Imagine my surprise when, in one of my rare predictions about the future of 3D printing in watchmaking, I got one right: the Panerai Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanium says it all. It is (as far as I know) the first production watch to utilize 3D direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) printing for the case construction. The case is made of titanium for extra lightness, but that’s not the only, or even the main, reason for using DMLS titanium.
In the Real Moon Tides, Christiaan van der Klaauw’s watchmakers incorporated an indication of the phenomenon that is the most real-world expression of the moon’s effects towards life on earth: tides. The most incredible aspect of tides is how variable they actually are when you really get into the nitty-gritty details. And this watch reflects them in a beautiful way.
Have you ever wondered how Titleist gets its logo on bumpy round golf balls? Well this is your lucky day as I’m about to discuss the secret of one very specialized printing process that goes on in the world and how it has its roots in watchmaking. In fact, you still see the results of this process every time you look at your watch dial.
I was invited by H. Moser & Cie to attend a most atypical press conference in Zürich. The occasion was the first parabolic flight in Switzerland, during which Moser, along with its escapement-making sister company Precision Engineering, tested movements and components in zero gravity. H. Moser & Cie also launched the new Pioneer collection, its most contemporary yet.
There has been a lot of talk and promises made by the watch industry about ceramics and their use in timepieces, so it would seem that a primer on the subject might make us much more informed consumers.
In this article I look at why high end watches cost so much by examining one of the most important factors. To answer this question, there are quite a few reasons, including low production numbers (mass manufacture brings prices down) and high complexity, but the one I will focus on here is hand-finishing, because unlike low production numbers and high complexity, ultra-high-level hand-finishing is not usually easy to appreciate.
It occurred to me one day, while explaining to a visitor to my “office” how the machine “knows” where the part is, that many people have very little exposure to the machinery that literally builds so many wristwatch components today. So for your reading pleasure, I break down the basics of milling machines and turning centers, the multi-axis machines that have become a cornerstone of modern fabrication in the watch industry.
When you think of fantasy and science fiction, what do you think of? I sometimes allow my imagination to drift into the paranormal and early twentieth-century years of discovery. This is the world that inspired the creation of Frank Buchwald’s latest creation for the M.A.D. Gallery, which is, of course, the Nixie Machine, a fantabulous clock featuring rare and giant Nixie tubes produced in the 1960s by the state-owned RFT in East Germany. I can imagine this clock in a variety of fictional settings from the worlds of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and even Isaac Asimov.
Security breaches of company databases have been in the news recently, but what if there was a spy who knew everything you were doing, including when you slept, ate, had sex, exercised, and worked – at what and for how long. A spy that monitored not just what you were doing, but how you were doing it, for how long, and how well. Have you really thought about what your fitness bracelet knows?
On a recent visit to the Valbray manufacture, I surreptitiously looked at the electrics in back of a CNC machine (as one does). Seeing my interest, Côme de Valbray, who co-founded the brand with his wife Olga, casually mentioned that the racks of electronics contained the processing power of 350 powerful computers and that the machine drew up to 90,000 watts of power in operation: that’s equivalent to the power used by around ten homes.