WATCH TECH

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Bronze cases

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.

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