3D printers are a new technological advancement that offers options for a wide range of users. Unlike a typical printer which prints words or images on a piece of paper, new 3D printers can take a design and “carve” it for the user. Some of the most common uses for 3D printings include prototype creation, research, industrial parts and even medical devices.
Attention to detail is key for this 3D Submariner.
3D printers are now far more common which allows many individuals to utilize this fascinating new technology to create new and interesting items. One designer, Franco Falco, recently printed a +300% scale model of a Rolex Submariner using a 3D printer. Falco explains that the watch was an experiment to test his own 3D modeling capabilities. He painstakingly “printed” and pieced together the watch using super glue. He explained that everything except the Perspex face and the battery-powered clock mechanism was created by the 3D printer. The design is open source and available for anyone to download from Thingverse.com. This site is a special library of 3D printed designs that is run by MakerBot. The plans include schematics for all the necessary watch parts as well as a detailed PDF from Falco himself on assembling them.
This 3d Printed Rolex Submariner is 300% larger than a regular submariner.
The Future of 3D
While Falco admits that it will be at least 5 or 10 years before the technology catches up to allow users to create their own fully-functioning and usable watches, he does highlight the benefits 3D printing offers for customization. His work shows that a 3D printer can match the functionality of the outer build of a real watch. For example, the Submariner watch is famous for its unidirectional rotating bezel. This bezel was created on the 3D print model and works. Falco concludes that he can envision Apple or another brand creating a watch that can be customized with 3D printing in the future. Falco states that, “If the watch was designed and produced in such a way that…covers and straps could be removed and swapped, then an owner could download a 3D print file and print out different [options] or add accessories. That would fit nicely with the watch as an aesthetic/fashion item.”
The Casing is obviously plastic and shows no threat to Rolex S.A.
Falco stresses that his 3D printed Submariner is by no means a threat to the real version. It is made of plastic and only appears to resemble a Rolex Submariner. However, the future could hold possibilities for customizing watches like the Apple Watch or a Rolex watch with a 3D printer.