A matter of time: Now watchmaking is embracing 3D printing

PARIS: What if the clothes of the future were entirely 3D-printed? The fashion industry seems to be showing great interest in this process, which has gone from science fiction to science fact in just a few years.

Now, it’s even coming to the world of watchmaking, where an upcoming brand called Kairod is offering its first collection of 3D-printed watches. It’s a revolution in the making!

Uniting expertise with modernity and tradition with innovation – that’s the challenge that Quentin Loiget, founder of the Kairod brand, decided to take up with this first collection of watches partially made by additive manufacturing – better known as 3D printing.

The goal is to harness the power of the latest technologies to enhance artisan craftsmanship, while also reducing waste.

Kairod has created the first collection of watches made by 3D printing. © Kairod

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, takes the opposite approach to subtractive manufacturing, where material is removed to achieve a desired shape, the brand explains in a statement.

Here, 3D parts are built by adding successive layers of material under computer control.

Initially launched as part of a crowdfunding campaign, this first collection is characterized by its minimalism.

Indeed, the brand’s founder wanted the final product to be accessible to as many people as possible (priced from €160, or around US$185).

Or at least initially, because the aim remains to experiment, testing even the wildest possibilities that 3D printing has to offer.

The first Kairod model, which comes in three colors, has a case made from an organic polyamide – in turn made from castor seeds – and produced using a HP multi-jet fusion printer.

The dial is made with the same material but by laser sintering – another process for 3D printing. Both were entrusted to the Erpro Group.

The watch features interchangeable straps made of Seaqual fabric using PET collected from the oceans and wood fibre.

The collection also showcases the work of French artisans, whether for the hands (La Pratique in Morteau), the glass (Verlux in Morteau) or the straps (Sibra in Besançon).

Although 3D printing is still rare in the watchmaking and fashion sectors, many players are interested in the technology to help the industry shape a more responsible future, particularly in terms of ecology.

This is what Heron Preston recently did when unveiling the first 3D-printed and infinitely recyclable sneakers available to the public.

The experiment allows a handful of lucky people to wear these sneakers of the future for a certain time, before returning the shoes to have them made into new, updated pairs.

AFP

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