Benoît Mintiens tells the story of the Ressence watches
Founded in 2010 by Benoît Mintiens, presence is on his design mission watches awaken the senses and arouse amazement. During this quest to make timepieces even better Timelessthe Belgian brand’s products seem to throw the wrench into the works of traditional industry – see only the minimal yet domed TYPE 8 or a TYPE 1 with a dial decorated, for example, like a painting from 1646 – but the innovation of the Ressence watches is the result of a careful removal of all non-essential parts and dimensions of the watch. It is the search for the purest expression of the times. The eye-catching designs combine modern performance with modern aesthetics.
‘resourceence is a good example of bold decisions. Precision watchmaking favors evolution over radical innovation. This in turn limits creativity. In comparison, at Ressence we enjoy complete freedom,“, explains Benoît Mintiens, founder and designer of presencein conversation with designboom.
The Essence TYPE 1 REV Grail Watch is inspired by Philippe de Champaigne’s “Vanitas” painting from 1646
Read more about this project on designboom Here
‘I didn’t know industrial design could be a profession when I was young; that one could live‘ says Benoit.
At the age of 18, Benoît wanted to combine his two interests at the time – industrial design and sailing. He trained as a marine engineer until his father told him it was possible to study design. After five years studying industrial design in Antwerp, a successful degree and an internship at a famous Belgian design consultancy (Yellow Window, formerly known as Enthoven Associates), Benoît was hired as one of the agency’s designers.
Ressence’s mission is to design timepieces that awaken the senses and evoke wonder
In design studios, creative people work on a variety of products, companies and technologies, turning one into a specialized generalist, where marketing, finance, production and above all human factors are disciplines that nourish everyday life. These parameters – or engines as Benoît calls it – allowed him to start his own business and fly presence.
‘Good designers are taught to think holistic environments and multidimensional problem solving‘ remarks Benoît.
The innovation of Ressence watches is driven solely by human-centric micro-ergonomics
‘When designing a product, many ingredients need to be mixed together – technical, functional and financial – but in the end it is the products that make the difference that generate strong emotions and relationships. The products where you can feel the empathy behind a meticulous design process.‘ remarks Benoît.
It was this understanding that made the designer so competent in both roles. It’s not romantic, admits Benoît, but it’s the reality of the design business.
From 2010 Benoît started his own watch brand as it was at the intersection of all his design interests
With this background in design and business, Benoît set out to create his own watch brand in 2010. This object was the intersection of all his interests in design and engineering. As with many startup debuts, the project started out of frustration. Benoît did not find the watch he had always dreamed of. He was struck by the lack of innovation in watchmaking. He also knew he wanted to oversee the production himself to make sure every detail was in place. So, somewhere in the attic of his house, the whole Essence story began to become reality. The brand was launched alongside three prototypes that made a lasting impression at BaselWorld. A limited edition of 50 pieces in the Zero Series confirmed Ressence’s place as the new and different manufacturer on the scene.
‘There are few products that require as many ingredients as a watch. There are the dimensions, aesthetics and ergonomics, as well as the expected ethical, social and safety aspects. The technical aspects of watch design are so vast that the designer must be creative to balance the complexity.“, explains the founder and designer.