time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness

time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness

Benoît Mintiens tells the story of ressence watches

 

Founded in 2010 by Benoît Mintiens, Ressence is on its mission to design watches that awaken senses and provoke wonder. Whilst on this quest to make timepieces even more timeless, the products of the Belgian brand might appear to throw the spanner into the works of the traditional industry – just see the minimal yet domed TYPE 8 or a TYPE 1 with a dial decorated as if a 1646 painting, for example – but the Innovation of Ressence’s watches is a consequence of a meticulous removal of any non-essential part and dimension of the watch. It is the quest of the purest expression of time. The eye-catching designs pair modern performances with modern aesthetics.

 

Ressence is a good example of bold choices. The fine watchmaking industry favors evolution over radical innovation. This, in turn, limits creativity. In comparison, we enjoy complete freedom at Ressence,’ explains Benoît Mintiens, founder and designer of Ressence, in conversation with designboom.

time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness

 

time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness
Ressence TYPE 1 REV grail watch draws inspiration from Philippe de Champaigne’s 1646 ‘Vanitas’ painting

Read more about this project on designboom here

 

 

I did not know that industrial design could be a job when I was young; that one could make a living out of it,’ says Benoît.

 

At the age of 18, Benoît looked to combine his two interests at the time – industrial design and sailing. He was training to be a naval engineer until his Dad told him that it was possible to study design. After five years of studying industrial design in Antwerp, a successful graduation and an internship in a famous Belgian design consultancy (Yellow Window formerly known as Enthoven Associates), Benoît was hired as one of the designers at the agency.

time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness

 

time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness
Ressence is on its mission to design watches that awaken senses and provoke wonder

 

 

In design studios, creatives work on a wide variety of products, businesses and technologies, turning one into a specialized generalist where marketing, finance, production and, most importantly, human factors are disciplines that feed the daily routine. These parameters – or engines, as Benoît calls it – enabled him to take-off and fly his own business at Ressence.

 

Good designers are taught to think of holistic environments and multi-dimensional problem solutions’ remarks Benoît.

time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness

 

time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness
The innovation of Ressence’s watches is driven purely by human centred micro-ergonomics

 

 

Designing a product involves mixing together many ingredients – technical, functional and financial – but in the end, the products that make a difference are the ones that generate strong emotions and relations. The products where one can feel the empathy behind a meticulous design process.’ notes Benoît.

 

It was this understanding that makes the designer so proficient in both roles. It is not romantic, admits Benoît, but it is the reality of the business of design.

time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness

 

time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness
Starting in 2010, Benoît created his own watch brand as it was at the intersection of all his interests in design

 

 

With this design & business background, Benoît set his sights on creating his own watch brand in 2010. This object was the intersection of all his interests in design and engineering. As in many start-up debuts, the project started with a frustration. Benoît did not find the watch he’d always dreamt of. He was struck by the lack of innovation in horology. He also knew he wanted to oversee the production himself to make sure every detail was right at its place. So the whole Ressence story started to become reality somewhere in the attic of his house. The brand was launched along with three prototypes that left a lasting impression on crowds at BaselWorld. A limited run of 50 pieces in the Zero Series confirmed Ressence’s place as the new and different maker on the scene.

 

There are very few products that need so many ingredients as a watch. There’s the dimensions, aesthetics and ergonomics as well as the expected ethical, social and security aspects. The technicalities of watch design are so vast that the designer needs to be creative to balance the complexities,’ explains the founder and designer.

time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness

ressence-watches-designer-ceo-benoit-mintiens-interview-designboom-large01

The Type 2 removed the need to wind a watch with the first automatic self-setting crown in the world – the eCrown®

 

 

ressence’s portfolio of innovation

 

But being different just for the sake of it does not apply to Ressence. Ressence’s difference is a consequence; a consequence of the mission to remove all the noise around the expression of time and go back to the essence. Benoît first transitioned the traditional face of a watch from 3D to 2D, as the human eye reads two dimensions more quickly. The result was the revolutionary TYPE 1. This exercise continued in spirit when the brand removed the crown to improve setting and winding. Then came the award-winning TYPE 3 that removed the refraction of the glass by being partly filled with oil. Last but not least, the revolutionary TYPE 2 removed the need to set or wind a watch with the first automatic self-setting crown in the world. The eCrown® shrinks a digital clock inside the crown of a mechanical watch. It uses the electronic, automated system to always set the time correctly whilst keeping the traditional chronography. The future of watches will use technology to enrich its performance, even update over air.

 

Over the years, all our products have been the results of ergonomic innovation. Our starting point was to transition from 3D to 2D. Since then, we have also shifted to using titanium bodies as it is lighter and nicer on the wrist, for example. We are driven by the desire to propose watches you love… to wear, every single day. Ressence watches should never see the inside of a safe’ confirms Benoît.

time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness

ressence-watches-designer-ceo-benoit-mintiens-interview-designboom-large02

The Type 3 transitioned the traditional face of a watch from 3D to 2D to improve readability

 

 

This mission to provoke wonder with lovable, meaningful watches shows no signs of stopping.

 

Watches are extremely durable. If we can embrace fine watchmaking with new technologies, the lifespan will only increase as the products can evolve over time. This is why we design our watches with the future in mind. Future technologies and future generations. We don’t have century long legacies and traditions to watch at, so we look forward and try to be ahead of time.’ concludes Benoît Mintiens, founder and designer of Ressence, to designboom.

time to talk: how ressence watches designer-CEO creates timelessness

ressence-type-8-watches-wonders-2022-designboom1800

Ressence unveils modern, minimal TYPE 8 timepiece with domed dial. Read more about this project on designboom here

KEEP UP WITH OUR DAILY AND WEEKLY NEWSLETTERS
suscribe on designboom
- see sample
- see sample
suscribe on designboom

happening now! on its 35th participation at salone del mobile, pedrali unveiled eleven new collections for indoor and outdoor spaces, including brand new collections and extensions of existing collections! 

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999
X
5