Our first acquaintance with Ressence came in the early part of last decade, when the young upstart produced the now iconic Type 3. The Type 3, even in today’s age, still looks extremely modern and refreshing. Imagine how amazed we were when we first saw the timepiece a decade ago.
That was also perhaps the time when Ressence was introduced to the wider horological world. Here, we have an incredible brand – helmed by the equally brilliant Benoît Mintiens – who is breaking the rules in watchmaking with an aim to produce highly creative and original timepieces with technological innovations. That certainly attracted the attention of many collectors.
Review: Ressence Type 8
The new Ressence Type 8 retails at CHF 12,500 (approximately S$19,140).
Introduced in the earlier part of 2022, the Type 8 is one of the latest additions to the impressive Ressence family. The Type 8 is the entry-level model of the Antwerp-based independent watch manufacturer, and it aims to make its watches more accessible to a wider range of collectors without compromising on its ethos and the creative aspects that are often associated with the brand.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
The Ressence Type 8 measures 42.9mm in diameter, and it is constructed with a rather well-engineered and hardy Grade 5 titanium case.
On paper, the watch might sound rather large. However, it is not the case once the watch is worn on the wrist itself. The size of the watch is mitigated by the lack of a crown, as well as the lugs. The latter especially helps with the ergonomics on the wrist, as its design allows the strap to wrap around the wrist seamlessly. This is despite the fact that the author has a relatively smaller wrist, with a circumference of around 6.5 inches. Its design, together with its super light-weight titanium case (which weighs a mere 42 grams inclusive of the strap), certainly makes the Type 8 a very comfortable watch to wear on the wrist. It might sound that we are exaggerating, but on certain occasions, it does feel as though we are not wearing anything on the wrist. It is indeed that light and comfortable.
The design language of the Type 8 follows the DNA of the brand. It is ultra-modern and contemporary, with a minimalist approach. However, that does not mean that the Type 8 is a plain and simple timepiece. In fact, it is far from it.
For starters, the watch features a thin but beautifully polished bezel. This contrasts with the mid-case, which features a stain-brushed finish. For those who have had the experience of working with titanium, one would know that it is not exactly an easy task to achieve this sort of result.
The next, and perhaps one of the highlights of most Ressence timepieces, is its domed sapphire crystal. Unlike most watches, the domed sapphire crystal on the Type 8 (or perhaps, a majority of Ressence’s watches) is highly exaggerated. This creates a rather interesting look, and it further reinforces the contemporary theme of the timepiece. One main drawback, which we had experienced, is that the domed sapphire crystal makes it extremely difficult to capture the timepiece without interference from the reflections of the surrounding environment. The other slight issue is that one has to be extremely careful whilst wearing the timepiece to protect the sapphire crystal, although it can be argued that this is a result of wearing a relatively pricey five-figure timepiece that does not belong to us.
Then, we address the elephant in the room: Where is the crown? The Type 8 – as with most Ressence watches – does not have a traditional watch crown, which also means that the watch is able to maintain its seamless and sleek look without having a crown to interfere with the flow of the design. It also further reinforces the contemporary note of the watch, and this is perhaps something that very few manufacturers have explored. The Ulysse Nardin Freak is perhaps one of the very few watches that is also devoid of the traditional crown.
Then, we move on to the dial of the Type 8. The dial is perhaps the main attraction of this timepiece. Available in either Cobalt Blue (as pictured above) or Sage Green, the sophisticated-looking convex dial is crafted from Grade 5 titanium and features a textured surface. The dial also features the brand’s signature eccentric satellites to display the time, in a style that is not dissimilar to a regulator watch.
For the Type 8, it is a simple two-hand watch, with the time denoted by the two long batons on the dial. The larger baton indicates the minute, while the smaller one indicates the hour. Notably, the hour indicator is encapsulated in a sub-dial, and the sub-dial – together with the minute hand – completes a revolution every 60 minutes. The animation is cool, and the differing layout at different timings certainly enliven the Type 8 to a certain degree.
The engraved indices and hands are filled with SuperLuminova, which works well under low-light conditions. Although the lume of the Type 8 looks great, the watch certainly looks best when it is viewed as an entire package – where the modern architecture of the case blends in beautifully with the minimalistic-looking dial and the domed sapphire crystal.
Overall, the architecture of the Type 8 is amazing. Despite being the entry-level Ressence timepiece, it does stack up against some of the more complicated and pricier models. Maybe it is the minimalistic nature of the watch, but the design elements and contemporary nature certainly stood out. It just has the ability to look uber-cool, without needing much effort.
The Movement: ROCS 8
Powering the Type 8 is the humble ETA 2892/2 Calibre. However, this is no ordinary ETA 2892/2 – it features the brand’s patented Ressence Orbital Convex System (“ROCS”) 8. The ROCS is an in-house three-dimensional module that allows the brand to display time the way it does. Using a series of eccentric axles and gearing system, this allows the sub-dials to rotate along with the main dial – resulting in the uniquely Ressence way of telling time.
Notably, the self-winding movement beats at 28,800 bph and has a power reserve of approximately 36 hours. As the watch does not feature a crown, the winding and setting of time is all done via the caseback of the timepiece. Admittedly, it is not the easiest timepiece to wind or set the time – a sizeable amount of force was exerted on the caseback in order to turn it. A lever, similar to the one used by the Type 1², would have been a much better option.
In terms of finishing, we were unable to ascertain the various cosmetic work that was done to the movement. Then again, that is not the main point of the timepiece. Ressence focuses largely on the technical aspects of the timepiece, and that in itself is a compelling selling point in our books.
Despite being a seemingly simple time-only watch, the sleek and hyper-modern Ressence Type 8 is considered to be in a league of its own. There are really not many timepieces out there that are as original as Ressence’s watches, and it is indeed incredible how the Antwerp-based brand is still able to make a two-hand timepiece so original and refreshing. Brilliant!
The price point, remarkably, is also hard to beat. At CHF 12,500 (approximately S$19,140), there are few timepieces – especially in the independent watchmaking category – that can match what Ressence has to offer. Yes, it is not exactly an inexpensive timepiece, but if one is looking to pay a princely five-figure sum for a fancy timepiece, the Type 8 can be reasonably considered as a timepiece with a relatively interesting value proposition.
Sure, not everyone gets the Type 8 – or even the brand. We understand. Ressence, to some, is the new kid in town. The watches may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially for the more conservative and traditional individuals. For collectors who take comfort from brand equity and a sense of familiarity, we will honestly advise one against getting the Type 8.
But for those who get it – the Ressence Type 8 is a rather special watch indeed.