How the Chanel Calibre 3 was Designed with 3D Printing


It's an amazingly elegant, spoke-free watch


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How the Chanel Calibre 3 was Designed with 3D Printing
Fashion August 30th, 2018

The rise of 3D printing has ushered in a new kind of industrial renaissance. It’s a whole new kind of digital revolution, and it empowers craftsmen with the ability to create products faster and in forms never imagined before.

Look at how it has inspired cool products like Nike’s 3D Flyprint sneaker and Danit Peleg’s jacket. A growing number of luxury watchmakers are also embracing the technology. IWC uses it for watch prototyping, and Chanel, which is no stranger to high technologies, most recently employed it in its new Boy.Friend Skeleton timepiece.

The new Boy.Friend Skeleton watch features all the high class flourishes as expected. Think glossy alligator straps, crystal faces and gold crowns all sparkly with diamonds. Photo by Chanel

Serious watchmaking has always been an artful endeavour, but can traditional craftsmanship and technology co-exist elegantly? Purists may not admit it, but two brains may be better than one.

Chanel’s New Boy.Friend Skeleton

The Boy.Friend Skeleton was first introduced in 2015 and has been one of the most successful contributions to the world of timeless, luxury timepieces. It’s a design that appreciates gender fluidity and style over fashion. After all, when it comes to luxury watches, one would expect them to have an inherent value within the movement and a style that isn’t too concerned with trends.

Chanel’s third watch movement in history is the Calibre 3, designed with clean lines and without spokes. This is made possible with the help of chemical 3D printing, a cool electro-forming technique. Photo by Chanel

It also features all the high class flourishes as one would expect — an alligator strap, two sapphire crystals and an 18K beige gold crown with an option for diamonds. But at its core, Chanel has done away with tradition. Take a good look at the wheels and you’ll notice something quite amiss. Its third in-house movement, the Calibre 3, has no spokes at all.

“It is something you don’t often see in watchmaking,” said Nicolas Beau, Chanel’s global head of watches and fine jewellery business development. Spokes in the wheels are used for weight and to keep them flat. Without them, they won’t stay even. However, Chanel has found beauty in simplicity and wanted them plain and screw-free.

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