1. Watch Cases
The watch cases were made by Dynacast’s multi slide zinc die casting process. www.dynacast.co.uk/multislide-die-casting
This was extremely accurate, fast and relatively inexpensive. However the finish required for the plating process was difficult to achieve with consistency. We were stretching the parameters of the Dynacast process! Dynacast delivered super support for the project and I made many good contacts there.
This led to some intensive Dynacast process development. At my suggestion, the cavity gate design was evolved by widening in order for the molten metal to fill the cavity rapidly and evenly. This came out of discussions with Dynacast engineers and toolmakers and proved to hold the secret of achieving the quality finish required. I believe that Dynacast later used this modification for other castings. Vibratory bowl finishing by Walter Trowal was also introduced. In the end I had to switch the electro plating contractor in order to achieve the consistent satin chrome finish.
In retrospect we should probably have gone with hot brass stamping for maximum finish, however this would have required expensive machining and the internal detailing would have been difficult to achieve but not impossible. TIMEX Dundee and Feltham were world leaders in this field and it would have been interesting to use this proven technology in watch manufacturing.
The aesthetic design of the watch was based on evolutions of earlier design experiments where facets were blended and the contrasts between defined edges and carefully selected radii were exploited to produce the camera like quality that we wanted.
The early black concept model was fairly straight edged and the subsequent treatment became more sophisticated through bevelling and introduction of contrasting material finishes and colours.
The bezels were evolved in stainless steel with the help of Photo Planar. Along the way I experimented with coloured titanium, working with Dust Jewellery in Fife, Scotland.
The rubber Bellows provided a pleasant transition between the cases and a very satisfying contrast with the satin chrome plated surfaces. I believe that the use of rubber on a watch was fairly unique and the bellow also signalled connection and continuity with the cases and the straps.
CNC machining of copper electrodes for cavity die-sinking and spark erosion (EDM) were initially not possible, due to limited machine memory. The toolmakers at Cleveleys had given up. I visited them and suggested: How about machining the electrodes in 3 separate sections, using the tool stop point at the end of the first as the starting position for the second and so on. The end stop could then be used as the definitive process register. After some humming and hahing they said it has not been done before but yes ok let’s have a go. This stretching of technology and innovation in process development was very typical of the FM Watch development. I certainly developed a reputation as a maverick with numerous toolmakers throughout the world. Usually they came round to seeing things my way after a while, once they realised I respected their skills and craft tremendously and only wanted the world to move forwards.