Consumer ProductsItalyJewelryMass Customization

Exotime Pioneer watch combines metal AM and traditional craftsmanship

The watch case, bezel, crown and buckle are all 3D printed using binder jetting technology

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There is a newcomer to the niche but highly innovative world of watchmaking: Exotime. The Italian company, which launched early in 2024, specializes in the design and production of luxury timepieces using metal additive manufacturing and prides itself on its ability to blend traditional craftsmanship with advanced design and manufacturing techniques.

Exotime Pioneer watch 3D printed In the production of its first product, the Exotime Pioneer, the company worked in partnership with industrial AM service Elmec 3D, which utilized metal binder jetting technology from Desktop Metal. Specifically, the watch’s case, bezel, crown and buckle are all 3D printed from 17-4PH stainless steel. After printing, debinding and sintering, the small components undergo a more traditional watchmaking technique: hand polishing. The watch is also hand finished with luxury details like hand-carved stones (including onyx, mother of pearl, lapis lazuli, red jasper and blood jasper).

Metal binder jetting was the AM technology of choice for the watchmaking application due to the process’ ability to print complex designs and intricate details without the need for supports. Exotime is also leveraging AM’s propensity for mass customization in its timepiece products. Using its online configuration platform, customers can choose from a variety of different options, including a watch face with a classic of dynamic dial, different color finishes for the watch face and unique lettering. Non-3D printed elements of the Pioneer watch can also be personalized, including the type of stone set in the bezel and the color of the handmade leather strap.

“At the heart of everything we do is Italian craftsmanship,” says the watchmaking company. “Each Exotime watch is the result of a harmonious fusion between tradition and innovation. From classic stone working techniques to the most advanced metal 3D printing processes, every detail is taken care of with obsessive attention.”

Exotime Pioneer watch 3D printed

Exotime has also opted to 3D print the packaging for its first watch series. The cylindrical watch box was designed and produced internally using a bio-based material filled with granite powder. The packaging itself is characterized by a circular and angular 3D pattern and is inscribed on the base with the number of the watch. Inside, Exotime has padded the box by hand using black suede.

Overall, 3D printing technologies are enabling the new watchmaker to explore greater design freedom and customization opportunities while simultaneously benefiting from greater production agility and minimized turnaround times and production costs for its luxury products. Other watchmakers have also turned to additive technologies to expand their capabilities: for example, Apple Watch was reportedly exploring metal binder jetting technology for the serial production of Apple Watch Series 9 case. More recently, Barrelhand 3D printed the chassis of Project Monolith, a professional-grade EVA tool watch that is compatible with space suits.

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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