Betatype has collaborated with luxury watchmaker Uniform Wares to design and develop a unique woven T5 titanium alloy watch strap using metal additive manufacturing. The strap complements Uniform Wares’ new PreciDrive M-Line watch collection, which has been launched.
The strap echoes the popular fabric-like NATO design and includes a unique clasp that is as strong as a metal bracelet, but light enough to feel like fabric on the wearer’s wrist. It is made of more than 4,000 links that interlock with each other to form a strong, lightweight structure. Unlike traditional mesh straps, each link is asymmetric, which means each side of the strap has a differing bend radius. This allows the strap to be easily fitted over the hand, but to remain flexible enough to be secure on the wrist.
Betatype applied its unique multi-scale approach to exert greater geometric control over the laser PBF process and to achieve the right look, feel and strength for the watch strap’s design. By controlling the laser’s scanpath, exposure settings and material microstructure – down to the micron – of each link in the strap, Betatype was able to achieve the best possible fit and mechanical performance of the watch strap
The strap also features a new type of directional clasp design featuring microscopic ‘teeth’ that have been integrated into the inside of the clasp, which interlocks with the weave of the strap itself. This design element could only be achieved with this unique additive manufacturing production approach, rather than using more traditional methods of welding separate pieces together. The clasp allows for very fine adjustments and a secure hold, but can still easily slide off to the side to remove the watch.
Betatype’s optimised laser powder fusion process also uses the least amount of material possible, producing little to no waste in the manufacturing of the T5 titanium strap.
The finishing touches were done by hand and the end result is a strap that is extremely strong and much lighter than a traditionally-made Milanese mesh bracelet, weighing in at only 10.5 grams (0.37 ounces).
The fabrication and finishing of the T5 titanium strap is done at Betatype’s design and manufacturing facility in East London, keeping the design, development and manufacture of the watchstrap all local to London.
The strap will be available in a natural matt finish with selected references from Uniform Wares’ PreciDrive collection and will be sold via the Uniform Wares website and select retailers, including Mr. Porter and Nordstrom.