It was in only 2010 that Benoît Mintiens founded Ressence Watches, but in just seven years the company has already had a massive impact on the high-end watch market. Compared by some to Apple for their combination of simplicity and functionality, their innovative approach to design has brought a freshness to an often archaic arena and has won them numerous awards, such as the Horological Revelation Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneva.
To understand the very core of what Ressence are about, you need look no further than their brand name. It combines the French words ‘renaissance’ and ‘essence’ to represent what they strive for as a company: The rebirth of what is essential to a watch; ‘to express time in the purest possible way’.
This emphasis on essence and purity is not just in their branding, but is right at the heart of their product. Rather than use hands, their watches have dials that revolve in relation to one another, behaving like moons around a planet, changing continuously – just like the essence of time.
Also at the heart of their product is innovation. Prior to watchmaking Mintiens was an industrial designer, giving the company a hyper-scientific, technologically advanced foundation. And their designs have made waves for their inventive new technologies, from their crownless case-backs to their completely original oil-filled faces to their E-Crown automated setting technology. They have been followed keenly in the watch industry and praised across the board for pushing boundaries and igniting the market.
Within their branding their constant use of the word ‘Beyond’ (‘Beyond Hands, ‘Beyond Industrial Design’, ‘Beyond Fine-Watchmaking’), mirrors this essence of innovation. But it also has a twofold effect. Much like the way their watches are designed in Antwerp yet made in Switzerland (watch country), they highlight an intimate connection here to the traditions of fine-watchmaking, and the skills that have been passed down, while simultaneously untethering themselves from it. They have learnt from tradition, but they have moved beyond it.
Ressence are an interesting company to watch. Not just to see which boundaries they try to push with their next design, but to see in what direction they may push the watch industry as a whole.
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Picture credit: © Ressence