreat when the oil expands under the effect of heat, or compensate the contraction of the oil under the effect of cooling. This is why on the Type 5 (and on the Type 3), you’ll find a temperature gauge, just to make sure to use the watch in optimal conditions.
Other specificity, because the display module is hermetically-sealed, there is no mechanical link between the automatic movement and the ROCS module. Thus, this watch relies on a an ingenious device based on magnetism, with micro magnets placed on either side of the membrane and driving the indications of time. Finally, as all Ressence watches, the Type 5G has no crown. Settings and winding are done via a rotatable caseback.
3 Reasons why I prefer the Grey Type 5G to the black version
- The rough look of the titanium dial, rather in line with the dive watch concept. It gives a tool look to the watch, while the black edition, rather shiny and glossy, was very Ressence in all manners but was also feeling more luxurious. This Type 5G has a more sporty, more instrumental look. It does reinforce the wish of the brand to make this Type 5 the sports watch in the catalogue.
- The rough microbilled grade 5 titanium dial has a great color, warmer than standard steel or rhodium plated dials, which gives the watch a certain uniqueness. This way, the Ressence Type 5G differentiates from the crowd of black-dialed divers.
- While still having zero reflections underwater, the Type 5G and its brighter dial allows for less reflection on dry lands… And we all know that a watch is more worn next to the sea than under the sea. The black dial, as said, brought lots of reflections when worn on land. It’s very glossy. The matte aspect of the titanium dial and its lighter color allow for less reflections and an improved legibility, even if there’s less contrast between the indications and the dial.
Overall, without properly renewing the concept of their dive watch, I feel that Ressence found the right balance with this Grey Type 5G. Even if close to the black version in terms of look and identical technically, it appears to be the most achieved and relevant version to us, simply because of the color and matte finish of the dial, more in line with the sporty, toolish vocation of the watch. I enjoyed wearing the Black Type 5 for an entire summer, but I would definitely enjoy this titanium grey version even more. Retail price: 31,500 Euro. More details on ressencewatches.com.