The pressure to innovate in the watch industry is big-sagging sales remains only escape in models with extremely high innovation and thus recognition for many manufacturers. Almost an inflationary models from ceramic have conquered in the past few years the watch market. The glossy or Matt case in black, white or grey, enjoy high popularity, because the material is extremely hard and scratch-resistant. Ceramic may be the secret of eternal beauty-almost like one’s coffee tableware is used by Grandma’s.
Rolex GMT and fragments of the Cerachrom bezel.
Actually both materials have one thing in common. Ceramic or porcelain, the materials are extremely hard. But also brittle: drops the Cup on the floor, it brings happiness – and shards. This also applies to high-tech ceramic watch case. Like the watch industry would waive experiences of the kind of fragmented: in forums, number of victims increasing friends. The costs, however, are huge: new housing look like with half the new price of the respective clock to beech.
The material is usually zirconium oxide ceramics. The base material dates back to the 16th century, when Martin Klaproth discovered the zirconium. In the context of his analysis of German chemists researched the backgrounds of the chemical element from the class of metals. A chemical change is necessary to the processing of the metal: the burning. Thus also the gap to the ceramic is done, it must be burned. The process of burning ensures the absorption of oxygen, zirconium dioxide is formed. Thus, the raw material for the tough watches is found. It takes however in the 1970s, where the two pioneers began with the research and development of RADO and IWC. in 1986, the DiaStar integral is presented by RADO, with a bracelet made of scratch resistant ceramic components. Three years later managed the manufacturing of case and Crown, the DiaStar Ceramica was born.
In the fall of 1986 IWC introduced the da Vinci in black. The ceramic case with Goldappliken was difficult to manufacture, but quickly set a trend. Also the high recognition provided a success story which continues today at Omega, Panerai, Hublot, or Rolex. Processed by pressing or moulding. At the subsequent back – or sintering process, the components are compressed and processed at extremely high temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees. The more modern method is the CIM, ceramics injection molding. The injection moulding process allows for special housing forms and profiles. Later, the ceramic is polished and receives their final look.
Whole body or only lunettes: The ceramic material will be bought like and the hard material provides the clock makers supposedly only benefits. All examples shown here in this post by watch owners affected by housing damage caused by fall or impact, which were each not overly strong. A head of about 60 centimetres would leave in a housing made of steel or titanium depending on the surface a small dent or Groove. Ceramic however jumps, the casing is irretrievably broken. The cost of repairs are doing immense. When an Omega Speedmaster the price for the housing is dark side of the Moon Exchange included more than 50 percent of the total clock – mind you in new condition! Applied for a used watch the damage is much greater.
At full force, it should be so clear that ceramic material is also brittle. Where other materials be merely a deformation, ceramic will always jump or break. That should keep buyers and admirers in mind: stone floors, parquet, door edges and the like can end badly. So the materials are not quite ideal as the industry would like to believe…
(The image rights belong to their respective owners. In the course of writing the image material was used from different sources, to document real-world cases.)