The main thing about a watch category named “Gateway Drug” is that it makes you climb into the mindset of someone who doesn’t yet love watches. As far as I’m concerned, this is the watch that — if I wasn’t already completely idiotic about mechanical watches — would get me started on this ruinous path to mental and financial perdition.
The Ressence watches, with their unique revolving dials, have continually savaged the boundaries of my focus ever since I got to know about them in 2012. (It was the last day of Baselworld, I’d probably visited close to a hundred brands before I finally staggered into the Palace exhibition space, Ressence founder Benoît Mintiens had probably spoken to a thousand journalists before I popped up before him, caffeine-laced and glassy-eyed. The level of conversation that ensued was more or less around 10 percent of what the watch really deserved.)
Aesthetically, the design of the watch — clean, minimalist, kinda Bauhaus — is extremely on trend. It’s like when iOS 7 debuted and flat design, although it’d been around for a while, suddenly became the new thing.
Tactility-wise, the Ressence Type 5 dive watch is gorgeous and inviting. Its combined surfaces, fluidly wrapped around three dimensions, are organic and pebble-like. Perfect for moving through the water, all streamlined and shit.
The dial design has also been tweaked for visibility underwater (although let’s face it, my profound appreciation for this watch has nothing to do with its admittedly cool and utilitarian sports function). The strokes and lines of the markers are heavier, further standing out against the inky dial, and the bright injections of colour are delightfully substantial.
Little design details that I love — the jaunty 4, the incomplete loop of the 6 and the 9.
The technical side of things is beautifully executed as well. Building on the success of the Ressence Type 3’s oil-flooded dial and display module, the Type 5 uses the same system to withstand water pressure so that its upper half looks as lithe and as native to the water as a sleek, dark porpoise, in direct contrast with other dive watches, with their aggressive metal exoskeletons.
As someone who’s interested in tech, in design, in mechanical systems and innovation, the Ressence Type 5 draws me in like a new 1989 video draws Swifties. (That’s my attempt at being relevant in the 21st century — my first instinct was “post-commencement party” and “Mrs Robinson”, because that’s how dated my cultural references usually are.)
As someone who’s interested in all the above and watches, the Ressence Type 5 exerts an inexorable and unwavering allure.