Jewel bearings are a special type of bearings that are usually made up of jewels such as sapphire, ruby, and zirconia. These have metal spindles, which provide the rotational motion. Jewel bearings can easily handle loads up to 500g; hence, these are used in small load applications. These bearings largely help in restraining the direction of motion and reduce the mechanical friction between the moving components. Precious jewels, apart from being visually pleasing, have significant mechanical strength and sturdiness. These jewels are highly resistant to mechanical wear and erosion. Furthermore, these jewels can be machined to extremely close tolerances due to high hardness. This makes them an ideal choice for micro mechanisms and complex linkages. Jewel bearings are largely used in compact mechanical systems such as clock/watches, calibration machines, and ultrasensitive measuring instruments & systems.
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The jewel bearings market is largely driven by growth in the watchmaking industry. Jewel bearings are employed in mechanical watch mechanisms due to several desirable properties of these jewels and bearings. Jewels in the jewel bearings offer high machinability and high dimensional tolerance and precision. Furthermore, these jewels are resistant to abrasion and wear, thus increasing the overall life of the system. These factors make jewel bearings irreplaceable by metal counterparts. The factors mentioned above are the key drivers of the jewel bearing market. On the other hand, these jewels are expensive and rare in the natural form.
Therefore, synthetic jewels are preferred over the former. Furthermore, standard machining techniques cannot be used to achieve dimensional tolerances and precision. Instead, special machining processes such as high-powdered laser cutting, ultrasonic milling, and chemical etching need to be employed. Both the material and process are costly and need skilled labor to manufacture them. These factors are hampering the jewel bearing market. Advancement in technology, especially digital technology, is also hampering the market for mechanical watches.
Based on type of bearing, the jewel bearing market can be segmented into cup bearings, V-bearings, glass V-bearings, and others. These types of bearings are suitable for particular applications across different industries. Based on the usage of jewel, the market can be divided into sapphire, ruby, zirconia, and others. Synthetic jewels such as sapphire and ruby are largely used, as they are cheap and easily available vis-à-vis their natural counterparts. Based on application, the jewel bearing market can be segregated into watches, precision measuring instruments & meters, gyroscopes, and others. Watches is the major segment of the jewel bearings market. It is followed by the measuring instruments & meter segment. Several industries such as aviation, marine, manufacturing, and chemical depend on these bearings for measuring gauges, control panel dials, vernier calipers, and dial gauges.
In terms of geography, the global jewel bearing market can be classified into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Europe is the key market for jewel bearing, due to the extensive usage of these bearings in the watchmaking industry. Switzerland is the prominent user of jewel bearings, led by the presence of the longstanding watchmaking industry in the country. Germany is also anticipated be a lucrative market owing to the manufacture of precise measuring equipment, gyroscopes, and flow meters in the country. Asia Pacific is one of the prominent regions of the jewel bearing market, led by the growth in manufacturing and assembly of watches and precision measurement instruments. The watchmaking industry is thriving in Japan, South Korea, and China. Japan is also a major manufacturer of precision measuring equipment & instruments, flow meters, compasses, and electrical measuring devises.
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Key players operating in the global jewel bearings market include Swiss Jewel Company, Microlap Technologies, Inc., Bird Precision, Moser Company, and Boen M&E Co. Ltd. (Dalian).