Founded in 2010 by Benoît Mintiens, RESSENCE is a unique horological start-up creating innovative mechanical fine-watches.
RESSENCE represents an independent way of thinking about fine watchmaking – no less expertly hand-crafted, but with an industrial design philosophy that seeks to be progressive with a clear, graphic aesthetic that is decidedly 21st century.
|RESSENCE TYPE 1|
RESSENCE’s starting point is the deconstruction of the traditional watch in order to express Time in the purest possible way. Its original concept, summed up by its motto #BEYONDHANDS, is to replace the conventional horological hands with rotating discs for an intuitive reading of the Time.
All watches share the same inimitable DNA. Their sub-dials continually revolve, as does the main disc into which they are set – like moons in orbit around a planet. This means that the watch’s uncluttered dial is ever-changing – as is everything in Time.
|RESSENCE TYPE 3|
Quality and excellence is an imperative as a RESSENCE is the result of years of research and development. Each completed watch undergoes testing in RESSENCE’s headquarters to its own R500H accreditation standards – this implies 500 hours of close examination across six stringent criteria.
Thanks to its freedom to think differently, RESSENCE has already reached international recognition: Among others, Horological Revelation by GPHG in 2013 and Design Star by Watchstars in 2015. In 2016, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) certified RESSENCE as one of the 64 brands in the world belonging within the perimeter of Haute Horlogerie.
|RESSENCE TYPE 5|
RESSENCE MICROMECHANICAL INNOVATIONS
RESSENCE watches have so far capitalised on 6 technical solutions based on physical principles. Each of these innovations, never before seen in watchmaking, contribute to the same product relevance: great readability and high user experience.
1. DISPLAY BY DISCS (all models)
It was in 2011 on the ZERO SERIES watches that RESSENCE unveiled for the first time the patented invention on which rests its new expression of Time: ROCS which stands for Ressence Orbital Convex System. Fully designed and developed in-house, this unique horological complication is composed of co-planar discs and rings of different sizes, curved to match the bend of the glass that covers them. Recto, the discs create a flush dial. Verso, they serve as a platina and bridges to the watch mechanism with a large number of components – from 107 components for the basic version (ROCS 1) up to 215 components for the ROCS 3 which drives a six-fold display complication.
Each of the time indications of the RESSENCE watches is generated by the ROCS from a single piece of information provided by the automatic base movement: the minute. With the ROCS, time-information is displayed on a single surface, both eyes see a same image (like words on a sheet of paper), while on a traditional watch, where the hands and dial are superposed, the projected image is different for each of the two eyes because of its 3D nature. The choice to focuson the minute disc is also dictated by a concern for legibility. In most cases, this is the information you first look for when checking your watch. Every minute that passes, you observe a different dial.
2. NO CROWN (all models)
In the pursuit of improved ergonomics, the fluid organic design of the RESSENCE watches becomes imperative in obtaining a completely sleek surface. The case is virtually invisible and the crown has disappeared from the scene. Right and left-handers are now equally well-served. On TYPE 1, TYPE 3 and TYPE 5 the crown is replaced by an alternative of ingenious simplicity, namely, the rotating back of the watch made of sapphire crystal, which assumes the functions of manual winding and time setting. Behind the easy setup/winding system also lies the logical principle that the watch only needs to be set when it has stopped. Simply setting the watch winds it at the same time.
3. THE “WATER DROP” EFFECT (TYPE 3, TYPE 5)
For the first time in the history of watchmaking, RESSENCE introduces a liquid inside a mechanical watch. On the TYPE 3 and TYPE 5, the entire upper part containing the ROCS is immersed in 35 ml of oil. Invisible to the eye, the fluid eliminates the refraction between the glass and the dial. The multiple components of the ROCS are permanently lubricated and are relatively lighter since, according to Archimedes’ Principle, they are suspended in liquid. The use of oil improves chronometry in addition to readability.
