Watchmakers have always tried to push the boundaries of watchmaking with ever new ideas and innovations inside the micro machine movements; now the exterior of the watch is getting the same treatment. Watch cases have slowly been making advances through the years from gold to: titanium, ceramic, tungsten carbide and carbon. This year, new materials hit the trade shows and fairs that are ingenious combinations, like “carbonium” – a fusion of carbon fiber and epoxy to create a marbled substance with a bit of an iridescent sheen.
Another new material is “carbon glass”; a combination of carbon and blue glass that’s 100 times harder than steel but so light that it could float on water. Other combinations introduced this year were “Ceratanium”, a ceramic/titanium hybrid that combines the “lightness and toughness of the metal with the smooth aesthetic and scratch-proofness of ceramic.” But perhaps the most exciting is Hublot’s use of sapphire crystal fused with copper and aluminum oxide. Preserving the beneficial properties of sapphire, the new Spirit of Big Bang watch has a yellow hued transparent sapphire crystal case that is as hard and scratch resistant as diamond but as light at titanium and it is undeniably new, intriguing and bold. Where will watch manufacturers go next?