Ressence Introduces the Type 3BBB, the Latest Version of their Oil Filled Sports Watch

Somehow, Ressence has become one of the more divisive brands in high end watchmaking. For every fan who is wowed by their unique take on time telling and contemporary (more like futuristic) design language, there are watch lovers who sneer at the weirdness of it all, or dismiss their movements as simple ETA customizations. I count myself firmly in the former category, and have been fascinated with Ressence for years. While they sit well outside what I’m currently comfortable paying for a watch (really hoping these dog-themed cryptocurrencies take off this year to change that), they are, to me, incredible design objects, and represent the type of pure watchmaking creativity that I value at any price point. Their new watch, the Type 3BBB, is a limited edition that marks the return of one of their oil-filled case, which is a particularly ingenious way to engage with the Ressence ROCS system. 


The Type 3 distinguishes itself from the rest of the Ressence product line by utilizing a case filled with oil. This is done to maximize legibility, as the dial elements in the top half the case appear to be brought right up to the crystal, and can be viewed without distortion even at extreme angles (and even underwater, which makes the Type 3 a compelling sports watch, even without a traditional dive bezel). How does Ressence accomplish this? The case is essentially made up of two chambers. The bottom chamber contains the movement, and the top chamber holds the Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS) time telling elements, and is filled with oil, creating the unique visual impression the Type 3 is known for. 

In a Type 3 watch, those two chambers are separated by a titanium plate, and magnets tied to the custom caliber do the work of moving the time telling elements around in the upper chamber, which is how the oil filled side communicates with the more traditional mechanical chamber underneath. This kind of mechanical inventiveness is the reason why I think it’s unfair to dismiss Ressence as a watchmaker that “just” uses a modified ETA movement. While the beating heart of the Type 3 is indeed a 2824-2, there’s no other brand in the world that uses anything resembling ROCS, which is a mechanical feat of its own, and Ressence’s own invention. 

For the uninitiated, the Ressence time telling layout can be a bit confusing (it helps to see it in motion), but it basically consists of a series of circular elements that are in constant motion, moving around the dial as time passes. On the Type 3, hours are indicated by the interior wheel with the hand symbol at the 12:00 position, and minutes are read through the long hand pointing to the dial’s perimeter. The Type 3 also provides the day of the week and date, as well as a constant reading of the oil temperature. 

For this version of the Type 3, which Ressence will only produce for one year, they’ve gone with a completely monochromatic look (BBB stands for “black, black, black”). The background for the time telling components is a rich, dark black, with only white and gray used for contrast. The case is titanium and DLC coated to match the dark tone of the dial. The case doesn’t have a traditional crown (everything is adjusted via a lever that can be pulled out from the watch’s caseback), so there’s a certain ergonomic appeal to the Type 3, even at 44mm in diameter. 

The retail price for the Type 3BBB is set at CHF 36,500. Ressence

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.