Watch Case Materials: What You Should Know

Know Your Case

Watch Case Materials

When you’re shopping around for your next watch, you might have an idea of the style and size you want but haven’t paid much attention to the case. The case of the watch refers to the area that holds the dial and hands. The case shape can be anything from a traditional circle to an oval or Tonneau design. Different watchmakers use various styles and types of cases using precious metals, stainless steel, and other materials.

Know Your Case Materials

One of the first things you notice about a watch is the material used to make the case. The most popular case style is stainless steel (SS) because it’s hard to scratch and is easy to refinish. Here’s a quick look at the different types of case materials and how they hold up:

PLATINUM

Rare and hard to find because it’s so difficult to work with

18K GOLD

Available in yellow, rose, and white. 24K is the softest and 18K is 75% gold pure gold

14K GOLD

Very rarely used in Swiss watches, contains 585 parts gold

GOLD PLATE

Very rarely used in Swiss watches, wears off over time exposing base metal

STAINLESS STEEL

Most popular because it’s harder to scratch than gold

TITANIUM

Lightweight and durable material, also hypoallergenic so it’s good for people with metal sensitivity

CERAMIC

Lightweight, man-made material that can only be scratched by a diamond

TANTALUM

Very dense and hard material that doesn’t wear down easily

TUNGSTEN CARBIDE

A dense and strong metal that doesn’t wear down easily

DIAMOND-LIKE CARBON (DLC)

Bonded to the base metal and almost as hard as natural diamond, has a very slick finish

Whether you’re buying a new watch or trying to determine the value of your current one, you need to pay attention to the case material and the quality of the case. Use these labels when listing your watch for sale or trade so the buyer gets an accurate description of your watch.


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