You know those damn places where you feel incredibly uncool and out of place. Those places where you sit with a beer in hand, quietly regretting not being pursued into buying those high top trainers. Frustrated at not being able to grow that beard you promised all your mates you would. And kicking yourself for not getting that full sleeve tattoo you thought looked cool on that advert but instead got your girlfriend’s name on the inside of your wrist because she forced you? Which is of little consolation given that no one knows this, or cares and you can’t be bothered to explain it for the 15,200th time. One of those places is London’s Shoreditch. It’s sort our version of New York’s Williamsburg. Think great independent coffee breweries, hipster barbers, tattoo parlors, graffiti on the walls, craft beer and free-spirited thinking.

Living in London, the question has always been: how did this place suddenly go from backwater to uber trendy? I’ve thought about it, and I reckon it’s because for a number of years, Shoreditch had this fun-loving party scene, which erupted around it almost spontaneously.

As a result, it attracted the attention of the media.  It got cool without trying — by far the coolest way to get cool. People were experimenting in every way. With music, drugs and clothes which created a carefree lifestyle that others quickly wanted in on.

Jonny Woo the drag queen and comedian put it like this, “Shoreditch and Hackney were pretty much off the map by the end of the 80s and early 90s. The rest of London ignored it, the rest of the world certainly didn’t know about it, but now we’ve had the Olympics and music events, the whole world is talking about Hackney.”

So who cares? Well here’s the deal — I recently had the chance to spend some time with one of the coolest watches on the market, the RESSENCE Type 5. The Type 5 is mad. But in a good way…

There aren’t many watch brands who have genuinely looked to change the way things have always been done. RESSENCE have. And this attitude of theirs isn’t limited to the Type 5 alone. They have two other models in the range, their Type 1 and 3, which both share this fascinating DNA. Their sub-dials continually circle the dial — as does the main disc into which they are set — very much like moons in orbit around a planet. This means the watch is uncluttered despite the ever-changing layout. In the same way RESSENCE are an example of a brand thinking differently, I thought it would only be right to take The Type 5 out and about to an area of London that is similarly known for its open mindedness and creativity.

Mr. Benoît Mintiens, an industrial designer is the man behind the magic taking place at RESSENCE.  Do not, whatever you do, assume that because of the subdued exterior of the RESSENCE DNA that this in any way reflects the complexities that lie within.

Their so-called ROCS 5 system is comprised of 142 components. The ROCS 5 system is the patented movement set up driven by a minute axle of a customized self-winding 2824/2 base calibre. It is a module composed of the main and sub-discs ,which result in a 3D dial. These are always in motion and ever changing. But here’s the twist. The dial is immersed in 37.5ml of oil, which results in a number of benefits.

The first is that it cancels out what is known as Total Internal Reflection. Until now, a diver needed to view his watch straight on in order to be able to read it properly, as refraction turns the glass into a mirror. However, the use of oil in the Type 5 ensures complete legibility whatever the angle of viewing may be. This is the first time a mechanical watch can boast such an attribute. A second benefit is that because the components are constantly lubricated in the oil in which they are suspended, they are lighter and hence require less power to move, which in turn improves chronometry.

You may have noticed the TYPE 5 actually doesn’t have a crown. This is because the case-back is used both for winding and setting the time of the watch. To ensure water resistance, the Ressence Compression Lock System, or RCLS , has a mechanism for the locking and compression of the gasket, with two positions, ‘lock’ and ‘set’. When RESSENCE say that nature has inspired the design of the Type 5 I am inclined to believe them. I looked long and hard at the Type 5 I had on hand and the more I looked, the more I saw a mushroom bulb or a turtle shell. With its curved case, it almost felt as if it was something that had organically grown on my wrist and latched on. Bizarrely, I kind of liked the thought of it.

I’ve got to say, I just didn’t want to take this thing off my wrist. Its shape and weight made it incredibly easy to strap on every morning. The 46mm case, made of grade 5 titanium, made it incredibly lightweight (only 87grams) and therefore extremely comfortable to wear.

The result is a watch that is both ergonomic and considerably lighter than any traditional diver’s watch I’ve ever had the pleasure of strapping on. One way I measure a watch is by how quickly I slot into that subconscious process of just putting it on first thing in the morning.

It is also worth noting that I’ve not worn a watch in a long while that has evoked such vivid responses from passers by. I was in Paris for an event the week before, and I must’ve had 5 different people ask to take a photo (of the watch — not me, thankfully). Some were fascinated by how it worked, some by its deep technical complexity despite its ‘basic’ design.

Love it or otherwise, we can only but applaud RESSENCE for their innovation and willingness to think differently. And you know what, the Type 5 stands for something. And I love that. One thing is for sure, when you spot a RESSENCE in the wild — you can walk away having no doubt that you’ve just spotted a RESSENCE.

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