I think it’s fair to say that Ressence has emerged as a favorite brand among the Worn & Wound editorial team over the last few years. While high end haute horlogerie is not exactly in our collective wheelhouse, there is something down to earth about Ressence that we all find appealing. Their novel system for telling time using a series of rotating discs is pure problem solving and ingenuity in action, and we love that, even if the watches sometimes stretch well into the dreaded five figure range. Seeing the watches in person and meeting with brand founder Benoît Mintiens at Watches & Wonders earlier this year really cemented Ressence in our minds as the type of contemporary, unstuffy, indie that we can get excited about. To that point, we’re happy to see the brand continue to offer interesting new interpretations on their already distinct design language, as we saw recently in their collaboration with Alain Silberstein, and once again about a week ago with this collaboration on a Type 5 with retailer Art in Time.
Ressence and Art in Time Collaborate on a Very Limited Type 5
The Art in Time is based in Monaco, and was conceived as more of a watch “gallery” than a traditional retailer. The idea behind the project is to work with independent brands on limited edition watches that support specific charitable causes. For this Type 5, dubbed simply the Type 5 AIC, funds raised from the sale of the watch will benefit the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which focuses on donating money it raises to environmental causes, including marine conservation and the promotion of renewable energies and biodiversity.
The Type 5 AIC sets itself apart from most other watches in the Ressence catalog for its adventurous use of color. Yellow is the key accent color here, making up the outer minutes ring as well as markers within each rotating dial within it. The strap, too, is bright yellow, giving this watch an unmistakably casual and sporty vibe. According to Ressence, yellow was chosen because it’s the color that’s easiest to read as a watch goes deeper into the water and it gets more difficult for light to hit the dial. The Type 5 also features an oil filled case, which has the effect of making it looks like the dial elements are pushed right up against the sapphire crystal, making it easy to view the time at any angle without distortion. In person, it almost doesn’t even look “real,” and you could be convinced it’s a screen of some kind. This is an usually legible dial that really needs to be experienced in person to appreciate.
For those unfamiliar with the basic Ressence layout, it’s actually quite intuitive once you see it in action. On the Type 5, we have indicators for minutes (along the outer track of the dial), hours (the large interior dial with an image of a hand at 12:00), running seconds, and a separate gauge that provides a reading of the oil temperature inside the watch (anything in the white area is considered safe). All of the dial indications are individually engraved and lume filled.
Like other Ressence watches, the Type 5 AIC uses an ETA base movement that is heavily modified with the Ressence ROCS system, which moves the interior dials in a circular fashion around one another. Because the Type 5 uses an oil filled case, the movement and the ROCS components are mechanically decoupled, and magnets are used to keep those discs moving without flooding the movement. This is a fairly ingenious solution and speaks to the problem solving and unique engineering work that makes Ressence such an interesting brand. There is simply nobody else doing exactly the same thing in the watch world at the moment.
Only 12 of the Type 5 AIC will be made, and the retail price is EUR 35,500. More information can be found here. Ressence