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Swiss Watchmaker Uses SolidWorks To Transform Complexity Into An Art Form

There’s no such thing as “too complicated” in Franck Muller’s world, and if there were it would be a compliment. The Swiss watchmaker celebrates complexity, layering one component on another to create some of the world’s most expensive and sought-after timepieces.

Franck Muller uses SolidWorks ® CAD, SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, and SolidWorks Simulation software as its primary design platform for combining 21 st century engineering with classical features such as repeaters and tourbillions – rotating enclosures that compensate for gravity’s effect on the mechanism. Franck Muller’s Aeternitas Mega 4 Grande Sonnerie Westminster Carillon watch was the most complex wristwatch ever designed when it was created in 2009. It packs 1,483 individual elements, 205 sub-assemblies and 36 “complications,” or added features, into a space small enough to fit on a customer’s wrist.

“The movements in this watch are so precisely packed in a small space that it would not have been possible to have a clear overview of how the mechanisms function within the allotted space without SolidWorks 3D design tools,” said Franck Muller R&D Engineer Jean Pierre Golay.

SolidWorks software enabled Franck Muller engineers to shorten the design cycle by 40 percent and cut development costs by 60 percent. During development of the Aeternitas Mega 4, SolidWorks helped reduce design errors by 30 percent.

“Once the size of the watch is defined, the challenge is to figure out a way to design the various mechanisms to fit and function within the case,” Golay said. “This challenge becomes increasingly difficult when developing complicated movement. SolidWorks software not only allows us to visualize individual components but also to simulate the motion of components and mechanisms, so we can avoid interference errors.”

Franck Muller chose SolidWorks solutions for their ease of use, advanced design and simulation capabilities, and seamless integration between the CAD, simulation and product data management applications.

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