Scientists have developed the world’s lightest high-performance mechanical watch made using the ‘wonder material’ graphene and weighing just 40 grammes. The RM 50-03 watch was made using a unique composite incorporating graphene to manufacture a strong but lightweight new case to house the delicate watch mechanism.
The graphene composite known as Graph TPT weighs less than previous similar materials used in watchmaking.
Graphene is the world’s first two-dimensional material at just one-atom thick. It was first isolated in 2004 and has the potential to revolutionise a large number of applications including high-performance composites for the automotive and aerospace industries, as well as flexible, bendable mobile phones and tablets and next-generation energy storage.
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The strap of the new watch, developed by the University of Manchester in the UK in collaboration with watchmaking brand Richard Mille and McLaren F1, has also been improved by the addition of graphene material.
The rubber of the strap was also injected with graphene which has shown to improve its mechanical properties and its resistance to wear.
Overall the ultralight watch weighs just 40 grams and is extremely durable. “We have shown that the incorporation of graphene into the watch case can have major implications for improved performance of the component in service and also enable further weight reduction in future designs,” said Professor Robert Young from University of Manchester.
“The project involved an investigation into the possibility of incorporating graphene into components in composite watches to enhance performance with the view of saving weight,” said Young. “We evaluated the effect of including graphene in both the watch case and strap. We helped in the fabrication of the different components and analysed their microstructures using x-ray computed tomography and Raman spectroscopy, along with a detailed evaluation of their mechanical properties,” he said.
“We have shown that the incorporation of graphene into the watch case can have major implications for improved performance of the component in service and also enable further weight reduction in future designs,” he added.