The ceramic watch has remained a popular choice for watch lovers throughout the years. While new materials are used in modern watchmaking, ceramics remain a staple
So what is a ceramic watch, why are they so timeless and what are the best ceramic watch brands? Discover everything you need to know about ceramic watches with this guide!
What Is A Ceramic Watch?
People associate the word ‘ceramic’ with bathroom tiles, and for good reason; they are made from it. However, the reason for choosing ceramic tiles in your bathroom is much the same reason why watchmakers turned to the material.
It is hard-wearing, and in the right conditions can last for many, many years. But what is ceramic?
In a nutshell, ceramic is any non-organic material that is both solid and non-metallic. Ceramics are made using a mixture of pure materials and metal compounds.
These materials are heated into a liquid and cooled into a particular shape. Clay is commonly used to make ceramics but advances in this area have seen the introductions of materials like zirconia, nitrides and carbides.
One of the main reasons ceramics are used in watchmaking is their hard and non-corrosive nature. To give you an idea of how durable ceramics can be, NASA uses ceramic fibre and coating on its equipment when sending it to space.
However, although hardwearing, ceramics can be brittle which may cause them to shatter if enough force is used against them.
Best Ceramic Watch Brands
Rolex, Omega, Hublot and IWC are all proud users of ceramics in their watches. There isn’t much more of an endorsement for ceramics than having some of the biggest names in the industry backing it up.
Benefits Of A Ceramic Watch
Although often ornate pieces, watches can be put into tough situations just through everyday use. That’s why watchmakers often opt for ceramic watches because they can take a licking and keep on ticking.
Commonly, ceramics are three or four times harder than stainless steel. Plus, they come with the added bonus of being virtually scratch-proof.
Signs of wear and tear after years of regular use are uncommon in ceramic luxury watches. Especially when compared to those made of more delicate materials. This makes it an ideal option for blacked-out watches that highlight any blemish.
Another bonus of using ceramics as a watch material is the weight. Ceramic watches are generally lighter than the competition, even rivalling aluminium for density.
Although commonly used, some metal watches can cause allergic reactions when in contact with a person’s skin. That’s not such a problem with ceramic watches as they are metal-free. This means if you have a nickel allergy they are a great alternative.
Downsides Of Ceramic Watches
While we could wax lyrical about ceramic watches all day, there are some downsides that must also be considered. As we mentioned earlier, ceramics can be brittle which might seem like the opposite of hardwearing.
Ceramic watches can absorb quite a lot of punishment but they become vulnerable if dropped onto a hard surface. This could cause the material to splinter or shatter, which certainly wouldn’t happen with a metal watch.
The process to make ceramic watches is also time-consuming and expensive. The manufacturing cost is passed onto the consumer.
It’s a complicated process of heating and mixing materials to make ceramic watches. Those that opt for ceramics often spend more time sweating over their creation. Once a ceramic watch has been cast it will be polished and smoothed. Failing to polish the watch can make it uncomfortable to wear.
While often more expensive due to the manufacturing process, there are some ceramic watches out there that are more affordable. For instance, the Danish brand Skagen offers ceramic watches at affordable prices.
While great for longevity, there is sometimes a lack of interest in ceramic watches from collectors. Due to the lack of ageing, it’s hard for collectors to feel their vintage watch is as retro as advertised.
Ceramic Watch Durability
You wouldn’t wear your bathroom tiles around your wrist, and advances in ceramic production means you don’t have to. High-tech ceramics are now extremely durable and capable of withstanding high levels of pressure and damage.
Some watchmakers have played around with their ceramic formula to produce some of the hardest-wearing watches around.
Hublot is a great example of a manufacturer mixing things up to bring long-lasting watches to the market using ceramics. Known as Cermet, Hublot’s watches combine ceramics with metals for longer life.
Hublot also developed the hardest-wearing 18-Karat gold watch by using ceramics in its Magic Gold material. Magic Gold is created by filling ceramic pores with 24-Karat gold. Gold fills the cavities and becomes 75% per cent pure, hence why it is 18-Karat gold.
Those looking for a ceramic watch can focus on just the bezel, the case or even the bracelet. If you love it a lot then why not go all out and opt for a full ceramic watch?
Ceramic Vs Steel Watch
One of the main advantages ceramic watches have over steel watches is their heat resistance. They make ideal timepieces for people who work in a kitchen or other hot environments.
Steel watches tend to absorb any nearby heat which can make them uncomfortable to wear. Ceramics, on the other hand, feel cool on the wrist at all times.
Keeping a watch near extreme heat may cause parts to expand and contract. One that offers some heat resistance may be a good thing. Ceramic watches are harder than steel too, so they can withstand additional punishment while still looking box fresh.
While not exclusively made of metal, ceramics can be finished with metallic colours to look just as stylish. Some of the best men’s ceramic watches can stand up to the comparison of metal timepieces thanks to luxurious finishes.
Watches At Uniform Wares
Our watches have been designed in-house at our studio in London. We have carefully crafted minimalist contemporary watches that can be worn for any occasion.
Our modern watch straps come in a variety of materials to suit your style. They come in nitrile rubber, Nappa calf leather, Milanese suede and rose gold. Our Swiss-made timepieces can be shipped worldwide in men’s, women’s and unisex styles.