High demands are made on precision and quality in the machining production of many industries. But the watch industry takes it to extremes: Even the slightest neglectfulness and the tiniest visual irregularity can cause a rejection here.
Machining operations in the watch industry must prove their performance capability on a daily basis and for each individual part. A company that adheres to minimum dimension tolerances is not standing out from the crowd, but is merely meeting the basic requirements. Because with watches, particularly the visible surfaces, a visually appealing finish is a decisive factor. This can only be achieved with high-end machinery equipment which is made for this kind of precision and surface quality.
Many small operations from the watch industry have settled in Jurabogen, Switzerland. In 2012, Proart Prototypes S.A. moved here into a new factory in the small village of Les Breuleux, in the Canton of Jura. The company, which originally specialized in the designing of prototypes as a one-man operation using conventional machine tools, now exclusively produces for the "Richard Mille" watch brand. The new plant was acquired after the takeover of the company by the Richard Mille Group, which became independent from other suppliers in this way. This ensures that even their small to very small production orders (which is often the case in the production of high-end watches) are promptly and reliably completed.
Since the start of 2013, 15 different precision machine tools have been in use, finishing parts for one-of-a-kind watches and small series productions of up to a maximum of 300 units. Each year, between 3,000 and 3,500 watches are produced, distributed among approx. 30 different models, in the following way: Richard Mille is responsible for the development and design of the watches; Proart produces watch parts, primarily made of titanium or gold, and performs the initial assembly steps; Guenat S.A. Montres Valgine handles the final assembly.