John Kang | Liquidmetal and Swatch – Ahead of Their Time
John Kang, Liquidmetal observer. The bulk metallic glass alloy, first revealed to the public by researchers at Caltech, was first used in sporting goods. More than a decade later, John Kang sees Liquidmetal in more applications than ever before. As long as there is a need for fine metal parts for electronics and other applications, Liquidmetal is the ideal material, thanks to its unique properties that make it sturdy yet precise. As a result, manufacturers from different industries are starting to discover the potential benefits that Liquidmetal brings to the table.
One collaboration that excites John Kang Liquidmetal and the Swatch Group’s exclusive license agreement. The agreement has been in place since 2009, and since then, Liquidmetal parts have been an integral part of Swatch timepieces. The Swiss company, which owns premium brands including Omega, Breguet, Rado, Tiffany & Co., Tissot, and Longines, is the world’s largest watchmaker, and had revenues exceeding 6 billion Swiss francs in 2010. Image Source: Phys.org
Because of the increased demand for precision watches, Swatch is on the lookout for quality materials that would not only maintain the quality of their products, but would also help keep manufacturing costs constant, says industry observer John Kang. Liquidmetal, because of its precision molding capabilities, reduces the need for CNC milling machines and reduces the time needed to produce a certain part. At the same time, Liquidmetal is proof that precision parts do not have to be easily damaged. In fact, Liquidmetal has outperformed titanium and similar metals in stress tests.
In 2009, John Kang Liquidmetal being used for the first time in the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, the Swatch Group’s flagship product for seafarers, divers, and serious watch collectors. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean requires a specialized metal alloy that will keep it shape underwater and stay free of corrosion, and Liquidmetal meets both requirements easily. Liquidmetal’s low critical cooling rate allows it to be combined with polished ceramic, contributing to the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean’s timeless, classic appearance. Because it does not scratch nor rust away, Liquidmetal keeps its appearance, whether polished or brushed, for years.
In 2015, actor Daniel Craig, known for his portrayal of James Bond, visited the Omega facilities in Switzerland, where he was impressed by the engineering and craftsmanship that went into each Omega timepiece. Omega and the James Bond franchise have been together for more than two decades, says John Kang, Liquidmetal, with its polished exterior and tough composition, is the perfect alloy to go into Agent 007’s watches. For the movie Spectre, the 24th installment in the long-running film series, Daniel Craig wore an Omega Seamaster 300 Limited Edition watch, of which only 7,007 pieces were produced.
The Swatch Group and Liquidmetal are constantly collaborating to produce timepieces that are timeless, both in appearance and performance. For John Kang, Liquidmetal in Omega watches is proof that diamonds are not the only thing that are forever – a modern alloy, molded and polished with precision, is also worthy of making that claim.