There’s plenty of chaff in the watch-news space (“Brand X Releases Same Old Watch, Now With a Blue Dial!” — sound familiar?) but far less wheat. Truly exciting horological developments, the kind that get everyone in the office furiously pinging one another from across the room with a frenzied “Have you seen this???” are rare. But with the news that Ressence’s Type 2 will go into production, we’re dealing with just that type of Really Big News announcement.
Ressence, perhaps the most futuristic of independent watchmakers, is finally bringing its e-Crown concept into the world by putting the Type 2, which incorporates the e-Crown tech, into development. We were so excited by the e-Crown concept at SIHH 2018 that we included the timepiece in our GP 100 roundup, our list of the 100 Best Products of the Year. Now that the Type 2 is going to be, you know, an actual thing, we can only think of one question: When do we get to play with it?
In case you missed the news cycle last year, here’s what’s so special about the Type 2, from our previous coverage:
“Like those GPS and radio-controlled quartz pieces, the new Type-2 e-Crown Concept can automatically set itself to the correct time, but it’s important to note that unlike those watches, the e-Crown doesn’t rely on outside signals. Instead, you set the time as you normally would, then the electro-mechanical system will use that time as a reference, then self-regulate. So when the watch stops running and you pick it up again, it will know what the correct time is, then automatically adjust when you tap the watch crystal. The watch can also connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, meaning users can adjust time zones via an app when traveling. While the electric components in the watch rely on a battery, they’re able to be juiced up via solar charging, so there’s no need for battery changes or a charging cable.”
Ressence is the brainchild of founder Benoît Mintiens, and the company employs the seemingly endless intellectual power of Tody Fadell, the brain behind both the iPod and Nest. Only Ressence, with its incredible level of engineering and technical talent, could turn technology as radical as the e-Crown concept—possibly the most significant change in timekeeping technology in the past century—into an actual, wearable watch. Of course, whether this particular marriage of mechanical watch movement and smart technology actually signals the broader future of watchmaking remains to be seen (as with all bleeding-edge tech, it remains incredibly expensive to produce in these early days), but the more important takeaway is that steps in a truly new direction are finally being taken. This is real innovation and bold risk-taking, and it’s exciting to see.
To wit: when a prototype version of the e-Crown Concept hit the office last year, it drew no shortage of gawkers staring, prodding, and examining it like the watch was some alien technology sent back from the future. No one could quite believe that it was real, that it worked, but there it was, right in front of us. Now, having worked out some of the last design quirks, the Ressence Type 2 with e-Crown technology will finally be available for purchase to the general public (read: the general public with $48,800 to spare), proving that Ressence wasn’t just talking a big game, but is ready to stand behind its designs and bring the future into the present, for everyone to marvel at and enjoy.
Availability: April, 2019
Dial Colors: Grey (Type 2G) or anthracite (Type 2A)
Lume: Super-LumiNova on indices, markings and hands
Case Diameter: 45mm
Case Depth: 12mm
Water Resistance: 1 ATM
Movement: Customized ETA 2892/A with ROCS 2 system and e-Crown