The New Black

As watch­mak­ers ad­vance their art, it’s not just the move­ments that ben­e­fit. Sean Li ex­am­ines the tech­ni­cal de­vel­op­ments and ma­te­ri­als that keep cases at the cut­ting edge

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style -

o into any watch bou­tique to­day and you’re likely to see watches in steel, ti­ta­nium or pre­cious met­als. There’s also a good chance you’ll see time­pieces with cases formed from es­o­teric ma­te­ri­als. The most likely al­ter­na­tive to a tra­di­tional steel or gold case is a black one, and there are many ways of achiev­ing such a case. It’s dif­fi­cult to say when the trend started, but it has cer­tainly caught on, as if it was a right of pas­sage for most mod­ern watch­mak­ers, even ones with a very clas­si­cal her­itage.

The most straight­for­ward way to achieve the ef­fect is with a coat­ing—phys­i­cal vapour de­po­si­tion (PVD) or di­a­mond-like car­bon (DLC). I won’t get into the tech­ni­cal­i­ties; suf­fice it to say, PVD pre­ceded DLC, and both are used to coat a metal, gen­er­ally steel,


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