Watch Of The Week: Ressence Type 1² X
What is it?
Why does it matter?
Ressence’s 10th anniversary has been so successful that it has actually spilled over into 2021 – when the Belgian brand was founded in 2010, I’m not sure Mr Benoît Mintiens, the product designer and genial genius behind the brand saw that coming. You can watch our interview with him from summer 2020 here, where we discussed how, among other things, the early years of Ressence nearly killed him. That’s not an exaggeration: he worked so hard to perfect the award-winning Type 3 that one night he fell asleep at the wheel. Now, 11 years after he began, his watches have made us think twice about how we approach telling the time.
If we set the Type 5X to one side, as a fascinating collaboration in its own right but something of a detour from Ressence’s usual project of simplifying timekeeping for all, a common thread runs through the 10th anniversary limited-edition watches (and indeed, through Ressence’s core collection as well). And on the face of it, it’s a concept somewhat at odds with the watch industry’s dedication to accuracy and precision: the idea that rough, at-a-glance, approximate timekeeping is actually pretty useful most of the time.
The Type 1 Slim X introduced a shaded dial with different finishes for day and night; a distinction so approximate we would barely call it timekeeping, its use as stylistic as it is functional. The Type 3X brought a high-contrast date display that was intended to deliver a rough read-out: if the contrasting marker appeared at three o’clock, we are roughly a quarter of the way through the month. Now, the Type 1² X introduces another finger-in-the air display, this time for the hours of the day.
Following research from Harvard professor of neuroscience Dr Christopher Harvey, which found that Ressence’s signature dial layout could actually be more intuitive than a standard watch, the brand reasoned that changes in colour could be at least as legible as the progress of hands around a dial, Ressence has designed a dial with 48 tiny ceramic beads (0.9mm in diameter), coloured yellow, blue, grey and black, and intended to show the time of day by reference to an innate, intuitive understanding that taps into timekeeping by the sun’s light alone. It doesn’t get much more primal and obvious than that.
Like the previous watches in the X collection, each of which has been limited to 40 pieces, the Type 1² X has an olive-green dial, this time with radial brushing on every subdial and the main dial, with contrasting shades of green for the minute markers. As with the other pieces, it uses an “X” – also designed to resemble an hourglass – at 10 o’clock on the hours subdial, and it comes on a leather strap with contrast stitches that match the dial colours.
The key details
Materials: Grade 5 Titanium
Power reserve: 36 hours