There are many details to consider when buying a watch. Complications, features and style are amongst the first factors people consider however it is important to be aware of what the watch itself is made out of. The case material can add so much to the model of your choice. Whether you’re looking for something sturdy and lightweight or a watch that looks luxurious and sophisticated, the case can tie in the design beautifully and help you achieve that desired look. Below we have broken down and explained the difference between the various case materials for watches so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing your next timepiece.
Stainless steel is probably the most commonly used material used in manufacturing watch cases. Stainless steel is an iron-based alloy which on average includes around 11% chromium. This makes it resistant to corrosion and resistant to heat, meaning the case will not warp when submitted to high temperatures. Stainless steel is low maintenance and easy to clean. Its resistance to corrosion and its fairly durable structure make it a popular choice for watch case. This material, however, is still susceptible to scratches so maintenance might be needed to buff the scratches out if they are not too deep.
A beautiful elegant model by Baume & Mercier. The 40mm dial round case is made of stainless steel. The combination of steel and navy alligator leather for the strap gives this model a distinctly contemporary look with subtle classic undertones. Its silhouette is clean and the stainless steel adds to the more traditional design of the model. Silver indices complement the matt white dial. Features on this model include a date aperture are the 3 o’clock position.
Titanium is a hardwearing and durable material. Used in mechanics, medicine, jewellery and even in nuclear waste storage. Due to its chemically inert nature titanium is hypoallergenic and ideal for use in jewellery and watchmaking. It is also corrosion-resistant, strong and durable. The titanium ensures the watch case remains lightweight. The material is however not as strong as some heat-treated steel.
The titanium case and bracelet are a good fit for this incredible diving watch by Sinn. With its high corrosion resistance in fresh, salt or chlorine-treated water, titanium is an ideal choice for a diving watch. It makes the model more lightweight and comfortable to wear underwater as well as offers high durability for everyday wear. The model features a cushion-shaped case and a screw-down crown for higher water resistance. A diver’s bezel and black dial which contrasts the luminescent white indices and large hands also feature on the timepiece for ease of reading underwater.
Ceramic is a fairly new material to the watchmaking industry. The type of ceramic we are talking about is similar to the ones used in medicine and by NASA. The material is inorganic and does not contain any metals. It can, however, be mixed with metals to alter its properties. Due to no metals being present in its composition, ceramics is very gentle to the skin and is hypoallergenic. It is a highly durable and scratch-resistant material. Its structure also makes it very lightweight and versatile. Brands such as Rado have taken full advantage of this and are constantly innovating new colours and launching new materials derived from ceramics.
The True Automatic high-tech ceramic is a model with an ultra-futuristic look but with a very traditional silhouette. The case and bracelet are made of Rado’s signature high-tech ceramic. The material quickly adapts to the skin’s temperature for extra comfort during wear. Due to its flexibility, the high-tech ceramic has allowed for the creation of the now characteristic of the brand monobloc case. The design is mostly monochrome black. A set of rose gold hands and indices contrast the black dial. Features on the model include a subtle date aperture.
DLC or Diamond-like carbon is actually not a material but a coating. DLC coating can be applied to any metals but it is usually applied to titanium or steel. Even though it is not a material we have mentioned it as it enhances the properties of the base material. DLC is highly durable due to its structure and is scratch-resistant. The coating is 5 times harder than steel. Due to these properties, it is often applied to tool watches to increase the timepieces resistance to wear and tear while still keeping the more cost-effective base case material.
The Garmin Fenix 6 is a high-tech smartwatch with a range of capabilities and features. The case is made of fibre-reinforced polymer and is coated with black DLC. The coating increases the model’s durability while keeping it lightweight and comfortable. The strap is made of heathered black nylon. Garmin is well known for making highly durable tool and sports watches and the Fenix 6 Pro is a perfect example. To increase durability the dial is protected by a sapphire crystal and the bezel is made of titanium. The model includes GPS and other global satellite navigation systems. It has a host of biometric sensors, preloaded workouts and sports activities, compass, barometer, altimeter as well as the possibility of storing up to 2000 songs amongst other features.
Which one of the case materials for watches do you prefer when choosing a piece for yourself? Let us know in the comments down below.