In the past years we have noticed a growing impact of smartwatch technologies amongst the traditional mechanical watch brands. It actually all started with smart electronic technology from commercial brands, but with this trend the traditional brands have been under pressure to deliver new innovative systems paired with their traditional way of watchmaking. A small independent watchmaker from Belgium will certainly raise attention with their new Type 2 e-Crown concept watch at SIHH watch fair 2018.
For the first time a brand has paired a mechanical movement with an electronic module that has a direct impact on the accuracy of the watch. This electronic system sits between the mechanical movement and the ROCS (Ressence Orbital Convex System) display. A Ressence own technology replacing the traditional dial (and bezel) with the time displays (hour, minutes, seconds) to rotate in an orbital like way and being convex allowing readability from unexpected angles. Who has not seen this before, it is really spectacular and worth watching.
This Type 2 watch system has been introduced by Ressence a few years ago. At SIHH 2018 the brand will reveal their new e-Crown technology. This electronic module is connected to the mechanical movement and kind of monitors the time and accuracy. Whenever the power reserve is wound down, the electronic system will start to reset the time. And all without battery. Besides the rotor, which is wound up by kinetic energy from the wearer, the second power source comes from 10 photovoltaic cells hidden behind the ROCS display (inside the e-Crown module). So when the power reserve runs low, 10 little shutters placed on the ROCS display open up to let the cells gather sunlight for energy.
This can all be done manually, just like the good old traditional way, or by a smartphone App monitoring all functions and starting automatically when power threatens to fall low. The e-Crown system also self-adjust to two new timezones when travelling.
The whole system of Ressence watches is based on the lack of a traditional crown. All settings are controlled by turning the stand-alone caseback of the watch, or by using the dedicated App. The Type 2 e-Crown watch is produced from 500 components, which are mostly made of Grade 5 Titanium. According to the brand it will be on sale by mid-2018 so this innovation seems not to be a futuristic fantasy but reality.
We are very curious how this technology will have an impact on the ‘technical revolution’ within mechanical watches, which without doubt is in transition. It is certainly not about replacing mechanical movement timepieces but adopting them to a much faster moving world where time becomes even more precious. And secondly, technological process has always been something that humans strive for and which stimulates the consume-business.