British Luxury watch maker Hoptroff introduced the world's first personal chronometer with an on board atomic clock back in May 2013. This watch has been claimed by the company to be the world's most accurate watch, more accurate than any luxury quartz or mechanical watch yet produced. It is called "Hoptroff No.10" because it is the tenth movement developed by the company.
Hoptroff notes that the device has a "self-contained accuracy of one and a half seconds per thousand years", that's 240,000 times more accurate than Big Ben.
At the heart of the movement is a Quantum SA.45s "chip scale atomic clock" made by US company Symmetricom. "The atomic physics package is supplied by Symmetricom, who originally developed it in collaboration with the US Department of Defense for use in cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles where it is needed to continue navigating in the presence of GPS radio jamming." said Richard Hoptroff, managing director of Hoptroff Ltd.
But the SA.45s is not tiny enough to go into a wristwatch. At 40 x 34.8 x 11.3mm, it can only be designed for pocket watches. The watch is said to measure 82mm in diameter and to be 25mm thick.
The Hoptroff No.10 will also be the first watch to have a gold case produced by 3D printing. "I've been pursuing additive manufacturing ('3D printing') for 18 months now and this folly has probably delayed our product launch by a year. But it was worth it - the results are stunning." writes Hoptroff.
The first 3D printed watch case prototype was printed in plastic. Talking about what makes additive manufacturing so interesting Hoptroff says that the technology can make structures that simply can't be made any other way, hollow shapes, interlocking parts, pieces within pieces. Using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), Hoptroff made their first 18 carat gold watch case in a sintering facility in Birmingham, see photo below.
This photo below shows it after it has been extracted and polished, and the next photo in a finished watch.
(Images credit: Hoptroff)
When compared it to a traditional technique such as milling, Hoptroff writes "Milling generates a simple part with cold, Germanic precision. The sintered version feels like it's been grown and nurtured - which in truth it has - each with an individual life of its own."
The price of such highly-accurate watch is not decided yet, but together with the tremendous amount of research and development in the product, as well the amount of gold used in the case, it is expected that its final retail price will be around £50,000.
It is said the company plans on making 12 units in their first run, and the first protoypes of No. 10 watch will be presented at the SalonQP watch exhibition in November. And the watch is scheduled to deliver some time next year.
More info from Hoptroff.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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