A post-Panama Papers era, transparency is the name of the game. So too it is with watchmaking, as see-through, statement sapphire cases surge in popularity.
Not too long ago, metals reigned supreme when it came to watch cases. Then came an era of exotic, high-tech materials. But one substance proved particularly diffi cult to master: Synthetic sapphire, the material used as crystals for dials and casebacks.
Virtually identical to natural sapphire, synthetic sapphire was fi rst produced at the start of the 20th century, but was not used in watches until the 1960s. Because of its excellent optical properties, superior resistance to scratches, and the unlimited amount that could be produced, synthetic sapphire became the go-to material for watch crystals.