The St Paul's Watch Case

Posted on October 05, 2013 by Richard Hoptroff

Whispering Gallery, St Paul's Cathedral. City of London, 4th Oct 2013

I'm scared of heights, so I hate being up here.

I'm just to do final checks on our Baroque watch case design, which is modelled after St Paul's Cathedral.  It's not supposed to be an exact likeness. That would look a bit silly on your wrist. It's more intended to evoke the spirit of a London born anew, like the Phoenix statue on its south transept.

So the watch has a columned tambour, like the Cathedral's, and even a whispering gallery on the inner rim, between the dial and the glass.  The straps lugs are in the form of flying buttresses, though that is artistic license, since Saint Paul's has none.

It also reflects a design philosophy to work within the constraints of the media in which we work, and to exploit their strengths.  The whispering gallery would be difficult to achieve without laser sintering, so it is a delight to have a reason to do it. But more to the point, sintering in metal has a constraint: gravity. Unlike additive manufacturing in plastic, in metal you can't suddenly build out sideways - you have to support from underneath, otherwise the new layer will just collapse under its own weight. Much like 17th Century cathedrals.  It's like they naturally want to look like each other - a law of physics dictates it.

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