The world’s lightest mechanical watch was revealed at Geneva on Monday.
The watch incorporates a graphene-based composite to manufacture the lightweight case, which houses the watch’s delicate mechanism. The graphene composite known as Graph TPT™ weighs less than similar materials previously used in watchmaking.
The rubber strap of the watch was also injected with graphene, to improve its mechanical properties and its resistance to wear.
The RM 50-03 watch is a result of a unique collaboration of the University of Manchester with the watchmaking brand Richard Mille, and the racing team McLaren F1. The world’s lightest mechanical chronograph was created by pairing leading graphene research with precision engineering.
Officials at the University of Manchester say that this is a key step forward in the development of widespread applications of graphene.
Graphene was first isolated at the University of Manchester in 2004. At just one-atom thick, it is the world’s first two-dimensional material. Graphene has the potential to revolutionize the automotive and aerospace industries. It also finds applications in flexible mobile phones and tablets as well as next generation energy storage.
“The striking watch has been precisely designed and inspired by the wishbone suspension structure of a McLaren-Honda Formula 1 car. Combining the design and materials the casing of the watch has withstood tremendous shock damage and survived unscathed in tests,” said Professor Robert Young from the University of Manchester.
“We evaluated the effect of including graphene in both the watch case and strap. We helped in the fabrication of the different components and analyzed their microstructures using x-ray computed tomography and Raman spectroscopy, along with a detailed evaluation of their mechanical properties,” explained Young about the university’s involvement in the project.
Weighing 40 grams, the RM 50-03 watch claims to be the lightest of its kind in the world. It was unveiled at the Salon International De La Haute Horologie, Geneva’s annual gathering of watchmakers.