Why Silicon?

Silicon is a chemical element classified as a metalloid, meaning it has properties in between those of metals and nonmetals. It is very common, being the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust. It is also very common in electronics, the chips in your smartphone and computer are made from it. Today, silicon is becoming more and more prevalent in mechanical watches. It is antimagnetic, both harder and lighter than steel, and can be fabricated with nanometer precision. It is the material watchmakers have been dreaming of for centuries.

Firehouse Horology manufactures silicon parts, including hairsprings and escapements, by using plasma tools to precisely etch silicon wafers. The silicon wafers are prepared with a lithographic mask that is applied using high resolution lasers. Finally, a coating is applied using a specialized plasma deposition technique resulting in strength and durability that far exceeds previous generation silicon parts.

Patents


Silicon wafers with differing oxide thicknesses to produce vibrant colors.

Silicon wafers with differing oxide thicknesses to produce vibrant colors.

Silicon wafer with lithographic mask, before the plasma etching process.

Silicon wafer with lithographic mask, before the plasma etching process.