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My new Ressence Type 1s by Alain Silberstein

  1. R3D9 Jun 29, 2022

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    Last week I received what will likely be the coolest watch I'll ever own.

    Some may have seen the news of this release, but as Ressence is a relatively small independent brand, I wouldn't be surprised if most missed it.

    Here it is:

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    What you see above in the Ressence Type 1s Grail Watch edition.

    Wei Koh (Revolution Magazine) recently started a new company called Grail Watch. The purpose of the company is to match one watchmaker with one designer and have the two collaborate on a new timepiece.

    The first collaboration was between Ressence and Alain Silberstein and the result is what you see here in pictures.

    I’ve been waiting to see this watch in the metal ever since spotting Wei wearing one in videos during Watches & Wonders. I instantly recognized the watch on his wrist as a Ressence Type 1 slim, but it had a dial/colourway that I had never seen before.

    The design of the dial felt familiar, but I couldn’t quite say why… A closer inspection that involved screen captures and a lot of zooming and I knew what I was seeing… the dial was almost certainly designed by the inimitable Alain Silberstein.

    What was most interesting is that while the work was identifiable to anyone who was a fan of Silberstein, in some ways it was quite a departure from his usual work.

    To start with, there was that adorable (sorry, I can’t think of a better descriptor) representation of a skull where Ressence normally places the second hand. Then there was the hour hand… a beautifully rendered flower, with one wilting petal.

    This type of imagery was not something I was used to seeing in Silberstein’s work.

    So in a way, it was an unusual design from him, but the key to what makes Silberstein’s designs so unique is his playfulness. You simply can’t help but grin when you pick up one of his pieces in the metal.

    A serious artist who doesn’t take his work too seriously. This, I think, is a good way to describe Mr. Silberstein.

    In a video following the watch's release, Silberstein explained the meaning behind the design. He took inspiration from one of his favourite paintings, titled Momento Mori, which was pained in 1671 by a French artist named Phillipe de Champaigne:

    1174px-StillLifeWithASkull.jpg

    Momento Mori, roughly translated, means: remember you will die. The idea the artist was trying to communicate is that life is transitory and we should live each day with that reality in mind.

    In the still life painting above, you see a wilting tulip, a human skull and an hourglass used as symbols to remind the viewer that life is both finite and fleeting.

    As you can see in his design, Silberstein took the painting’s three objects and interpreted them in his famously whimsical style to what you see here... The wilting flower, the skull and the watch itself acting as the hourglass:

    IMG_1996 2.jpg


    For those not familiar with Ressence as a brand, they received acclaim a number of years back when they released their first watch, the Type 3, which was a regulator that had sub-dials and hands essentially "orbiting" the dial using something they call the Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS).

    The easiest way to explain how it works is to show you via video. Here is a time-lapse of my watch in action:

    https://imgur.com/a/r6ru5s8

    The watch is incredible in the metal. The case is titanium and, as the name suggests, extremely slim, so it wears compact and light, particularly for a 42mm (almost all-dial) timepiece.

    Things to know if you're considering a Ressence watch:

    - All of their watches make use of an ETA movement as a base caliber. Given the price point, this can and does put some people off. The brand itself and it's devotees note that the ETA movement is heavily modified and the modular ROCS system on top is composed of 107 additional parts. Here is an exploded image of the watch and all its parts:

    exploded-v3.png

    - despite the innovative design and the ETA 2892 inside the Type 1 being heavily modified, the watch makes a good amount of noise. There is more-than-usual (for a luxury brand's watch) rotor noise, and tapping on the watch produces an audible rattle, which I assume is related to the floating dial

    - setting the watch is a bit of a pain, but not nearly as difficult as I expected. That said, this is the watch that finally drove me to purchase a watch winder ;)

    - like most regulators, reading the dial takes a bit of practice, but after a few days it becomes second nature

    - the lume is positively epic:

    IMG_2112.JPG

    Anyways, if you got all the way to the end of this, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the post
     
    Edited Jun 29, 2022
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  2. NGO1 Jun 29, 2022

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    That's awesome. The best thing about this is no one can read the time, except its owner.
    Wrist shots please.
     
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  3. pmontoyap Jun 29, 2022

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    Great review and interesting watch. How many of these were made?
     
