It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Belgian watchmaker Ressence and its dedication to slick engineering and creativity, evident in signature nested dials. (Heck, I lobbied to include the Type 1 in our holiday gift guide.) It's one of the few modern brands doing something truly innovative and unique with horology—something that could never have been done in the past.
To celebrate its fifth anniversary, Ressence has created a special edition of its signature product: the Type 1 Genesis.
Founder Benoît Mintiens's concept was to look back to the very first prototypes for inspiration, creating a Type 1 with parts as fresh as possible off the assembly line. No hand-finishing, no SuperLuminova filling in the numerals, no polished edges. It's meant to invoke the earliest successful Ressence experiments. Hence, the name Genesis.
In case you've forgotten how to read a Ressence, it's pretty straightforward. The long-hand shape marker on the main circular plate points to the minutes around the edge of the dial. As it rotates, so do the three disks inside. The disc marked 1-12 shows the hour, the disc with 12 indices shows seconds, and the disc with seven indices shows the days of the week. (Hollow for weekdays and double-engraved for weekends.)
It seems complicated. But after you wear one for a day or two, the process becomes as intuitive as reading a normal watch face. And seeing the entire watch face make a full rotation every hour never gets old.
Technically, the Type 1 Genesis is exactly the same as the standard Type 1 variations; it's the finishing that's different. While the Type 1 typically features a highly polished one-piece titanium case, the Genesis's case is totally matte and still shows the marks from the milling machine. The nickel silver dial has been sandblasted to a uniform finish and the hand-shaped markers galvanized for legibility, but the rest has been left alone. Without the glowing SuperLuminova filling them up, the numerals and markers offer incredible visual depth that gives the dial a notably different look from other models. Even the Barenia leather strap is untreated, so it will gather patina with age.
As so many brands are pushing to "add value" through high-end finishing, ornate engraving, and piles of gemstones (not always a bad thing), it's refreshing to see a brand take a special occasion as an opportunity to highlight the beauty of the engineering itself. The Genesis reminds the wearer that a mechanical watch is a piece of industrial artwork that is inextricably tied to the machines and minds that created it.
Let's just say I haven't wanted a watch this badly in a long time.
The Type 1 Genesis is a limited edition of only five pieces, priced at $27,600.
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