Many hybrid watches only resemble classic timepieces on a superficial level. If you want a watch with a true mechanical movement, you have to forego modern conveniences. Ressence wants to fix that with its newly unveiled Type 2 e-Crown Concept. The watch, designed with the help of Nest co-founder Tony Fadell, only requires conventional setup when you initially set the time. From then on, a paired iPhone app can automatically set the watch to one of two time zones using its namesake e-Crown. If the power reserve runs out or Daylight Savings Time kicks in, you don’t have to use the old-fashioned setting mechanism unless you want to — you just have to tap on the watch face.
The design uses both kinetic and solar power to keep running, and it’ll even automatically open shutters to reveal the solar cells when the battery runs below 50 percent.
You can’t buy this exact watch. As the “concept” name indicates, it’s a technology demonstrator. Ressence does plan a production version of the Type 2 later in 2018, though. And this could represent the future of mechanical watches for the industry at large. Purists may insist on manually winding their watches (and they still can), but these digital elements could make mechanicals more accessible to a generation that has grown up with smartphones. They can enjoy the automatic timekeeping of a smartwatch without having to accept the battery life and style sacrifices that frequently come along for the ride.