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  4. R3D9 Jun 29, 2022

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    Thank you very much! I believe there were 36 in total.
     
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  5. R3D9 Jun 29, 2022

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    Haha! Great point! Here’s a shot on my 7.25-7.5” wrist (it’s 4:19pm in this photo, by the way… the sundial with the yellow triangle is a day and AM/PM complication):

    B53D7346-34A1-4714-9A13-811BE8452EA1.jpeg

    This is not the OEM strap, by the way… I always like to keep the original strap unworn, so I had the Veblenist make me a custom strap that comes very close to the OEM one.
     
  6. NGO1 Jun 29, 2022

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    A colleague owns the oil filled version. It's strangely attractive. I can't put it down. What kind of power reserve you have on the Type1? I imagined it takes quite a lot more torque to rotate those massive disks vs. traditional needles.
     
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  7. R3D9 Jun 29, 2022

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    I tried the oil-filled one on a few weeks ago and wish I hadn’t as now I want that one as well

    The power reserve is only 36 hours. That plus the complex time-setting drove me to buy a dedicated watch winder for it.
     
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  8. NGO1 Jun 29, 2022

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    I hope Ressence goes the distance. It's unique for sure.
    Awesome piece. A work of art really.
     
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  9. savka Jun 29, 2022

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    Very cool (dibs!)
     
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  10. Larry S Color Commentator for the Hyperbole. Jun 29, 2022

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    Very fun. Watches should be fun. Congrats!
     
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  11. R3D9 Jun 29, 2022

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    Thanks Larry! This injected a tonne of fun into the watch box
     
  12. Charger_Vital Jul 6, 2022

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    Congrats and great choice.
     
  13. bassplayrr Jul 12, 2022

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    Beautiful watch, congratulations! I first learned of this brand just about a year ago (yeah, late to the party) but fell in love. I, just this past weekend, finally pulled the trigger on a Type 3.5B. I never though I’d use this word with any Ressence, but: mine now seems so pedestrian compared to yours! Yours is just incredible looking!
     
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  14. blufinz52 Hears dead people, not watch rotors. Jul 12, 2022

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    Wish I could afford a Type 3. Great watch. Thanks for the write-up. Well done :thumbsup:
     
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  15. johnireland Oct 3, 2022

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    To each his own. Not for me. I'd put it with the Richard Mille smiley face watch.
     
  16. NGO1 Oct 3, 2022

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    Why do people insist on telling everyone what doesn't interest them? Just don't comment.
    It's rude and pointless.
     
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  17. Evitzee Oct 3, 2022

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    Always interested in seeing a Silberstein. That's a very nice one, every Silberstein design has something interesting about it. Enjoy your new watch.

    I got my first Alain Silberstein back in 1992 in Cannes, France after I had seen it on the cover of a German wristwatch magazine, at the time he was essentially unknown. The Swiss always sniffed at Silberstein because he wasn't Swiss, so what could he possibly know. Anyway, I've got twelve Silberstein's from the 90's, plus a Silberstein wall clock that sits in my foyer and strikes once at each hour. He is way under appreciated for all of the ideas that he introduced that the Swiss thought were sacrilege, or impossible, like putting a PVD coating on the movement, case and bracelet, using diamonds on a steel watch, covering a watch case in rubber and leather, using cloissone to cover a curved watch surface, the use of bright blue, red and yellow as focal points, and more. Many people think they are cheap watches, cheaply made. Not so, they are very well designed and constructed using well finished Swiss movements.

    Here are a few of my Silbersteins. 1. Krono Noel 1993, 100 pc edition and COSC rated, I believe this was the first design made with a blacked out dial that eventually became popular decades later. 2. The 'Black Storm' chrono using a Frederic Piguet movement, cloisonne applied to bezel and case, and 3. A Kronomarine with 200m WR with matte PVD finish, screw down crown.
     
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  18. johnireland Oct 3, 2022

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    I disagree. The point of this forum is to politely express your opinion when things are presented.
     
  19. savka Oct 3, 2022

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    Is it? Where is that posted?
     
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  20. johnireland Oct 3, 2022

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    I think the proof is in the pudding. Members express their approval and disapproval of all sorts of watches...both vintage and new...old styles and new trends.