Ressence - RESSENCE TYPE 5 BB
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
Ressence - RESSENCE TYPE 5 BB

RESSENCE TYPE 5 BB

Ressence
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31'500 €

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See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

NEW DEPTHS IN INNOVATION

The TYPE 5 is an evolution of the RESSENCE species - a natural continuation of its TYPE 1 and TYPE 3 and their ground-breaking expressions of time. Indeed, TYPE 5 is the first mechanical watch to be perfectly readable underwater regardless of the viewing angle. It is the diving watch whose ultimate legibility does not sacrifice the pleasures of a traditional mechanism. 

As is typical of RESSENCE watches, the TYPE 5 uses advanced materials and design as well as the company’s signature display aesthetic to create a watch at the leading edge of horological innovation. And then some: the TYPE 5 is designed to meet the ISO 6425 standards and able to withstand extreme conditions - but to do so with the modernist elegance characteristic of RESSENCE. 

“With the Type 5, I feel we’ve closed a virtuous circle, combining technological refinement, industrial design and fine watchmaking,” says Benoît Mintiens, founder and designer of RESSENCE.
“This new creation, graphically very strong for improved readability, is the ideal RESSENCE piece for the gentleman diver, whether he’s in the water or around town.” 

INSPIRED BY NATURE
The organic design of the TYPE 5 takes its inspiration from nature, specifically sea turtles. Their distinct aqua-dynamic shape means they are best able to propel themselves easily through the water - so what better shape too for an amphibious watch, right down to its seamlessly integrated uni-directional bezel? The TYPE 5 is made from titanium too, ensuring that it is also lightweight - just 87g - and extremely comfortable to wear. 

MICRO-MECHANICAL INNOVATIONS
The TYPE 5 is an additional example of RESSENCE’s contemporary haute horlogerie, blending industrial design and micro-mechanical innovation. It also exhibits the brand’s distinctively unique means of display - without the use of traditional hands. Rather, the hours, seconds and the oil temperature gauge sit in revolving discs, which in turn orbit inside the main disc of the minute display, which itself is continuously revolving - so this patented orbital display system is an integral part of the dial. 

The complication managing this refined mechanism - the Ressence Orbital Convex System, or ROCS - is a first in the history of watchmaking. It employs a specially-modified automatic calibre that gives the minutes, and hence the base calculation of time, from which is extrapolated all the other temporal indications on the dial. 

LIGHTNESS AND PERFORMANCE
RESSENCE has always wanted its TYPE 5 to be a diving watch comparable in performance to any on the market. But it also wanted the TYPE 5 to be a timepiece that was wearable every day, out of the water. So rather than protecting the watch against the pressures of the depths by using an over-sized case and thick glass, RESSENCE has employed a creative solution. The complete ROCS - all 142 components, including the dial - is immersed in 37.5ml of oil. 

This is a world first for a mechanical watch. And it’s been done with good reason. Since the laws of hydraulics state that a liquid cannot be compressed, this oil compensates for pressure underwater. And there are other advantages too: the oil keeps those components constantly lubricated. And since they are suspended in a liquid, they are lighter and hence require less power to move, which in turn improves time-keeping. The result is a watch both more ergonomic and considerably lighter than traditional diver’s pieces too. 

NO MIRROR REFLECTION UNDER WATER
There is one more advantage to the use of oil, crucial to the success of a diver’s watch. It cancels out what is known as Total Internal Reflection. Typically, when under the water, a traditional diver’s watch needs to be viewed straight on in order to be read properly - otherwise refraction turns the glass into a mirror. But not with an oil-filled watch: this gives it complete legibility whatever the angle of view. “And isn’t it time for a diving watch to be legible under water?” asks Benoît Mintiens. 

MAGNETIC TRANSMISSION
The TYPE 5’s internal architecture comprises two halves - the upper chamber, comprising the ROCS 5, filled with oil; and a lower, dry chamber containing the movement, divided from the upper by way of a grade 5 titanium, hermetically-sealed membrane. 

