I n a bid to support efforts to fight against the spread of COVID-19, Sotheby's is joining forces with revolutionary watchmaker Ressence and the University KU Leuven in Belgium to organise a unique design competition followed by an accompanying auction.
The idea behind #WatchesAgainstCovid19 is simple. For the first time ever, watch-lovers will have the chance to create their own interpretation of one of Ressence’s latest models, the Type 1 Slim. Open from 28 April (2pm GMT) until 12 May (2pm GMT), the competition will be judged by Belgian designer and Ressence founder Benoît Mintiens, in consultation with the brand’s Swiss manufacturers, who will then bring the winning design to life as a watch.
The successful designer will have their name engraved on the case of the unique piece, which will be offered in Sotheby’s Hong Kong Important Watches auction on 11 July with proceeds from the sale supporting the Covid-19 Research Programme at KU Leuven University.
Ressence has a history of creating much sought-after limited editions, which always sell out within hours of their launch. The brand was founded in 2010 by Mintiens, an industrial designer who had a portfolio of designs to his credit – high-speed trains, aircraft cabins, medical devices, leather goods and even hunting guns – before he ever designed a watch.
His approach to fine-watchmaking is entirely fresh, undeniably contemporary and with one goal in mind: improving the functionality of the mechanical watch in the 21st century context. The brand has built its international reputation by revolutionising the way time is displayed on a watch. On a Ressence watch, time is broken down into individual sub-dials displaying hours, minutes, seconds and days. These sub-dials or discs orbit around one another, a patented three-dimensional complication called ROCS, or the Ressence Orbital Convex System.
The purpose is a more efficient way of telling time. Information is displayed on a single surface, much like words on a piece of paper, making for improved readability. Winners of the 2013 Horological Revelation Award at the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie, Ressence takes a distinctive approach to the craft of contemporary Fine Watchmaking, combining Swiss-made calibres with unmatched self-engineered innovation to reimagine how mechanical watches can function and interact with users in the modern age.
Proud partner of Onlywatch 2017, the Charity Auction for research into Duchenne muscular distrophy, where a unique sintered titanium cased Type 1 reached twice its original estimates, Ressence has created other extremely limited editions based on variations of the Type 1 model with partners ranging from Mr Porter to Hodinkee to Parisian retailer Chronopassion. Most recently, the brand produced 19 highly unusual pieces with a lattice design giving the traditional geometric theme a modern edge, for last November's Dubai Watch Week.
How to take part in the competition
Contestants can download the outline drawings (dial and back) of the Type 1 Slim on www.ressencewatches.com/TimeToDraw
There are no restrictions on the tools participants can use: from colouring pencils and felt pens to Photoshop, nothing is off-limits.
The design should be submitted by email to email@example.com before 12 May (2pm GMT), together with the name or inscription for the engraving and the participant’s contact details.
Drawings can also be shared on Instagram with the hashtag #WatchesAgainstCovid19 and the tags @ressence_watches and @SothebysWatches