As we continue on the journey we started this month to understand the different materials used in watchmaking, today we shine the spotlight on ceramic and aluminium.
Engineered ceramic is lightweight, durable, scratch proof and can hold up in any weather conditions, including being exposed for long periods to saltwater. The material is a blend of oxides, carbides, nitrates and zirconium that are engineered to become a long-lasting, impressive material. It is often used as a watch bezel or as a bracelet. Depending on the watch brand, the level of sophistication of the ceramic can vary. It can be developed with stronger material, such as aluminum and carbon fiber, and can be made in black, white or other colors. All ceramic is made via an extreme heating and cooling process, and the finished product must be worked using diamond bits.
When using the ceramic as links for a bracelet, some brands insert steel as a base metal before applying the ceramic. Top-quality engineered ceramics can withstand extreme temperatures, are hypoallergenic and resistant to scratches. In its finished form, ceramic has a high sheen that makes it lustrous and attractive.
Aluminium, as its name implies, is a derivative of aluminum. The high-tech alloy is used by watch brands to offer new material options. It is lightweight and can be made in a multitude of colors, making it a highly prized material for accents on dials and as bezels. However, it is also prized by fashion and affordable watch brands for its ultra light weight and is sometimes formed into a watchcase by these types of brands. It is an affordable material to use and relatively easy to work with. Its advantages are comfort on the wrist and cool appeal. It is, however, not as durable as certain other high-tech materials.