Vincent Candellé-Tuheille and Simon-Pierre Delord are the designers of the French watch brand, ALB Watches.
The pair say they wanted to fuse traditional craftsmanship and modern technologies to arrive at a finished product for their luxury watch line.
"We wanted to create upmarket designs, using high quality components, such as Swiss movements or great quality interlocking parts," Delord says. "It was essential to find a harmonization between art, craft and technology. 3D printing quickly became an obvious choice."
The pair wanted to make a product, in very small production runs, which called on their appreciation for various elements drawn from the fine arts.
The process goes like this: each watch is imagined in rough sketch form before being manufactured using the latest design and manufacturing techniques and then being completely hand-assembled.
Since both Candellé-Tuheille and Delord both have an extensive background in 3D modeling, they knew the technology would offer a them "great liberty of creation" as they worked to developed their line.
"ALB's main goal was to create a space in the watches dedicated to personal expression, that would allow us to tell stories," Delord said. "3D printing allows us to model up, and work the matter without constraints. For example, we could develop a new painting process which would allow us to create a good looking impression of volume."
The pair says that working with Sculpteo through a series of tests helped them fully utilize "all of the subtleties and potential of 3D printing." Sculpteo is a 3D printing service with bureaus in San Francisco and Issy-les-Moulineaux, France which allows 3D designers to share models, upload their 3D designs and then have them shipped directly.
"We've been seduced by the materials Sculpteo offers, by their originality, their texture and their properties," Delord said. "It became so essential in the way we design our watches that we can't imagine of using another technology."
The pair says they now use 3D printed components to produce all of their watches.