With Halloween around the corner, it's a perfect time to take a close-up look at the watch world's use of "black" in creating watches of substance. Black-clad timepieces are all the rage these days, thanks to their mysterious, and often stealth, look. Depending on the watch, the black color is obtained in a variety of manners. Some brands turn to black materials, such as carbon fiber or black ceramic for their cases and then finish the watch with a black strap. At the high-end of the luxury spectrum, some brands even turn to new high-tech materials that include layered carbon and other sophisticated alloys borrowed from the auto and aviation fields.
Generally, however, black is achieved using either a PVD or DLC process. In PVD — physical vapor deposition — a thin black coating is applied to stainless steel or titanium cases and bracelets. The coating techniques for PVD can vary, and the thickness of the coating can also vary. Typically PVD vaporizes materials using a high-tech vacuum process and then the vaporized material is deposited onto the case or bracelet. The process is carefully monitored and controlled in order to achieve the desired hardness, film structure, depth of color and other features. PVD processes can include ion plating (IP) and Ion Beam Deposition (IBD). The advantages of PVD is that the coating, once applied, adds hardness to the piece and typically won't scratch or corrode.
Diamond Like Carbon, DLC, is another method used, typically at the high-end luxury side, as it is more expensive. In this process, amorphous carbon material is used. It is applied as a coating to the watch and/or bracelet. There are seven different types of carbon coatings, all of which have hybridized carbon atoms in them that endow them with diamond-like properties, including hardness and high sheen. This coating is even more resistant to scratches, abrasions and corrosion. We invite you in anytime to take a close look at our black-clad timepieces.