Watch materials

Every year watchmakers strive to create innovative designs using the latest technology and highest quality materials. When choosing your watch, it is imperative to consider the materials for the case, strap and crystal. Here are some of the most popular watch materials:

Stainless steel is the most popular watch material. Stainless steel prevents tarnishing and discoloration so your watch looks great for longer.

Gold-plated watches give the appearance of solid gold without the expense. Depending on the brand of watch, the thickness of the plating will vary. Rose gold-plated is fast becoming a popular choice among fashion watches thanks to brands such as American fashion label Michael Kors

Precious metals such as platinum, silver and 9ct and 18ct gold in yellow, white and rose also play their part as a watch material.

Ceramic has become an increasingly strong theme over the last few years at Baselworld. Not only does it consist of a sleek and polished finish, it is also durable and extremely scratch resistant. Watchmakers such as Rado and Emporio Armani have introduced ceramic to the market, particularly white ceramic, which has become a popular watch material for women thanks to its unique look and designer cachet. However, it can be found in many other colours (such as spring green and black), which can make for a great signature piece.

Resin, which feels like plastic or rubber, is another great material used by brands for cases.

Titanium is a newer choice that is becoming popular because it's as durable as stainless steel but not as heavy on the wrist. Titanium is hypoallergenic; this is worth taking into account if you have metal and chemical allergies.

Choosing your style of watch band

An essential key material to contemplate when choosing your watch is the band. Bands commonly come in two forms: the bracelet and the strap. Bracelets are made of interlocking metal links, usually in the same material as the case. Bracelets can be resized by adding or removing links. At Ernest Jones we can adjust the bracelet link to fit your wrist perfectly, so pop into your local store and ask for more information. Straps come in a variety of materials, for example: leather, rubber, plastic and fabric. Sports watches often require a tougher, more durable material to compete against outdoor activities, making rubber or nylon a common choice.

Choosing a watch crystal

The watch crystal is the transparent covering of glass, plastic or synthetic colourless sapphire crystal that is used to protect the dial of the watch. Acrylic crystal is made from a type of clear plastic and is not commonly seen in modern watches. It is the least expensive but may scratch if not carefully looked after. Mineral glass is the most common type of crystal as it is relatively hard wearing, great value for money and more resistant to scratches.

Sapphire crystal-which is not made from an actual sapphire – is found mostly on luxury watch brands such as Cartier, Tag Heuer and Breitling. Its toughness also makes it suitable for sports watches and is three times as hard wearing as mineral glass.

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