TIMEX, a global leader in watchmaking for more than 160 years, has partnered with SilMach, a French pioneer in Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS), to create the first MEMS-powered watch movement. The jointly created MEMS watch motors (boxes) and movements are the first-ever to utilize the MEMS nano technology thanks to SilMach’s PowerMEMS patented solution. The joint venture will be based, along with SilMach and Fralsen (TIMEX’s movement parts manufacturing facility) in the French micromechanical cluster of Besancon. Merging TIMEX’ 160 years of expertise in watchmaking with the pioneering skills of SilMach, the joint venture is set to disrupt the watch industry.
TIMEX expects to release its first MEMS-powered watch movement within its 2019 collection.
The New PowerMEMS Movement is disruptive
The new PowerMEMS movement replaces the 40+ year old magnetic technology that currently powers all existing quartz analogue watches by the high torque and high speed energy efficient silicon electric-mechanical property. By reversing the traditional usage of passive MEMS to translate an electrical signal into a micromechanical motion, PowerMEMS motors are uniquely positioned to replace the aging magnet based Lavet motors used in analog watches, connected watches and provide countless new exciting applications.
The PowerMEMS-based movement is disruptive because it creates endless possibilities in design and function, a game changer for an industry currently bound by the physical constraints of the traditional Lavet motor. PowerMEMS provide direct drive and geared motorization that is compatible with Surface Mount Technology (SMT) used to populate Printed Circuit Boards (PCB). This new design will introduce the watch industry to cutting-edge nano technologies with higher efficiency allowing for longer battery life, fewer components creating less complexity, producing a superior quality, lower costs, yet smaller movement allowing for far more creative and flexible watch designs.
A unique partnership created through complementary old and new expertise
SilMach and TIMEX will co-design and co-own PowerMEMS motor boxes, jointly develop PowerMEMS-based movements and share the new collective Intellectual Property. TIMEX and SilMach have agreed to the exclusive design, assembly and distribution of PowerMEMS boxes.
The creation of the joint venture will be unveiled at the Le Bourget air show in Paris, France on the 22 June, 2017. For this occasion, TIMEX created a ‘Paris Le Bourget’ limited edition of its best-selling style, the Waterbury Chronograph. The 200 units limited edition will be numbered and bear both companies’ logos on the case back and will be made in France. The colours of the French flag as well as ‘Le Bourget – Paris 2017′ will feature prominently just above the number six to celebrate the joint venture.
Tobias Reiss-Schmidt, TIMEX Group President and CEO commenting on the new disruptive partnership, stated, “Thanks to our partnership with SilMach, Timex has succeeded in developing yet again a first in the watch industry. Together with SilMach we are disrupting the industry and setting the stage for nano technology. With this development, we are taking revolutionary steps that will dramatically enhance design and function in watchmaking in ways that were previously not thought possible.”
For Patrice Minotti, SilMach CEO, who founded the company in 2003, the creation of this joint venture represents a fundamental step in a creative process that started in 1996, when he oversaw the LIMMS / CNRS joint laboratory at the University of Tokyo, Japan (Laboratory of Integrated Micro Mechanical Systems).
The creation of this joint venture aims at developing both the mass-manufacturing and commercialization of competitive PowerMEMS solutions for the watch industry, uniquely suited for the stringent technological needs of connected watches. Commenting on the creation of the joint-venture, the SilMach CEO says, “The strategic alliance with TIMEX brings SilMach a century-old expertise in watchmaking and complementary know-how essential to create PowerMEMS solutions tailored for the watch industry.”