We suspected as much but, as always, the exhibitors had their fingers on the pulse, with most of them voting for STS to win the EPHJ 2021 Exhibitors’ Grand Prize. The company’s innovation, a credible alternative to rhodium in light of soaring prices, immediately found its market. STS (Saulcy Traitement de Surface) anticipated and responded to this price surge by developing an innovative alternative for which a patent is now pending.
Rhodium is used as an anti-scratch finish for jewellery, especially white gold, but soaring prices have had unfortunate consequences for the watchmaking industry in particular. A rhodium layer is applied to several parts of the watch movement, especially to the ébauche (blank). STS spent one year developing and testing two alternatives to rhodium in the laboratory. Of these two alternatives, platinum is the most efficient. Using platinum, it is possible to produce large quantities of a coating with the same technical specifications and colour as rhodium.
After winning the Grand Prix at EPHJ, this alternative went on to quickly find a market. “Several manufacturers have expressed their interest and have tested our innovation,” reveals STS co-CEO Frédéric Saulcy. “The tests were conclusive and validated our solution, which produced a similar result to rhodium. For an SME like ours, it is always extremely encouraging when one of our innovative solutions fulfils a market need and immediately leads to orders. It is also a real source of satisfaction to be recognised by our peers, as was the case when we received the Exhibitors Grand Prix at EPHJ!“