The presence of the oil under the glass of the watch creates a never before seen “drop of water” effect. Regardless of the angle at which the dial is viewed, its readability is optimal, even underwater (this is a world premiere for a mechanical watch). On the TYPE 5 the oil also guarantees protection against overpressure equivalent to that of a tool watch without the need to reinforce the case and use a thicker glass.
4. BELLOW SYSTEM (TYPE 3, TYPE 5)
The volume of oil in the upper part of TYPE 3 and TYPE 5 varies depending on the ambient temperature. RESSENCE has developed a self-compensation system operating in the range of -10 to +60 degrees Celsius (14°F to 140°F) (while the Swiss watchmaking standard requires a watch to be able to withstand a range of +10 to +40 degrees Celsius). The system consists of a series of 7 small bellows which retreat when the oil expands under the effect of heat, or compensate the contraction of the oil under the effect of cooling.
The oil volume self-compensation system prevents the formation of an air bubble on the surface of the dial. It is indirectly connected to the temperature gauge of the oil present on the dial. The latter can therefore be seen as a graphical and mechanical representation of the position of the bellows. It should be noted that temperature variations do not affect the correct operation of the watch.
5. MAGNETIC TRANSMISSION (TYPE 3, TYPE 5)
To maintain the oil-filled upper part of the watch leak free, the horological complication module, ROCS, is hermetically separated from the automatic base movement by a Grade 5 Titanium membrane. Since the physical connection between the two is no longer possible, RESSENCE has developed an ingenious device based on magnetism, with micro magnets placed on either side of the membrane.
In addition to this system RESSENCE has set up a series of extra protections of the regulating organ against the effects of magnetism (using magnetic conductors and shielding). The guarantee of perfect chronometry under all circumstances. (tested in laboratories, the residual magnetic fields are practically equal to earth magnetism)
6. SHOCK ABSORBER (TYPE 5)
The magnetic transmission from the base movement to the ROCS ensures that in the event of a significant lateral shock, the micro magnets located on either side of the membrane can momentarily decouple. To compensate for this phenomenon, on its TYPE 5, RESSENCE has introduced a hydraulic shock absorber. It is a small disk that is an integral part of the ROCS 5 the underside of which has blades. Equipped with a gear ratio 1/40, it starts to turn very quickly in the event of a shock and acts like a turbine. The oil is sucked in and can only escape by the microscopic space left between the discs. The whole ROCS is then slowed, which prevents it from being disconnected from the base movement. The shock absorber is manifested visually by the rapid rotation of the runner disc integrated in the dial.
Without any real consequence in normal use, a brief decoupling of the mechanism is not conceivable on a diving watch for the obvious safety reason of the need to indicate to the wearer the precise duration of the time spent under water.
About Benoît Mintiens
Born in Belgium, Benoît Mintiens, our founder and creative mind, dreamed as a child to be a naval engineer but decided on a career as an industrial designer. He graduated in Industrial Design in Antwerp in 1998 and took up the position of Senior Consultant at Antwerp design firm Enthoven & Associates. While he was working there, he also gained his MBA at Vlerick Business School in 2003. He had a portfolio of designs to his credit – high-speed trains, aircraft cabins, medical devices, leather goods and even hunting guns before he ever designed a watch.
Benoît had always been attracted to the idea of creating a new kind of watch. Around 2004, a friend presented him with an opportunity to do just that when he asked him to create an original design for a men’s watch featuring as many diamonds as possible. Benoît chose to use diamonds for their functional attributes and in particular their refractive qualities. But while he was working on a prototype, another brand launched a model based on a similar idea to his own, and Benoît’s design was put on hold. His appetite for watch design had been whetted and in 2009 Benoît finished designing his first watch, which included RESSENCE’s now iconic patented rotating discs. Benoît’s approach to fine-watchmaking is entirely fresh and undeniably contemporary.
Meirbrug 1 – 2000 Antwerp