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Terms: Watchcase Materials

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Terms | Watch Guide | 06.12.2011

The watchcase is the housing that contains a watch’s movement; pretty simple.  There is, of course, a tremendous amount of variation in watchcase design, from shape to color, and a key element of what determines a watch’s look, feel, durability and price is what material the case is actually made of.  The most common watchcase material is stainless steel, however gold, silver, titanium, platinum and others are also used with varying frequency.  Below are some distinctive characteristics of some of these materials that should help you make a more informed watch purchase.

Stainless Steel: As mentioned, stainless steel is the most common metal used in watchcases.  It is very durable, resistant to discoloration and can be polished to look like more precious metals.  In fact, stainless steel is often used as the case back on watches made of other metals.

Gold: Gold is the second most common material used in watchcases, and is used as plating over a stainless steel base.  It is quite durable, more malleable than stainless steel and can be formulated into three different colors; traditional yellow, pink/rose, or white.  It will also add to the overall cost of a watch.

Titanium: Titanium is strong, light and very resistant to corrosion.  Titanium us especially resistant to corrosion in salt water, making it a popular choice in high-end diver watches.  It is also more difficult to work with than stainless steel, and decidedly more expensive.

Platinum: Chances that a watch made of platinum ever gets reviewed worn&wound…0%. Platinum is extremely durable, heavier than gold, and rare.  As such, it is almost exclusively found in very high-end luxury watches.