Did You Know?In 1986, Rado introduced the use of high-tech ceramics in watchmaking!
Present-day watchmaking technology uses high-tech engineering ceramics. Ceramics consist of a broad spectrum of materials, which include glass, silicon, graphite, and diamond. Engineering ceramics are made of extremely pure materials, such as zirconium oxide, carbides such as titanium carbide and tungsten carbide, and nitrides.
Ceramics can withstand extreme heat and fire, water, and friction. For example, ballistic armored vests are made of high-tech ceramic such as alumina and boron carbide. Similarly, ceramics are used in aeronautics and for making brake discs for race cars.
Scratch and Wear Resistance
Being extremely hard, high-tech ceramic does not lose material because of prolonged use and friction, as compared to other wristband materials. One of the most alluring features of ceramic is its scratch resistance, thereby, making it a suitable material for making watch bands. Ceramic wrist watches and bands can go scratch-free for several years and still look as good as new. Resistance tests have been conducted with Fine Ceramics, wherein the advanced ceramics were compared with metals. During the test, glass beads were continuously pelted at high speeds on both the materials and for several hours. The results showed that ceramics had only 10 percent of amount of abrasion sustained by the metals.
Hard and Tough
The study of ceramic microstructures through ceramography has revealed that the Knoop hardness of most oxide ceramics ranges between 10 - 15 GPa (gigapascals), whereas carbide ceramics usually have a hardness of 20 Gpa. That being said, hardness does not mean that the material is tough as well. Fortunately, ceramics are not only extremely hard but also tough, which gives them the ability to resist cracks. The toughness of ceramics such as zirconia is exceptionally high at 13 MPa (megapascals) as compared to other ceramics that have toughness ranging between 2 - 4 Mpa. Therefore, it can be ascertained that advanced ceramics have extreme hardness which allows them to be used as high-performance tools for cutting even metal. Nonetheless, really expensive ceramic watch bands have been known to smash into smithereens after falling on hard concrete and tiled surfaces, which necessitates using these watches with great caution.
Ceramic wristbands do not corrode, thus, not being vulnerable to rusting and discoloration. Secondly, being completely inert, ceramic wristbands are a wonderful alternative for people who suffer from skin allergies that are triggered by metal wristbands. Secondly, ceramic bands are neither affected by temperature changes nor by heat, cold, or moisture.
Ceramics are preferred for making watch bands because this material drastically reduces the weight of the overall watch. The density of stainless steel ranges between 7.75 g/cc to 8.05 g/cc (gram/cubic centimeter), whereas the density of ceramics ranges between 3 - 6 g/cc. However, the density of titanium is more or less the same as ceramics at 4.5 g/cc.
Knowing the toughness and wear resistance of ceramics, it should come as no surprise that ceramic watch bands are exceptionally durable and can last for decades with proper care. This material does not need much maintenance, such as polishing, since ceramic has a natural shine. Even if the band chips off, the color of the ceramic remains uniform both on the outer and inner surface. Simply cleaning the band with a damp cloth is more than enough for keeping it grime-free. Secondly, unlike synthetic, leather, and fabric watch bands, ceramic bands are not vulnerable to stain and discoloration.
Not only do ceramic watches and bands look classy and aesthetic, they are smooth and comfortable to wear too. The only downside is that these watches tend to be rather expensive; however, the durability and longevity assured by ceramic watches make them a worthy investment.