One of the most intriguing watches we saw at SIHH last week was the Ressence Type 2 e-Crown Concept. Ressence has never been afraid to push boundaries with its watches, just take a look at the original Zero Series from 2011 that introduced the brand’s novel way of telling time to watch enthusiasts everywhere. What’s new with the e-Crown Concept, however, makes the time-telling discs from the Zero Series look like a Sega Dreamcast compared to an Xbox.
The e-Crown Concept introduces a new electronic system that enables the watch to automatically self-adjust to new time zones, the ability to set the watch from a smartphone, or, if not being worn and the power reserve gets low, the watch will go into “sleep mode” only to be reset as soon as it’s put back on the wrist. Bear in mind that this is still a mechanical watch so you can shut off the e-Crown whenever you would like. The technology here requires you to set the watch the first time you use it through the case back lever and then, as long as the e-Crown is active, you won’t have to adjust the watch again.
The e-Crown is activated and controlled through the watch’s crystal. Yes, similar to how you poke at your iPhone all day, the Ressence e-Crown is activated and reset through a tapping on the protective crystal. Overall, though, the watch uses kinetic energy — like a traditional mechanical watch — and, if necessary, photovoltaic energy to run. When required, triple-junction photovoltaic cells, hidden behind 10 micro-shutters on the dial, will use the outside light as an energy source. The advanced wristwatch also offers Bluetooth connectivity with your smartphone to enable additional time adjustment. Altogether, the watch has three modes of telling time. The “full e-Crown mode” which uses a smartphone to set the time, the “semi e-Crown mode” where your watch is set and adjusted by the minute, and the mechanical mode where the watch functions like a traditional wristwatch.
ROCS (Ressence Orbital Convex System), the module that allows the Ressence dial to be laid out in such a way and has been used in all previous Ressence watches, has been updated as well.The co-planar discs are now constructed from grade-5 titanium. All of these discs are now mounted on jewel micro-ball bearings for a slimmer dial and the gap between each disc has been reduced to create a more conscientious approach to timekeeping.
The e-Crown itself, however, is the true technical feat here. Comprised of 87 different components (the watch itself is made from over 500), the miniature electro-mechanical system only needs 1.8 joules of electricity per day to work properly. All the components were custom built for the brand and Ressence states that almost all of the miniature pieces meet aerospace or medical standards.
Thanks to Ressence, the future of timekeeping has taken another step further. Regardless of how cool and innovative this watch is, the one thing that we do have to question is the longevity of such technology. One of the problems many people have with more-traditional smartwatches (think of a company based out of Cupertino, CA) is that they quickly become outdated and need to be replaced. The e-Crown seems to circumpass that issue by its very nature as a mechanical watch, but what does that mean for the specific e-Crown system?
Like all Ressence watches, the e-Crown is very attractive and contemporary looking. With a flair for the avant-garde, it’s no real surprise that the brand is pushing forward into more tech-based initiatives, but it’ll be interesting to see where Ressence takes the e-Crown technology next.