Ressence has for some time now been one of my favourite watch brands. Founded in 2010 the Belgian watch brand has managed to grasp my attention through its unique way to tell time. Whats more though they have managed to retain my interest by continuously innovating their products to become more and more user-friendly through each iteration.
Their latest novelty, however, puts them into a league of their own and is without a doubt one of my picks for the hottest attraction of this year’s SIHH. What I am talking about here is the new e-crown system, a concept that shows the path the brand wishes to take.
What is the e-crown system? In my eyes, it has the potential to be the very first of a new wave of watches not dependent or in combat with modern technology but complemented by it in an innovative nature last seen by the spring drive technology from Seiko. The idea is simple, an automated mechanism for setting the time on the mechanical watch, what makes it so clever though is its implementation.
The first thing I feared when reading this announcement was that the electrical system requires a separate charging system, like for example with the Breitling Emergency. Instead, it has two different sources of energy, first of all, a kinetic rotor separate from the one for the mechanical movement, and secondly photovoltaic cells hidden behind the dial.
So what can it do? Well, first of all when you set the time manually the chip will remember this as a reference time to go back to. Alternatively, you can set it from your smartphone through the convenience of Bluetooth. If you do not wear the watch for a while and it stops, the chip will go to sleep only to reactivate as soon as you want it to, similar to the F.P. Journe Elegante. And as if all this could not be cooler, it is also able to register different timezones to which it adjusts automatically.
So how do you use it? You tap twice on the crystal, that’s all. And this is really where it comes all together. A lot of technologies seem great until you notice they are just too cumbersome for mainstream adaption. While it may not necessarily be exactly this technology that will shape this feature, the Ressence e-crown does give us a taste of what we can be expect about the future of watchmaking.