The diamond is extremely hard, elastic, very good heat conductor and high transparency material, it can be used in many mechanical and optical applications. But working it into complex and accurate shapes remains very difficult.

A team of scientists supported by the FNS has introduced a new material engraving procedure for millimetric mechanical applications. They succeeded in making a tiny watch gear made of synthetic monocrystalline diamond.

"We are approaching the standards of the watch industry, a thickness of about 0.2 mm,"

We have to thank Niels Quack, professor of the Swiss National Science Foundation (FNS) at EPFL, and it team for this process. They were able to sculpt a three millimeters diameter escapement wheel with its anchor. 

Diamond watch movements

This could be very interesting discovery for watchmaking. The process made it possible to cut in a synthetic diamond with a thickness of 0.15 mm. "We are approaching the standards of the watch industry, a thickness of about 0.2 mm," explains Niels Quack.

With support of Innosuisse (ex CTI), the team will continue its collaboration with the Swiss synthetic diamond manufacturer Lake Diamond, with which it has registered a patent. "This new technique could allow us in the medium future to produce and commercialize micrometric high-precision parts, and in this way extend our fields of activity," notes Pascal Gallo, the company's director.


Images: Copyright © Niels Quack / EPFL

About the author

Anwar Korti

Anwar, directeur du site Tendance Horlogerie, est avant tout un passionné d'horlogerie. Plongé dans l'univers des montres dès son enfance, c'est à l'adolescence que le virus horloger s'est manifesté. Fervent admirateur de l'artisanat d'art, il s'est reconnu dans les valeurs traditionnelles et humaines que véhicule continuellement l'horlogerie depuis plusieurs siècles.