For far too long brands producing limited edition watches aimed at the Middle East market have resorted to the familiar trope of sticking Eastern Arabic numerals on the dial, preferably green; some models aimed specifically at the UAE market have referenced the falcon, the country’s national symbol. I can’t think of anyone who has done all three yet – Eastern Arabic numerals on a green dial with a falcon, but if any brand representative is reading this, please don’t.

The skeletonized dial references Arabic geometric patterns

It was indie brand Ressence that finally injected some much-needed originality to regional editions with the unveiling of the Type 1 DXB at Dubai Watch Week. Created in collaboration with leading retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, the exclusive edition (it is limited to just 19 pieces), is a completely original take on the concept of Middle East editions. It does help that Ressence doesn’t do conventional time displays, but the use of a skeletonized dial that references traditional Arabic geometric patterns, is a refreshing change from the norm here.

The dial has 3 satellite subdials that keep rotating

Geometric patterns have always been associated with Islamic art, largely due to their aniconic quality. Since Islam forbids the use of figurative images at holy sites, craftsmen developed an aesthetic based on repeated geometrical shapes. These geometrical patterns have been used in Islamic architecture as well as decorative elements on a vast array of objects.

The case is 41 mm wide and 11 mm thick

The Type 1DXB is basically an Arabic take on skeletonized dials, Arabic geometric patterns reveal the movement underneath the dial. This watch is based on the Type 1 Squared that was unveiled in 2017. When first unveiled, it was notable for having a pop-up winding key on the caseback, thus making it among the slimmest Ressence models to date.  

An exploded view of the original Type 1 movement

The Type 1 DXB has a polished Grade 5 titanium case (unlike the steel of the original model) which is 41 mm wide and 11 mm thick. It has a satin-finished caseback with a pop-up winding crown. The convex German silver dial has the familiar Ressence Orbital Convex System (ROCS), three satellite discs inclined at 3° (hours) and 4.75° (seconds and week days) continually orbit around one another. The dial has a sand-colored PVD finish, hands and indexes are white and filled with Superluminova.

The watch is powered by a customised ETA 2892 movement that has been fitted with the brand’s ROCS module. The self-winding movement has a power reserve of 36 hours and an escapement that beats at 4 Hz (28,800 vph). The watch is paired with a brown calf leather strap and is also accompanied by a Khaki nylon NATO-style strap. As mentioned before, the watch is limited to just 19 pieces and is priced at CHF22,500 (Approx. AED82,850).