Luxury and additive manufacturing

Located in the Vallée de Joux, KIF Parechoc has a unique know-how in mechanical watch components. The company, a subsidiary of the Acrotec Group, supplies shock absorbing systems, ratchets and barrels for the big names in the Swiss and European watchmaking industry. Always on the lookout innovation, the company today unveils its partnership with AddUp, a joint venture created by the Michelin and Fives groups, a French specialist in metal 3D printing for industry, which designs and manufactures machines and has its own workshops for the production of parts.

The first project resulting from this collaboration is a watch clasp. For this project, we started with a classic product but we integrated new aspects, such as lattice structures, organic shapes or indented markings,” explains Yoann Canon, industrial director of KIF Parechoc. “We are now working on the development of new post-treatment processes, adapted to market requirements. The interest in collaborating with AddUp is a technological evidence if we combine their mastery of 3D printing and our knowledge of products, their industrialization and finishing operations.”

The watch clasp is made of low carbon 316L stainless steel. This material, commonly used in the field of watch casings, is known for its good mechanical properties as well as its high resistance to corrosion, two essential elements in the making of a watch,” comments Dr Maria Averyanova, in charge of luxury market development at AddUp. From an aesthetic point of view, 316L steel does not lose its shine or tarnish over time, and it has the added advantage of being fully recyclable.”


The partnership between Kif Parechoc and AddUp concerns the use of laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) machines. This technology consists of producing parts in successive horizontal layers, each layer being obtained by spreading a bed of metal powder, then each layer is obtained by spreading a bed of metal powder and then solidifying the desired areas with a laser. There are many advantages: savings in raw materials, geometric complexity, and improved part performance (better heat exchange, for example). In the case of watchmaking parts, KIF Parechoc will be able to take advantage of the

In the case of watch parts, KIF Parechoc will be able to take advantage of the possibility of printing several parts in a single operation, reducing assembly operations. “On the watch clasp, we have reduced the number of components to be assembled by a factor of two compared to equivalent products made using conventional techniques,” says Yoann Canon.

Moreover, if KIF Parechoc has associated itself with AddUp, it is also because the French specialist in metal additive manufacturing has developed a machine capable of using metal powders of fine granulometry, the new generation FormUp 350 TM. These fine powders make it possible to produce complex parts without supports (these structures that hold the parts during printing, but which must be machined after production) and also to obtain precise parts, with less rough surfaces than with most machines on the market. Thanks to KIF Parechoc’s know-how in surface treatments, these characteristics will give rise to parts and mechanisms that are totally new in the world of watchmaking.


Indeed, even if metal 3D printing has developed strongly in recent years, it is still most often used for the manufacture of “classic” mechanical parts. The micromechanics industry has little or no interest in it, for the reasons of precision and surface finish mentioned above. But thanks to the innovations proposed by AddUp and KIF Parechoc, both in the optimisation of the process and in the post-processing of the parts, this partnership could open the way to new applications of metal additive manufacturing, in the watch industry and more generally in and more generally in the entire microtechnology and micromechanics industry.

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