Bronze might not seem an obvious material from which to make a watch case, but it has been used surprisingly often over the decades – and seems to be catching on again.
Three years ago, Panerai launched its 1950 3 Days Bronzo, said to be inspired by some of the bronze fittings on the firm’s vintage sailing yacht, Eilean. Panerai had, however, experimented with the alloy in 1985 for a prototype watch that was eventually produced in titanium.
Three years later another maker, Gérald Genta, created a bronze piece called the Gefica, which was marketed as a hunting watch because, among other things, it wouldn’t reflect sunlight.
Various factors make bronze watches appealing, not least that they develop a unique patina over time and offer an almost instant ‘vintage’ look. One of the most talked about launches at the Baselworld show in March was Tudor’s new version of its Vintage Black Bay (pictured), which gets a 43mm bronze case and an in-house chronometer movement. It costs `2,64,994*, a price that highlights some other benefits of bronze – it’s inexpensive and easy to work with.