Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Another major victory for the "Manufactured in Australia" Project

Pallet bridge with pallet jewel installed

Earlier this week we successfully completed the design, manufacturing and installation of the pallet bridge in NH1 calibre. Meaning - we have replaced yet another Swiss made part with an Australian manufactured component.

What is the big deal?
The pallet bridge is a complex, very thin part that’s difficult to make. Demand: positional accuracy, very tight tolerances, and multi-component integration.  In addition, the pallet bridge is one of a few 'passive' escapement components directly responsible for accuracy in timekeeping.

Development time?
It took around two months to develop our own in-house tools and vacuum holding fixtures, and a further couple of weeks of prototyping and fine tuning.  In other words, the challenge was not just in making the bridge itself but in making the multiple tools and holders necessary to allow our machines to hold the material during machining.

So who really made the bridge: a watchmaker or a machinist?
A machinist, guided by a watchmaker.  CNC horology is a multidisciplinary undertaking.

First one in Australia?
There is no doubt that we are not the only workshop in Australia capable of micron or even sub-micron machining.  However, we are unaware of any other Australian business having ever endeavoured in the field of horology.  Or any other local business to offer a working watch where the majority of parts are actually made in Australia.

Big claim - but what about performance?
Reviews of peers are always appreciated. A unique horological project like ours generates a significant amount of interest and it is practically in the public domain. It is followed and reviewed by fellow machinists and watchmakers from Switzerland, Germany, US and Japan, established watch manufacturers, masters of haute horology, and many other individuals working hard to make their own watchmaking claims. For them, we have released a short video showing daily timekeeping, amplitude and beat parameters of an assembled NH1.  Watch it here:

Which CNC machine are used in pallet bridge construction?
The Kern Pyramid Nano 5 axes mill and Makino EDM wire cutting.  Manually jewelled and decorated.

Machining time?
Just under 3 hours for six bridges.

Brass and titanium.

The total weight of the pallet bridge?
Our prototype bridge was 0.5 grams compared to the weight of the Swiss bridge of 2 grams.  Here is a video of the two bridges being weighed.

While this was not really necessary, the final version of the bridge was beefed up for additional structural strength resulting in total weight of 1.1 grams.  

Price per part?
Taking into account workshop setup costs, the investment in time and dedication to the project, at this stage we are unable to determine how much a single pallet bridge really costs. It is simply still a labour of love.

What is in it for me?
If you are already a proud owner of a NH1 TiH watch (one of 25 signed 'Manufactured in Australia') then your NH1 will be fitted with the new pallet bridge, making your watch even more special.  You will receive a call from us when your individual pallet bridge is ready.  The part and labour, of course, is absolutely free of charge.

What's next?
Very exciting times ahead - stay tuned.

The inner diameter of the pallet jewel is 75 microns.  Here is a human hair fitted through the jewel hole.

The steel component on the left is a Swiss made pallet bridge.  On the right is our Australian made.
Are there any NH1 watches available?
Yes - one. While the initial batch of 25 pieces were sold out upon release, Number 11/25 has not been collected yet. This piece is now back on the market. Price: $6,600.

45mm titanium cased wrist watch fitted with NH1 movement.  Number 11/25.  

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