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From what I've seen many/most watch manufacturers seem to ignore the case when it come to innovation. The vast majority seem to be happy with just dropping a movement into a simple movement "holder" and they're done.

There are some exceptions that do come to mind for me such as Certina and Vostok where the engineers tried to think outside the box and created functional and different cases, but I feel like they're the exceptions and not the rule.

In Certina's case as part of their DS Concept they encircled the movement in a elastomer ring that cushioned the movement by isolating it from the case thereby protecting it from shocks and impacts. This enabled their watches to survive a six metre drop unharmed.

They also designed their crowns with three o-rings to ensure water resistance. Two in the crown and one on the stem makes them incredibly resistant to water intrusion.

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When it comes to Vostok they have several interesting and different case innovations that are outside regular case design. One is the 2 piece case back that uses a wide sintered rubber gasket that is compressed by the case back and a fixing ring. The interesting thing about this design is that as water pressure increases it presses the case back harder into the case. Basically the deeper you dive the better the WR. The acrylic crystal works in a similar way. As you dive deeper the crystal deforms, spreading outward and improving the seal between it and the case.

Another innovative Vostok design is the "wobbly" crown. The crown is designed with a clutch and when screwed in, disconnects the movement from the case helping to isolate it from shocks
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A third innovative case I thought of while writing this is Formex that design their cases with external suspension system to protect the watch from shock. I'm not familiar with them, but it does look like an interesting design.

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Are there other manufacturers that incorporated some functional and unique engineering into their cases?
 

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Minase are a good option as well, with their modular case construction. Not for shock absorption, but rather looks, finishing and utmost quality.

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Here's an excellent review of the Divido by our very own @singularityseven

 

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Mauron Musy has some neat engineering in their cases for a gasket free case design: Technology

Vero used to have some cool tricks in their piston sealed crown tube design too, before they moved manufacturing to "Switzerland" - Vero x WindUp Granite 38 – Beans & Bezels

Formex's Essence is another interesting case with it's suspension system - Formex Essence Watches

As already mentioned, Minase is absolutely phenomenal with their case design, engineering and finishing.

MING is currently working on the world's lightest watch, and while they haven't stated what material they're using, I suspect it will be Super Magnesium, which is a new material in the commercial sector (previously limited to the Military I believe) - Super Magnesium | Metal Redefined | ALLITE INC

As much as I dislike the Richard Mille aesthetic, their cases have incredible engineering and materials - WATCHCASE ⋅ RICHARD MILLE
 

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Vero used to have some cool tricks in their piston sealed crown tube design too, before they moved manufacturing to "Switzerland" - Vero x WindUp Granite 38 – Beans &
Unless there's some trick that doesn't show up in their press material, there's nothing new or innovative about this. Companies have been using that exact same crown seal arrangement for a long time. The original 62MAS had it over 50 years ago. Omega has been using it numerous models for a long time. There are also variations of the piston seal where the o-ring seals against the inside of the crown tube instead of the outside (Seiko SKX).
 

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Just got a Formex and think their case design is very trick as well.
 

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I was thinking in terms of Visitor or Hamilton Ventura, but those are really more style/design than innovation. The Reverso is a unique case design as well. Would you count Sinn or Damasko hardened steels?
 

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Off the top of my head:
  • Jaeger LeCoutre's Reverso. Hide that crystal from danger by flipping it around.
  • EPSA's super compressor case for dive watches (used by all kinds of companies) using a spring mechanism and some other technology I don't get to increase water resistance as pressure increases plus its got those dual crowns and internal rotating dive bezel.
  • Richard Mille RM 50-03. A split second chonograph with a tourbillion and 70 hour power reserve that weighs 38 grams total requires a pretty wacky and incredibly lightweight case that allows full functionality while also ruthlessly slashing weight in both materials and design. It's also $150,000+ and looks ugly as hell. https://www.richardmille.com/collections/rm-50-03-tourbillon-chronograph-mclaren-f1
 

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Just got a Formex and think their case design is very trick as well.
What's the Formex like? And which model did you get? I've cast more than a few extra glances at their Reef and an other one who's name escapes me at the moment.

Sent fra min SM-G955F via Tapatalk
 

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Unless there's some trick that doesn't show up in their press material, there's nothing new or innovative about this. Companies have been using that exact same crown seal arrangement for a long time. The original 62MAS had it over 50 years ago. Omega has been using it numerous models for a long time. There are also variations of the piston seal where the o-ring seals against the inside of the crown tube instead of the outside (Seiko SKX).
I'm not familiar wit the original 62MAS and the Omegas, but for a $1000 watch to have something nifty like this was impressive. Add to the fact that they were designed and manufactured in the US, it deserves praise. I like the idea of being able to guarantee a water rating even with the crown is pulled it. But I also believe they had some secret sauce in their design, based on my conversation with them last year.

Just got a Formex and think their case design is very trick as well.
Congrats Nokie, which did you get!
 

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I'm not familiar wit the original 62MAS and the Omegas, but for a $1000 watch to have something nifty like this was impressive. Add to the fact that they were designed and manufactured in the US, it deserves praise. I like the idea of being able to guarantee a water rating even with the crown is pulled it. But I also believe they had some secret sauce in their design, based on my conversation with them last year.
I think you're missing the point. Piston sealed crowns aren't new or innovative, and all of them retain some or all water resistance when the crown is out or unscrewed (even though the watch manufacturers won't advertise that). That Certina DS cutaway in the OP shows a piston sealed crown (double piston sealed on the outside of the tube with a backup inside). I'll wager that every WR analog watch you've ever owned has had a piston seal in the crown or crown tube. Vero is likely still using piston sealed crowns.
 

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Then there is Hamilton's ODC X-03 Auto, which Robert Downey Jr. has in his collection.

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