Despite the industry being battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, a few watch companies have stepped up to raise funds for healthcare professionals and research organizations working to find a cure. After Urwerk’s one-off UR-100 timepiece and Breitling’s Superocean Heritage ’57 limited edition, now comes news of a one-off watch by indie watchmaker Ressence that features a design unearthed via a competition that featured entries from watch enthusiasts around the world.
A month ago, Ressence announced that the creating of a unique watch, featuring a crowd-sourced design, would be sold via an auction conducted by Sotheby’s in aid of the fight against Covid-19. The unique watch’s design would be decided via a competition that would allow watch enthusiasts to create their own interpretation of one of Ressence’s latest models, the Type 1 Slim. According to Ressence, 466 people, from children and professional designers to watchmakers such as Alain Silberstein, enthusiastically entered the competition and submitted their #WatchAgainstCovid19 designs.
A Ressence watch is not about a conventional time display. Individual sub-dials that denote the hours, minutes, and seconds, rotate as satellites around the center of the watch, set into the rotating dial. The winning design is a pastel blue watch signed by 58-year-old Englishman Raymond Ramsden, a father of two who lives in Yorkshire.
According to Ramsden, the main blue color of the dial represents the medical staff, key workers and all the frontline people who supported society during the pandemic. The red hand symbolizes human interaction and the importance of washing hands to limit its spread. The blue subdial is the planet we share while the yellow subdial represnts the sun giving warmth, light and life whereas the white subdial is the moon: aspirations, romance, and dreams. The red 19 marker is a discreet reference to the coronavirus. The caseback will be engraved with names of Ramsden’s sons “Ayrton & Fin” and his message “the children of the world are the future”.
Minor changes have been made to Ramsden’s design, following Ressence’s discussion with its suppliers. The watch is currently being brought to life at Ressence’s manufacture in Switzerland. It will be auctioned off during the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Important Watches sale on July 11. Proceeds from the sale will support the Covid-19 Research Programme run by KU Leuven University in Belgium.
“Letting our community have the final say and be part of our project felt like the right thing to do. During the selection process, we discussed the feasibility of the designs with our Swiss manufacturers. We also wanted to create a genuine one-off, so we opted for entries that were far from our own artistic direction. And most importantly, we chose optimistic approaches which would bring a message of hope in the current difficult times,” said Ressence Founder and CEO Benoît Mintiens.
While there’s no way to ascertain how much this one-off watch will eventually fetch at the July auction, a regular production Type 1 Slim retails for around $20,600.