Jan 12, 2015 | By Kira

A watch enthusiast and 3D print designer has combined the maker movement with the world of horology in a very big way.

In fact, watch making and 3D printing have more in common than you would think. Both require a lot of skill, patience, and minute attention to detail. Both processes require advance planning and multiple puzzle-like pieces that need to be carefully assembled by hand. And in both cases, once you decide to let your creativity run wild, there’s almost nothing you can’t create.

Franc Falco definitely fits into that last category of creative thinkers. He recently designed and produced a Rolex Submariner watch using an Ultimaker 2 3D printer. The watch is almost an exact replica of the classic Rolex design, which is described on the website as ‘the iconic divers’ watch since 1953’ and ‘probably the only divers’ watch you can wear with a tuxedo.’ The only difference between Falco’s watch and the original? His was printed at 300% scale.

“I’m lucky enough to have owned a Rolex Submariner for over 10 years, and always admired its quality and style,” explained Falco. He has previously completed a normal-sized, 3D printed version of the watch, which is available on Thingiverse, but after purchasing his own desktop Ultimaker 2 3D printer, he decided to take it up a level.

“It was just a case of taking detailed measurements from my watch and scaling 300%.”

He makes it sounds quite easy, but in fact the process took several iterations. The final product includes roughly 131 individual parts and took nearly 30 hours to print.

“The face dial with the lettering was the biggest challenge,” he admits. “It involved printing the face with de-bossed lettering at a very high resolution, then flooding the de-bossed areas with white paint, letting that dry, and then surface-sanding the whole face back to reveal the lettering.”

Despite this labour-intensive process (which Falco says has since been refined), the massive display piece is exceptionally crafted and resembles the original in almost every way. Not only does the ratcheting uni-directional rotating bezel system work, but the bracelet has a functional deployant clasp—meaning that if you actually wanted to wear a three times size increased watch, you could.

The only parts that are not 3D printed are the actual clock mechanism and the Perspex ‘face glass’, however these were purchased separately at a very low cost. According to Falco, the battery powered Quartz clock movement was purchased on ebay for £4 and 3D filament came at a total cost of about £50, meaning that in total, the project cost him just under $100 USD.

Falco’s plans are available to download on Thingiverse, and even include a PDF with detailed instructions on how to assemble the “truly desk worthy” dive watch.

In order to avoid copyright infringement issues, the Rolex logo has been removed, however despite the need to ‘de-brand,’ Falco says that he would be interested in hearing what Rolex would have to say about his large-scale, technical masterpiece. “I’m hoping they would appreciate my personal project, and non-commercial desire to celebrate the history of their watch making excellence.”

We would also love to see what Rolex thinks, as hopefully more and more companies begin to embrace the creativity and skill that are an innate part of the maker movement. After all, nothing says “I love your product” like a massive, 3x bigger 3D printed homage. 


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Loebsen wrote at 1/12/2015 12:26:35 PM:

Please note that 300% scale is 3 times bigger, not 300 times bigger.

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