In the field of advanced watch manufacturing, apart from creating new movements, the easiest way for watchmakers to attract external attention is to discover new materials. Whether it is decorative materials, dials, surfaces, or the use of internal components in watches to achieve faster and better standards, they all rely on high-tech support, let alone the great ideas of the R&D team.
At this year's Basel Watch Show, without exception, multiple brands have grandly launched various new materials used in watch designs.
Ubo Watch pioneered the use of the rarest metal osmium crystal on Earth in its dial design, and named it "Cangqiong" - the sparkling silver crystal surface that makes one unable to help but hold their breath and contemplate the vastness of the universe.
And another Skull skeleton tourbillon wristwatch from Ubo appears at first glance, with a hollowed out dial and an exposed movement; It can be immediately discovered that it is equipped with a unique "hollowed out" tourbillon movement and a visually impactful aluminum gold coated ceramic coating material. This is the first time that Ubo watches have been made of materials that have undergone micro arc oxidation treatment. This technology changes the surface composition by plasma discharge in electrophoresis, making the ceramic case more solid, fine, and adhesive. In addition, the micro sandblasting process is completed by manual polishing, leaving a unique mark on each watch. This new material has a hardness of up to about 1000 Vickers, strong corrosion resistance, and friction resistance, while weighing only half of ordinary ceramics.
When it comes to ceramics, we have to mention radar watches. Radar watches pioneered the introduction of high-tech ceramic materials into the watchmaking industry in 1986, and since then, this material has become the iconic material of Swiss radar watches, with its "non wear" characteristic becoming synonymous with the brand. Cool gray high-tech ceramics, as another masterpiece of this year's Basel Watch Exhibition, have extraordinary historical significance for radar watches. It has brought high-tech ceramic manufacturing technology into a new field. Due to the influence of material composition, sintering time, and temperature, it is difficult to achieve accurate and consistent color in the production process of colored high-tech ceramics. This kind of color identification can only be known after sintering, but the sintered high-tech ceramics cannot be reused as unused high-tech ceramics, so this is also the reason why colored high-tech ceramics have not been mass-produced. Swiss radar watches, through proprietary technology, ensure that every cool gray high-tech ceramic watch can present the same color, making the problem of color high-tech ceramic watches not being mass-produced a permanent history.
Novel and Intrinsic
In addition to these brands that excel in the visible parts of watches, there are also brands like Zhenlishi and Baoji that invest new materials into their hidden cores.
When craftsmen and watchmakers from Zhenli Watch Factory are developing the latest EL PRIMERO flagship series, they not only want to create a sporty and lightweight watch, but also need to ensure the accuracy, reliability, and durability of the timepiece. Zhenli's experts first started with the movement and chose titanium, a lightweight and sturdy material. In addition, the escapement fork and escapement gear of the watch use high-tech materials such as silicon - it has no magnetism, is more than three times lighter than traditional alloys, but the texture is harder than precision steel, making it a perfect watchmaking material; It also uses a carbon fiber aluminum case equipped with titanium buttons and crown, giving the watch a natural and smooth shape and sporty spirit. In the SYNOPSIS Happy Watch series, the escapement fork and escapement gear are both made of silicon.
The Baoji 5377 ultra-thin automatic chaining tourbillon watch has been adorned with a platinum coat this year. In its ultra-thin case lies one of the greatest inventions in the history of clocks, namely the titanium cage eccentric tourbillon adjuster with multiple patents. The movement of this 5377 watch is also equipped with diamagnetic silicon hairpins and escapement devices made of silicon and diamagnetic steel. The characteristics of new materials have brought traditional watches to new heights in the fields of precise and durable timepieces.
Ubo Classic Fusion Sky Tortoise Flywheel Watch
Osmium is the rarest metal known to us on Earth so far. The origin of osmium can be traced back to the formation period of the Earth and the primitive solar nebula. High melting point metal alloys of the same family as osmium can only form in formations with a depth of 2900 kilometers, and only there is enough high-temperature environment to melt them. As a member of the platinum group metals, the production of osmium is also mainly concentrated in Russia and South Africa. It is estimated that there are approximately 200 tons of osmium reserves worldwide. In addition, the osmium crystal structure is dense and very stable in air. Therefore, its unique blue luster never fades. Scientists use highly precise techniques to crystallize osmium: at the melting point of osmium (3033 degrees Celsius), their structure is altered to form osmium crystals. This type of osmium crystal, ranging in size from 0.1 millimeters to a few millimeters, makes the osmium crystal dial of a spaceship watch a true miracle.
Zhenlishi ELPRIMERO flagship series SYNOPSIS Happy Watch
Silicon is harder than precision steel, has a lighter texture, a lower coefficient of friction, and can effectively reduce component wear, thus achieving the same precise timing results. In addition, silicon does not contain magnetism and has excellent wear and corrosion resistance. It brings the manufacturing limit of precise timing mechanisms into a new field and is the star of the future in high-tech materials.
True Power Time Watch EL PRIMERO Flagship Series Ultra Lightweight Watch