French designers build a 3D-printed metal watch


French watchmaker Unitam and 3D printing company Stainless teamed up to build a unique 3D printed watch, essentially the first of its kind. The team created the watch case using laser sintering to melt stainless steel 316L powder on a Renishaw AM250 printer.

The watch, which uses French-made hands and a Miyota movement, isn’t completely 3D printed. However, because 3D printing is now nearly foolproof and almost as good as injection molding, the teams will begin mass producing and selling these watches in the Unitam in Paris.

The watchmaker and the metals company showed off their watch at the Micronora trade show in France’s watchmaking city, Besançon.

It’s a clever and unique use case for 3D printing and I’d love to see more. Sadly, the current 3D printing systems can’t make small, complex parts for watch movements so we’re stuck with making larger, less complex parts until the technology truly takes off.

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