For a decade now, Ressence has been putting a new spin on how its customers read the time.
For the 10th anniversary of its Type 1 model, the Belgian watch brand has brought pops of color to a 212-component mechanical timepiece that looks as deceptively simple as a smartwatch.
It is also an upbeat outcome for a failed artistic collaboration.
“The concept turned out to be so expensive, we could never have produced more than one,” said Benoît Mintiens, 51, the founder, designer and owner of Ressence, who declined to name the artist who created the initial concept for the 10th anniversary model for legal reasons. “It was frustrating, but we still wanted to convey something joyful and less serious.”
Since the company recently turned 13 years old — Mr. Mintiens created the company’s first prototype in 2010 — he said, “we figured we’d do what teenagers do, which is try to express themselves through personality and clothes. This is our way of doing that.”
Graphics aside, Ressence has upended many conventions of watchmaking, high-end or otherwise. Its titanium cases do not have a crown; the winding mechanism is part of a rotating case back. And its dials do not have hands, at least not the usual kind. Instead, two-dimensional dials fit together, with hands and indexes lasered onto discs that revolve and rotate. The brand calls this whole display mechanism the Ressence Orbital Convex System, or ROCS.