Bamford and Black Badger make Zenith watch from nuclear reactor superconductor cable


London-based Bamford Watch Department has unveiled a third watch made in collaboration with Black Badger, a designer and manufacturer that specializes in discovering materials that have never before been considered for making watches and jewelry.

The latest co-produced piece, the BWD X BB Zenith El Primero Superconductor, has a case made from a cross section of superconductor cable that is usually used for powering energy-guzzling machines like MRI machines, particle accelerators and even nuclear reactors.

BWD founder George Bamford explains the science. “There are many variations and types but the superconductor we have used for this collaboration is comprised of a tight orientation of silver metal and copper housing. There is a fantastically organised network honeycomb aesthetic. However, when angles and curves are introduced to the metal a brilliant high-tech woodgrain array is revealed,” he describes.


“You can expose the finished superconductor piece to a special acid that will eat away the copper but leave the niobium structure untouched. This gives a highly dramatic, skeletonised effect with unrivalled contrast,” he adds.

The honeycomb structure gives the material a striking high-tech look, and when the material is cut across the grain at an angle, the structure takes on a futuristic type of woodgrain effect.

This effect is lifted by immersing the watch case in a special acid bath that has been formulated to etch away at the copper material but not the niobium. This causes an almost dystopian future decay appearance that will be different from every angle viewed,” Black Badger explains.

Limited to just 20 pieces, the watch goes on sale on August 17 at Bamford Watch Department’s website for £14,500 (around $18,500).

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