What is exciting about using PLA to 3D print is the incredible variety of color options. The Tourbillon 1000% can be printed with parts in any color, transparent, or can even be designed to glow in the dark. Nicholas mentions that customers ordering the Tourbillon 1000% can technically opt for whatever colors they like, but to make things simple he will offer just one or a few color options unless someone wants something very custom. The colors used for the Tourbillon 1000% are meant to mimic the materials in metal movements including brass, steel, and blued steel. The Tourbillon 1000% is even designed to be taken apart and put back together again.
Everything in the Tourbillon 1000% is 3D printed by Nicholas Manousos except for the bearings, which are taken from skateboards. Seeing the tourbillon work in action is amazing, and the real value to watch lovers is being able to use items such as this not only for decorative art, but to better appreciate how movements work by seeing them in action.
By itself, the Tourbillon 1000% doesn’t do anything unless you apply pressure to the “fourth gear” on the back of it. The Tourbillon 1000% is the first, and most complicated part of a larger movement that Nicholas has been working on. People who purchase the Tourbillon 1000% will later be able to plug it directly in to a larger movement when it is completed. In a sense, it is a taste of what is to come, and it is incredibly cool.
As I mentioned, Nicholas has worked on the Tourbillon 1000% for three years and due to some great press on the technology side has sold a series of them which he is in the midst of producing (albeit slowly given that it takes two weeks for each). He said that he is going to dedicated his time equally between producing orders as well as finishing up the rest of the movement. In the future, Manousos will continue by designing more movements and additional complications. Eventually, he would like to produce complete wrist watch-sized movements using 3D printing technology. In many ways Nicholas is now one of the world’s foremost authorities when it comes to how 3D printing and horology intersect.
He is trying to spread his knowledge due to a love of timekeeping and mechanics with his participation in the over 100-year-old New York Horological Society. The promise of 3D printing when it comes not only to the watchmaking enthusiast, but to the watch industry in general, is something that cannot be denied. Manousos informs me that 3D printing is no longer limited to just plastic. Even types of metal can be 3D printed. As someone who is seriously invested in the development of 3D printer technology I look forward to speaking with him in a few years to see how far we have come.
Nicholas doesn’t want to make any promises as to when his full 3D printed movement will become available. There are always unforeseen technical delays, but he does assure me that the tourbillon was the hardest part to get right. Hopefully, in just a couple more years, the full Nicholas Manousos 3D printed watch movement will be complete and ready for sale.
Currently, the Tourbillon 1000% movement, which takes two weeks of Nicholas’s time each and over three years of development, costs $3,000. It comes in a Pelican hard-case and is undeniably cool. Nicholas wants to reward those who invest in the tourbillon right now by offering them a yet to be finalized discount on the final complete movement that will be released in a few years. The anticipated price of the full movement (which will of course tell the time) when it is ready will be about $10,000, and even at that price it is something I am eagerly waiting to see. If you love movements or mechanics of any kind these are very cool. nicholasmanousos.com