Here’s my super simplified take on the old Mechanical Watches vs. Smartwatches debate:
- Mehanical watches are inaccurate, but super neat
- Smartwatches are super accurate, but not neat
But then this Type 2 e-Crown Concept came out, and now I’m wondering: what if there were a mechanical watch that was accurate while still maintaining its super neat-ness?
First, a primer on mechanical watches vs. smartwatches:
For mechanical watches, the movement is either hand-wound or automatic. That is, inside the watch, what “powers” the time-keeping feature of the watch is a bunch of little gears that are all connected together. In the case of a hand-wound movement, those gears are motivated by winding the crown of the watch manually. And in the case of the automatic watch, the watch is powered by the movement of a rotor inside the case of the watch (and that rotor tends to move whenever the wrist of the wearer moves).
This is cool! Who wouldn’t want a little piece of old-school human engineering on their wrist?
The accuracy of these types of watches is somewhere in the range of ~1-10 seconds per day. (In other words, most mechanical watches will tend to speed up or slow down compared to real time.) Obviously, this is a “bug, not a feature.”
For smartwatches, the movement isn’t really a movement at all: it’s a screen with a CPU inside, keeping perfectly accurate time for as long as the internal battery stays charged.
(Honestly, this is pretty cool too.)
Before SIHH 2018, we watch lovers had to make a choice: do we want to wear something that’s hand-crafted and old-worldly (despite its proclivity to not actually keep time that well?), or do we want a watch that’s machine-made and new-worldly (that keeps impeccably great time)?
Well, Ressence has an answer: we can have both!
Enter their Type 2 e-Crown Concept. As was the case for all previous Ressence watches, this one has a mechanical movement inside. But there’s also a CPU inside the watch. And that CPU pairs with their smartphone app to sort-of `phone home` to determine the _actual_ time. That’s pretty awesome.
So, the Type 2 e-Crown Concept takes everything we love about mechanical watches, and concomitantly, surgically removes the worst
feature bug therein.
Pretty slick work from Ressence. Of course, it’s just a concept right now, but based on all their other innovations, I expect to see this for sale soon.