Earlier this year, we managed to get our hands on the Ressence Type 3BB. I think it is sufficing to say that Ressence is perhaps one of, if not the, most ground-breaking horological marvels of the 21st century. While it is obvious one cannot reinvent the wheel, you could say what Ressence have done is reinterpret the way it rotates. They’ve managed to create something entirely different that appears more ornate than it actually is. Today we have a look at the new Type 5B & 5BB that are arguably, the most legible mechanical dive watches to date.
Firstly, you’ll notice that while the Type 5 doesn’t look like the kind of watch you are familiar too, it perhaps has more of an organic look and feel of a watch than any of their previous models. For instance, if you look at the Type 3BB we looked at earlier this year it doesn’t possess any of the design traits you’d associate with a watch. Whereas this new Type 5 for 1) has familiar lines and shape of a watch you are perhaps more used to seeing with proper lugs and 2) features a rotating diver’s bezel. Founder and designer of Ressence, Benoît Mintiens says that “with the Type 5, they feel they’ve closed a virtuous circle, combining technological refinement, industrial design and fine watchmaking. This new creation, graphically provides improved readability and is the ideal timepiece for the gentleman diver, whether he’s in the water or around town.”
Without doubt, it is immediately obvious that the Type 5 is based on the Type 3. It undoubtedly still makes use of Ressence signature “Beyond Hands” innovative dial display system, which uses a combination of magnets and an oil filled chamber. Composed of two separate chambers, located in the front and the back that is held together by a titanium spine in the middle. But, the party piece here in the new Type 5 is of course its unrivalled legibility under water. The dial, which is floating in oil makes the Type 5 easy to read from any angle underwater. The same cannot be said for many other diving wristwatches; crystal at angles creates a mirror like reflection making them impossible to read.
The dial of the Type 5, isn’t too dissimilar from the Type 3BB we looked at earlier this year, displaying hours and minutes, as well as temperature gauge and the “runner” display. The dial sits beneath the oil and the sapphire domed crystal, which creates an illusion, making the dial and the crystal appear as one. Ressence’s signature dial with no hands (that in full is called the Ressence Orbital Convex System, or in short ROCS) makes use of an extremely bright blue lume and with the Type 5 being a dive watch, this is of course advantageous to the wearer.
While the oil is not compressible, it naturally has a tendency to expand and contract as and when the temperature changes. To compensate for this the Type 5 also makes use of internal bellows. However, we did notice when we had the Type 3BB for a few weeks that at the high and low-end of the temperature range, a bubble may appear as it expands and contracts and things are no different with the Type 5 – though this is merely a temporary aesthetical appearance. Due to the mentioned sensitivity of the oil, the Type 5 makes use of a temperature gauge that tells the user whether the watch is too cold or too hot, easily communicated through the use of red and blue in the sub dial.
On the back of the Type 5, you will see a simple time setting mechanism that is locked and unlocked via a switch on the side of the case. Like the Type 3, in the movement chamber of the new Type 5, is a heavily modified ETA 2824-2 ébauche to be specific, which is impressive to say the least. But one thing that I must add, having handled both the Type 3 and Type 5, it is suffice to say the latter is far easier to set and wind.
The Type 5 measures 46 mm in diameter, which may sound quite large but it somehow manages to wear a lot smaller than this, due to the recessed case back and its large, almost pebble like display. This makes the watch feel really natural on the wrist, plus the PVD coated grade 5 titanium affords a particular lightness, perhaps more associated with a much smaller watch.
While the new Type 5 isn’t cheap (£26,500) it is perhaps one of the most innovative timepieces on the watch market today. It’s unapologetically bold, yet restraint and most of all, original, which is something you can’t say about a lot wristwatches today and for that, I can’t help but love this little independent watch brand from Belgium.
For more information on the new Type 5, visit the official Ressence website.