In addition to not having hands, doing away with a crown, immersing its dial in a pool of oil and having magnetic fields transmit information from the movement to the time-keeping mechanisms, the Ressence Type 3 also won the 2013 Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genéve for Best Horological Revelation. As we approach Baselworld 2015, Ressence yet again showcases its ability to innovate in distinct ways by adding to its jazzy dial yet another mechanical widget – a temperature gauge.
The Type 3 is essentially structured as a sapphire-domed sandwich with a titanium core. The dial is domed and enclosed within a contoured sapphire crystal cover. This cover is filled with oil so the that the indications appear to float in this clear medium. Additionally, depth is difficult to perceive due to the oil refracting incoming light. This magnifies the dial and gives the illusion that it rests right up against the glass.
The ROCS (Ressence Orbital Convex System) time-keeping component in the top dome is still presented via an assortment of sub-dials. Ressence watches don't employ actual hands to indicate the time – instead, each indication rotates independently – indicating time in a novel way.
An off-center dial with Arabic numerals and the Ressence "hand" logo at 12 o'clock indicates the hours. The printed minutes hand is centered on the primary dial and points to minute markers around its perimeter. At the very edge of the dial are 31 printed Arabic numerals (the one under the orange arrow – in the image above, at 6 o'clock – indicates the date). Then there are three small sub-dials. The smallest is the running seconds, another dial for the day is divided into seven slices (with the weekend outlined in orange), and the dial with a little temperature symbol is, naturally, indicates the temperature within the watch.
The new Ressence Type 3 now comes with a built-in temperature gauge. The 35 mL of oil in which the top dial is submerged is, like most oils, sensitive to temperature variations. (Within the watch, seven bellows have been added to compensate for the oil expanding and contracting under varying thermal conditions.) The temperature subdial features a mechanical thermal gauge that indicates optimal watch performance. It receives its information from a 0.5 mm bi-metal spiral located just 0.1 mm under the dials. As always, a watch this smart, without a circuit-board, commands a lot of respect.
We've covered a hands-on dissection of the original Type 3 at Baselworld 2013, but it's worth shedding some light on the architecture of this model. The middle of the case is made of grade 5 titanium – as are most other components aside from the gears. All of the timekeeping mechanisms are driven via magnets that are responsive to the second half of the watch. And, as you might recall, the Type 3 has no crown – everything is set via the rotating sapphire dome on the back. This dome houses the ROCS 3.2 self-winding movement.
While Ressence begins with an ETA 2824-2 base, the modification that this ébauche undergoes renders it unrecognizable. By the time that all is said and done, it sits in a Faraday cage, and 158 parts have been added. While the Type 3 is a large watch (44 mm x 15 mm) the extensive use of titanium allows it to weigh-in at 75 g (2.6 oz) – very light.
Considering its distinctive architecture, fluid technology, anti-magnetic construction, and light-refracted looks, there is a lot to sum up about this watch. The take away message is that Ressence continues to push the boundaries of originality in mechanical watchmaking. In theory, the new Type 3 is everything one admires about the microcosm of mechanical watches. It's a cluster of hundreds of precisely moving parts that are enclosed in a timekeeping vessel on your wrist. Cool is an understatement.
Pricing for the new Ressence has yet to be released. For more information visit Ressence online.