Watches come in all different shapes, colours and sizes but they are generally made from only a small amount of different materials. I have compiled this list of the materials commonly used in watch manufacture so that you can quickly and easily tell which materials suit your needs best.
Gold is used for luxury watches. There are two main reasons for this; firstly that gold is an expensive material, secondly that it is an extremely soft metal. Gold watches are dress watches, normally purchased for special occasions and are not typically suitable for everyday wear.
Gold Plated Watches
If you fancy a gold watch but want something more practical than a solid gold watch you can opt for a watch with a leather strap and gold case or a gold plated watch. Gold plated watches have the same lustrous colour as gold but come at a fraction of the price. New technology in this field means that instead of layering the gold on top of a base metal it can now be infused into it (by a process known as Physical Vapour Deposition or P.V.D.). This results in a more even spread of colour and longer lasting plating.
Silver is not as expensive or as soft as gold but is still a malleable substance which is why it is used so frequently in jewellery. Silver watches are more durable than gold watches but are more prone to tarnishing. Although this can be rectified by regular cleaning.
Titanium is a lightweight and exceptionally durable material. It has the highest strength to weight ratio of any metal. Anything that is worn on the wrist is likely to take a lot of damage over it’s life, so titanium is an ideal material to make a watch out of. The downside is that it is an expensive material compared to stainless steel, so the cost is often considered prohibitive by watch makers. Although of course there are some great deals available on titanium watches.
Stainless Steel Watches
Stainless steel is the most common of all metals used in the construction of watches. It is strong, resistant to most forms of corrosion and does not easily stain. This combined with its distinctive bright colouring make it an ideal metal to use in watch making. It is commonly used for watch cases whatever the strap type and is a great value for money.
Watches with resin straps are normally designed for serious outdoor use. They are really tough and have the advantage of being both lightweight and water resistant, protecting the delicate workings of the watch. Many children's watches will have a strap made from resin for much the same reasons!
Leather Strap Watches
Leather is used to make watch straps because it is inexpensive, compared to the other products. It also allows for endless customisation. Leather can be dyed any colour. Due to the predominant use of buckles as a fastening leather straps can be made one length and easily adjusted to fit a number of different sized wrists. The downside is that they are nowhere near as long lasting as metal straps and they can get stained fairly easily. Leather straps have an extra advantage of being made from a soft natural fabric, so most people find that they are comfortable to wear. Imitation leather is also available although these straps tend to be cheaper and less durable.
Webbing Strap Watches
Webbing straps are generally the cheapest of the straps on the market. They are commonly made from nylon. They are fairly durable and normally water resistant. They are often used for watches that are designed specifically for outdoor pursuits such as the Sekonda Expose range or for children’s watches.