It’s a testament to the watchmaking industry’s dedication to peak performance that it borrows so often from aerospace engineering. Short of handing a mechanical watch to a 3-year-old for an hour, going faster and higher into the wild blue yonder is a simple test of man and material against which few standards can compare for brutality.
At the same time, it’s refreshing to learn that the technology transfer is not one-way. By developing expertise in titanium, Citizen Watch of Japan has just won its slot in the second space race to the moon that is currently warming up.
On 27 Aug, Citizen and Ispace, Inc., a lunar exploration company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, jointly announced Citizen’s appointment as Corporate Partner of HAKUTO-R, the world’s first commercial lunar exploration program. In this capacity, Citizen will apply its Super Titanium technology to strengthen the titanium components used in the HAKUTO-R lunar lander and lunar rover.
Citizen is a pioneer in leveraging titanium’s lightweight, hypoallergenic and corrosion-resistant properties when it launched the world’s first wristwatch in solid titanium in 1970. Since then, it has developed new technologies to make titanium – a very soft metal in its natural state – more suited for the requirements of watchmaking. Its Super Titanium watches are made from titanium treated with its proprietary suite of Duratect surface-hardening technologies that include ion plating, cold plasma, gas hardening and duplex coating. The result is Super Titanium that is 5x harder and 40 percent lighter than stainless steel.
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