To transmit the primary minute information from the movement to the ROCS, the TYPE 5 ingeniously uses connected micro magnets - while a number of protective measures ensure the magnetic fields these create do no harm to the regulator. It is another nod to TYPE 5’s inspiration of the sea turtle: much like the watch uses the natural phenomena that are magnetic fields to move, so sea turtles use them to find their way through the oceans. 

BELLOW SYSTEM
TYPE 5 cleverly compensates the use of oil, as its volume in the watch will fluctuate with temperature. The watch is therefore fitted with a system of seven small bellows. These compress when, with rising temperature, the oil volume increases, or expand if the temperature drops and the volume decreases - the result perfectly stabilises the fit of the oil within the watch. The system is directly connected to the oil temperature gauge on the dial - so the TYPE 5 owner can see a representation of the bellows capacity in action. 

Like RESSENCE’s other models, the Type 5 has no crown - rather, the case-back is used both for winding and setting the time of the watch. But, 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 ‘set’. 

TWO VERSIONS
The TYPE 5 is available in two executions:
-TYPE 5B, black dial and polished/satin titanium finish.
-TYPE 5BB “all black”, a stealth version with a black DLC coating that amplifies the visual impact of the oil-filled black dial. Dial and case become one.

Technical specifications

FUNCTIONS
Hours
Minutes
Runner (90 Seconds) Oil Temperature 

MOVEMENT
Patented ROCS 5 - Ressence Orbital Convex System - driven by the minute axle of a specially customised 2824/2 calibre
Caseback winding and time setting with RCLS – Ressence Compression Lock System Magnetic Transmission
Compensating Bellow System for the oil (7 Bellows)
Self-winding
36 hours power reserve
28,800 vibrations per hour
41 jewels
25 gears 

DIAL
Convex grade 5 titanium 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 

CASE
Grade 5 titanium / Grade 5 titanium with DLC coating
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 grade 5 titanium / grade 5 titanium with DLC coating Black Barenia leather & nato (24/22mm) 

TOTAL COMPONENTS : 324 

 

Who's who

Benoît Mintiens, founder of Ressence, is neither a watchmaker, nor Swiss, but in fact a Belgian designer. Is that where his appeal lay for Laurent Picciotto? Well, yes – and no. “Of course, he doesn’t exactly have a run-of-the-mill profile for this line of business,” admits the boss of Chronopassion. “I think the main point of attraction for me was the way in which the watch told the time” – a set of rotating disks, without hands, flush with the dial and in constant motion.

Ressence – a contraction of “Renaissance de l’Essentiel” – is indeed a renaissance of all that is essential. The watch is based on a tried and tested movement, adding a fun and original feature in the way it displays the time. There are none of the usual ostentatious design features that scream “Swiss made” or “limited edition”, or any huge brand logo across the dial – that’s not the Ressence way. Even the brand name is to be found only on the underside of the casing. The approach is simple and minimalist, giving pride of place to the very essence of the object – telling the time.

Was Laurent Picciotto won over right from the outset? Yes, but with a certain degree of caution nonetheless: “You come across a lot of brands at Basel one year only to find they have disappeared the next. I took Ressence’s first design to test out its approach, then waited for the next one. I found it to be a serious brand that was single-minded and very attentive.”

Today, Ressence is very much at home at the Rue Saint Honoré shop. Although it has a loyal following,  Laurent Picciotto stops short of putting Ressence fans into a precise category: “There are many different types of customer. As a whole, Ressence appeals to people who have already been into watches for some time, looking for an unusual timepiece to add a new twist to a well-established collection. Then again you get the occasional mum wanting a Ressence as a gift for one of their children!”

Following on from these encouraging beginnings, Laurent Picciotto is naturally – spontaneously, almost inevitably – looking to the future. When asked if he has any idea of what lies ahead for the brand, he responds with a smile which brooks no doubt. Could he possibly say a word – just one – to give connoisseurs a hint of what might be in store? He duly lets slip a single word: “Devastating.” And then his lips are sealed – at least for the time being.

Make no mistake, the winds of change in watchmaking may well be blowing… from Belgium. 

Journalist : Olivier Müller

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