TAG Heuer implements 3D printing for watch new design and development techniques

While the rest of the world is going crazy over the latest smart watch production, Swiss watchmakers TAG Heuer are flying under the radar with some new technology being incorporated into their manufacturing process – 3D printing.

Part of the face of a TAG Heuer wrist watch, not an antique pocket watch for sale at Pieces of Time.

So far, the long-established makers of some of the finest antique watches for sale, TAG Heuer, has already managed to fully incorporate 3D design into their manufacturing procedure. Their designers use custom 3D software which enables them to competently and effectively adjust watches in every tiny detail, such as with little issues like the timescale and pointer.

Once they have completed their 3D drawings and designs, they then go to the 3D printing technology stage in order to prototype their watches. TAG Heuer uses 3D Systems’ ProJet 3500 HD Max 3D Printer so that they can print out these high-precision replicas of their wristwatch designs overnight, and then the next morning their designers come into work presented with a prototype of the real thing they can go over. The beauty of this is that it enables the team to swiftly weed out flaws and discrepancies in designs, including its smaller details (buttons, pointers, etc.). Not only does this provide the designers with a great resource for saving time, it is also a lot cheaper than sending a watch into production prior to discovering any of its frustrating minor flaws.

It is only once the 3D printed sample has been approved that the three-strong team at the helm of prototyping will move on to the sample production stage. During this stage, they finally build a complete watch using actual metal components; by hand, of course. These subsequently move on to the formidably known ‘Torture Room’. This room is essentially a test lab, where the finished metal watch will be rigorously tested and compared to TAG Heuer models as well as other brands. It’s a longwinded process that is used to apparently ensure that TAG Heuer watches are all on par with the standards expected of them.

Image: Tako Ekkel under Creative Commons.