Watches constructed of stainless steel are as durable as the material itself, even though marble, stone, and iron all break easily. Bands for watches are rarely made of anything besides gold. Occasionally, steel versions of a product will sell for more than its gold equivalent. Learn the backstory of this development and the origins of the stainless steel watch.
Watches constructed from stainless steel are quite popular and widely admired. These sporty yet refined all-stars have worked hard to earn their place in the hearts of fashionistas and watch collectors everywhere. It's hard to imagine a time before stainless steel watches, but their early history wasn't easy.
The success of the stainless steel waterproof watches
Some Rolex models were instrumental in establishing the market for stainless steel wristwatches in the early 1970s. A dedicated following emerged for each specific watch series thanks to the Submariner for scuba divers, the GMT-Master for PanAm pilots, and the Daytona for auto racing. Wristwatches were increasingly commonplace, and those crafted from durable 316L stainless steel had a surge in popularity, cementing their acceptance in polite company. The likes of Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, two of the industry's most prestigious brands, were compelled to react to this trend.
Why Do Some Stainless Steel Models Cost More Than Gold Ones?
Steel versions, with case widths of approximately 40 mm, were first met with some skepticism among customers due to their bigger size compared to the other models that were common at the time and their abrupt pricing parity or even increase with gold models.
The substantial increase in labor needed to work with 316L and 904L stainless steel as a material is the deciding factor in this price convergence, especially for watches with complex bracelets made up of multiple individual parts, like the Rolex GMT-Master on a Jubilée bracelet or the Royal Oak, whose bracelet alone consists of 250 edges, all of which must be ground and polished by hand, an incredibly difficult; task that is truly Sisyphean in nature. There will be more on that, though, in a bit.
We're surrounded by stainless steel
Stainless steel's use in everyday life has skyrocketed in recent years. We use stainless steel goods every day. When compared to other materials used in watchmaking, its corrosion resistance is its greatest benefit. Stainless steel is a significant upgrade over the materials previously used since it increases the value of the stainless steel waterproof watches by improving their appearance and ensuring their durability.
In what ways does steel contribute to the global economy?
Let's get the definition of stainless steel out of the way so we can talk about other things. Despite the widespread use of the phrase "stainless steel," relatively few individuals can explain the characteristics that distinguish some steel as really "stainless."
Regardless of its corrosion resistance, "stainless steel" in the context of metallurgy refers to any steel with exceedingly high purity. However, the word "stainless steel" is typically used to denote steel that does not rust.
This steel, which was patented in Germany and the English-speaking globe at the turn of the twentieth century, is impervious to corrosion and acids.
Surgical steel, commonly known as 316L stainless steel, has replaced all other metals as the gold standard. Being a fundamental component of surgical implements is where the name "sterile" originates from.
This steel is widely used by high-end watchmakers to construct their signature cases and bands. Rolex, on the other hand, has gone above and beyond by using the even more sophisticated 904L metal for their watches, which is supposed to be even more resistant to the effects of salt water and sweat.
Why stainless steel waterproof watches need more care:
After collecting watches for more than three decades, I've developed several rules by which to maintain their quality. Some of these, like not dropping a watch while winding it, I learned the hard way, while others only required common sense or the application of "rules" I found in online maintenance guides. Given the range of perspectives on timepieces, it's not surprising that not everyone agrees on every aspect of care for their watch. If it serves your purposes, then it's fine.
However, here are some suggestions:
While contemporary lubricants are designed to last, they do dry out or become less noticeable with time. A well-oiled watch will keep ticking for a lot longer and more reliably. Lubricants are distributed as the watch is wound, so it's important to do so regularly. You don't need to wind your watches every day; I have dozens of pocket watches and only wind them once a month on average. Watches are often set and adjusted at full wind. An isochronism error occurs when the mainspring unwinds too quickly, and while it is usually minimal, a fully wound watch will keep better time.
Never wind your watch by twisting it on your wrist
As a general rule, most people tilt the crown side of their watch up when using it on their wrist to access the crown. Because of the stress that it places on the stem, I've seen several of them crack.
Don’t let anyone wind your watch
Avoid winding your watch while walking on the street or anywhere else with a harsh surface, now that you'll have to remove it off your wrist. Regulateur Tourbillon dropped on the tile floor of the restroom while I was winding it. Though my treasured watch only sustained minor scratches, my heart must have stopped for a few seconds. We've taken the lesson.
Effectively use your warranty
Without any neglect, IWC guarantees its watches for eight years from the original purchase date. Sending your watch in for "repair" under warranty just before the end of the warranty period is a good idea if you're having minor issues with it and can wait. What that does is effectively add another year to your warranty's duration. As a bonus, this method facilitates a comprehensive resolution of all issues.
You may get the perfect wristwatch for every event if you know the basics of the watch language. Consider these details when you shop for the timepiece of your dreams.