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New from Ressence, the ‘Type 1° Round’ ticks in time with your senses

Available from June 2023, the Belgian watchmaker has unveiled its new ‘Type 1’ — featuring a typically tactile, strikingly smooth design…

It’s been almost ten years since Ressence revealed its first line-up of ‘Type 1’ watches. The daring design spun onto the scene at BaselWorld 2014, where it wowed the watchmaking community and set a new standard for industry innovation. In recent years, Types 2, 3, 5 and 8 have all been buckled up — each model catching eyes and winning hearts with the brand’s trademark bi-dimensional design.

It’s a technology called ‘ROCS’ — or Ressence Orbital Convex System; a unique in-house horological unit developed and patented by brand founder Benoît Mintiens. The dial display, formed of several ever-changing sub-dials continually orbiting around one another, remains one of the most impressive, dynamic developments in all of modern horology. And it all started in earnest with those first Type 1 watches.

Since then, Mintiens has revisited his first, core style. The Belgian designer unveiled the cuff-friendly Type 1 Slim and the cushion-cased Type 1 Square — and each epitomised the minimalist, ergonomic ethos that makes Ressence tick. But his latest twist on the Type 1 is perhaps the most intuitive, comfortable and sensorial model yet; the Type 1° Round.

So what’s different this time? To increase the tactility of his latest timepiece (the hands-on aspect has always been a key focus of Ressence) Mintiens has created a rounder watch. But, before you compare this watch’s curves to those of the similarly styled Type 1 Slim, know that we’re not talking about the face-on case shape. Rather, we’re talking about its edges.

Because, if you look at this Ressence side-on, you’ll notice that, for the first time on a Type 1, the watch has a more natural, evenly rounded silhouette. The sapphire crystal and case seamlessly merge into one another, following one simple, sweeping and minimalist radius. It’s a similar style to that of the iconic ‘pebble-shaped’ Type 3 from Ressence — but even sleeker still.

And it’s this feeling — one of easy-going, free-flowing unity — that Ressence was reaching for. The Type 1° Round works in time with your senses; offering its wearer the purest expression of information because any barriers between you and the time have melted away. The result? A watch that is both satisfyingly unobtrusive on the wrist, and one that makes an ideal daily companion.

And that’s not all. Yet more changes have been made to this new release. The Type 1° Round will be available in two new colours; an inky black and a new shade of the existing ‘Night Blue’ — the latter being our favourite over here at Gentleman’s Journal. But that’s no wonder. Back in 2019, researchers at the University of Sussex discovered that dark blue is the world’s most relaxing colour — which makes this saturated shade the ideal choice for the new Ressence.

Because this choice, too, ties into the watch’s tactile, ergonomic abilities. While the sun-rayed silver metallic discs still manage to emphasise the movement of the dial — casting mesmerising reflections as they rotate — this blue hue turns timekeeping stresses on their head, and creates a more instinctive, intuitive environment in which to read the time.

To ease the eyes even further, the Type 1° Round has a graphically simplified dial — one only adorned with indexes every ten minutes, and a weekday dial that subtly indicates the weekend with a gentle splash of orange. The seconds and weekday hands are even slightly larger than they have been on past models — to improve legibility for the wearer.

But such human engineering has always been a hallmark of Ressence, a company that Mintiens started-up in 2010 after first training as an industrial designer. To devise the brand’s inaugural watch, he imagined a world without timepieces, and this led to several other intuitive innovations — including a caseback that doubles as a crown (another user-friendly flourish found on the Type 1° Round).

“It’s the latest iteration of our relentless research into essential, meaningful design,” explains Mintiens, who will be displaying this latest model at Watches & Wonders in Geneva from March 27th to April 5th. “This new watch feels in tune with Ressence’s design philosophy. Better design is less design, function must prevail”.

And prevail it has. Because, whilst other ‘Maisons’ engineer ever-thinner models or overcrowd their cases with elaborate, fruitless functions, Ressence has stayed true to its original mission; to tell the time in the most helpful, hands-on way. And we’re happy to report that, although this latest tactile timepiece has knocked off its corners, it still roundly, soundly ensures that Ressence maintains its watchmaking edge.

Want more from the watchmaker? Discover how Ressence is leading the watchmaking revolution…

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