Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg

This Wild, Oil-Filled Mechanical Watch Is Only for the U.S.

The Ressence Type 3 gets a patriotic makeover

The Ressence Type 3 is a watch made for mad scientists.

Or maybe it's for those who can't decide whether they're more excited about the latest smartphone or a retro steam engine. It uses magnets to rotate discs in an oil-filled chamber—yes, you read that right—to indicate the time, date, day of the week, and even the internal temperature of the watch itself. (You read that last bit right, too.)

Unlike the Type 1 Genesis, which is meant to look raw and unfinished, the Type 3 is all about polish. That oil (technically a naphtha-type liquid hydrocarbon) serves an important purpose: By sitting between the rotating dial discs and the domed crystal, it acts like a lens, projecting the markings and giving the illusion that they're painted right on its surface. Unless you really squint, you can't even see the edges of the various black discs, completing the effect.

This made the Type 3 the winner of the first "Best Horological Revelation" award at the 2013 Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève, given to the top creation from a young watchmaker. 

The Type 3 is easier to wear than you'd think.
The Type 3 is easier to wear than you'd think.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg

Utilizing the edges of the larger 44mm size, the Type 3 has a date ring around the edge of the dial that rotates, lining up the current date with the blue arrow at the bottom. There's also a totally mechanical gauge that tracks the internal temperature, indicating whether the watch is too hot or cold, both of which negatively affect the oil inside. 

This engineering is right in line with the most currently available Type 3 around the world—so what makes this one unique for the U.S. market?

Of its few limited-edition traits, most significantly it's the first Ressence to feature a black case. Because of the large domes on the front and back, you can see only a sliver of matte black titanium between the two as well as the integrated lugs holding the strap.

There is also a new red, white, and blue color scheme subtle enough that people probably won't pick up on it unless you tell them. The icy blue is really incredible and very easy to read against the inky black background.

The body is two domes joined on a black titanium center plate.
The body is two domes joined on a black titanium center plate.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg

From top to bottom, the Type 3 is a wild watch.

The movement is totally sealed in the bottom dome to protect it from the liquid that fills the top portion. To move the discs, magnets mounted on gears exert their force through the thin titanium center section, never actually touching the components above. Also, you'll notice there's no crown or stem of any kind; to set the watch, you rotate the entire back dome. There's even a gravity-activated clutch that allows the rotation to set different functions when the watch is upright vs. upside down. Like I said, wild.

The color scheme is unique to this limited edition.
The color scheme is unique to this limited edition.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg

If this bizarre, beautiful feat of engineering excites you, act fast—the six special-edition pieces are pretty much all spoken for, even with a $42,200 price tag. Contact your favorite Ressence U.S. retailer to test your luck.

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