This designer 3D printed a Rolex watch and the results could impact how we personalise wearables

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What you see in the pictures here is a Rolex Submariner watch made at 300% scale using a 3D printer. Everything but the Perspex face and the battery-powered clock mechanism of it were achieved with 3D filament, a tube of super glue and a lot of patience.

Designed, produced and assembled by Franc Falco, design specialist at creative consultancy Wolff Olins, the ‘watch’ was an exercise in his own 3D modelling capabilities, as well as that of his Ultimaker 2 desktop 3D printer. In true open source fashion, the plans were made available for anyone to download from Thingverse.com (a library of 3D printed designs run by MakerBot), including schematics for all the necessary parts and a detailed PDF from Falco on how to assemble them.

The Rolex branding was actually removed on the site to avoid any legal issues, but that’s not to say the resulting product is yet a real threat to the luxury watch brand. Accordingly to Falco, while a few critics have tried to sensationalise the idea that desktop 3D printing will mean anyone can print out their own functional version, that isn’t going to happen for 5 – 10 years. “Quality, tolerances and materials aren’t yet available to produce anywhere near a useable watch, but it will happen when technology catches up,” he explains.

Read more of his thoughts on where all this is headed, including how it could impact the personalisation of wearable technology like the Apple Watch via the full story on Forbes.com.

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