Carbon fiber tubes, sheets, and prepregs make up most of the inventory of Salt Lake City-based Rock West Composites. Their customers purchase composite products for use in fabricating things like sporting goods and boat hulls. What you might not know is that carbon fiber is an excellent material for replacing aluminum, steel, and other metals in just about any application. The only real prohibition is cost.
What kinds of unusual things are being made with carbon fiber these days? The list is too long to go through, but wristwatches are on that list. Yes, you can now buy a carbon fiber wristwatch from a Japanese manufacturer by the name of TokyoFlash Japan.
The company’s new line of Blade watches uses carbon fiber in a number of creative ways. One thing is for sure; you have probably never seen a watch quite like the Blade. This wristwatch is unique in everything from its visual presentation to the way users tell time. It is all about introducing carbon fiber into an industry that has long been dominated by metals.
About the Blade
The first thing you notice about a Blade wristwatch is the strap. The strap starts with leather that is then covered with a layer of carbon fiber fabric to create a rather unique texture and look. And because carbon fiber fabric is so tough, the strap should last longer than a leather-only alternative.
Moving on to the watch itself, the body is made completely of carbon fiber. The face is also carbon fiber, and it utilizes LED tubes rather than a standard mechanical movement or LCD display. The black of the carbon fiber combined with the color of the LED tubes creates a very striking presentation. Both the design and the placement of the LED tubes offers users three ways to tell the time.
Users can tell the time in Turning Mode by rotating the dial of the Blade surface to get different LED readings for hour and minutes. Alternatively, time can be told in Flashing Mode, a mode that flashes LED tubes to designate hours and minutes. Finally, the Blade can be used in a way that mimics a traditional analog movement. It is all rather fascinating
But Why Carbon Fiber?
The Blade is truly an enthralling timepiece from the perspective of both good looks and technology. But TokyoFlash Japan’s use of carbon fiber as the primary material leads to the question of why. Couldn’t the company have accomplished the exact same thing with less expensive plastics? Absolutely. So the use of carbon fiber has to be about more than cost.
Though the company is not saying, it’s reasonable to assume that the Blade’s carbon fiber design is about producing a high-end wristwatch made of quality materials capable of competing with other expensive watches made with gold, silver, and alloys. Customers buying an expensive luxury watch are not willing to pay a ton of money for cheap plastic.
According to Rock West, there is also something to be said about the strength and integrity of carbon fiber. As a material for wristwatches, carbon fiber is a lot lighter than any other metals but still just as tough. The result is a more comfortable wristwatch that users do not have to worry about breaking.
It is fascinating to see what kinds of uses manufacturers are coming up with for carbon fiber and other composites. Wristwatches are just the start. As time goes on and fabricating processes becomes more sophisticated, we are bound to see a lot more carbon fiber products on the market.