The brainchild of industrial designer Benoit Mintiens, of Antwerp in Belgium. Mr.Mintiens has acheived multiple higher Masters degrees of education (in Industrial Design and Business Administration).Benoit, has spent the bulk of his professional career as a consultant in Industrial Design. You say, what does that have to do with watchmaking? A pertinent question and the answer is inspiring. It’s inspiring because the real answer is there is typically not room for an industrial designer, persay, in traditional Swiss watchmaking circles. However, Benoit is not Swiss, he’s Belgian and he’s coming to the world of watchmaking after a long consideration and analysis of the traditional, analog, mechanical wristwatch. As an Industrial Designer, Benoit does not feel confined to the traditional view of what a mechanical watch should look like or how it should function. So, Benoit takes an objective approach of, “How do I optimize the format of an ananlog maechanical watch?” At that point, Benoit continues to digress from traditional watchmaking and deconstructs the watch to it’s root elements. From, there the idea of reading time is re-configured in an ingeneous and wonderful mechanical illusion that’s seamless. Literally, seamless. Benoit has looked at the design of the watch from a holistic view. Meaning, the mechanical aspect, ergonomics and aesthetics are all of equal value in the overall finished product. Benoit says, “The mindset of an industrial designer is to adopt a methodology that guarantees a holistic approach considering the end user as the ultimate evaluation criteria.
Benoit Mintiens made a keen observation via study. The origin of the dial concept has been the observation that reading time on hand dials, when trained, is faster than reading digits. The human brain has developed cognitive paterns that translate an image projected by the position of the hands into time conception. This knowledge has become universal. Even more than for languages, reading time with hands has become a ‘world knowledge heritage’
Now, what is the result? A wonder. Really, a technical and aesthetic wonder. The 42mm case is at once chic and organic. Unique, convex sapphire lenses are flush mounted to the watchcase producing a seamless smooth object (that happens to be a wristwatch). The feel is completely smooth with portions of the case being functional for setting and winding, vs. a tradional winding crown. The result, an uber streamlined and stylish watch that is smooth to the touch from every hold….”like a pebble or river stone.”The dial looks complicated at first glance, yet is very instantly intuitive as one becomes familiar with their new timepiece. The orbital time telling with small inset dials turning simultaneously with the primary “mother dial”. The “Mother dial” moves inside of a 60 minute chapter/index ring and the mother dial features a minute hand in appliqué. Inset on the “mother dial” are three small sub-dials that also turn orbitally with the “mother dial”. The sud-dials feature seconds index , hours index and day of the week.
Benoit has choosen the look of a vintage “wire” lug which acheives a very classic and functional aesthetic at once. The straps are designed and made especially for the Ressence lugs. The look is whole with every thought, dedicated to every detail. The watch is available with 5 different colorations/tints of “dials” that are all acheived in very small numbers.
Benoit encapsulates the esscence of Ressence, the brand name.
“The name RESSENCE is a neologism assimilating the words renaissance and essence.
Renaissance stands for the rebirth of what is essential to a watch, to display time.
RESSENCE brings a contemporary evolution of time representation using the same
universal cognitive patterns learned to read time on a traditional watch.”
…and the logo/symbol of the “Hand”.
“The logo of RESSENCE represents a universal symbol of humanism, the hand.
The hand is oriented horizonally; like a hand that is reaching out. The watch asÂ a product is sending out a strong message about the mindset of the owner.
The hand is also the icon of the world harbour city Antwerp, the origin of RESSENCE. Â According to ancient tales, Antwerpen would be a neologism of ANT and WERPEN. Â ANT would come for hand and WERPEN means throwing in dutch. The legend saysÂ that 3000 years ago their was a giant called Druon Antigoon. He was so tall thatÂ he would stand with one foot on every bank of the river Scheldt. Sailors and merchantsÂ had no other choice than to give money to be allowed to navigate …
On a product level, a RESSENCE dial has given a contemorary interpretation of
what has alway been considered as a dogma is watchmaking, the hands of the dial.”
Enough said. Personally, I am having trouble deciding which “Type” is my Type! I love them all!
I wish every collector could have the opportunity to meet Benoit and listen to his outlooks on design and some of the Industrial Design projects he’s wroked on and is working on. Benoit is a very interesting and independent person and thinker! You can’t help but to be intriguiged by his swagger and courage to be original. I admire that spirit to innovate, ALWAYS!
On his Ressence website Benoit cites his values for design in the philosophy of Leonardo da Vinci, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
$USD MSRP Type 1 models (2014 , 250 watch edition)
$20,600, first deliveries in June 2014.
The Essence of Ressence
Type 1003 , hands on by Hodinkee