Have you been curious about ceramic watches? If so, you’re not alone. They’re among the most sought-after and intriguing alternative watch types on the market, so let’s take a closer look at what makes them tick, the pros and cons, and if they’re right for you.
What Are Ceramic Watches?
Ceramic watches are watches that have been fashioned from inorganic and nonmetallic materials. These can involve any number of mixtures of pure materials and compounds along with alloys. Chemicals such as silica are typically superheated, cooled, and then milled and polished. This can also result in a wide range of color changes.
Unlike the “ceramics” you might expect from a vase, these types of ceramics are used by organizations such as NASA for the construction of their satellites. In the past, ceramic fibers were used for parts of its space shuttles. This was done in part because these fibers were very heat resistant, making them a good choice for insulating the craft.
Pros of Ceramic Watches
1. More Resistant to Wear
One of the most important things to look for in a watch is how sturdy it is. Watches can make for fantastic investments, gaining in value with each passing year as they become rarer and more sought after. However, that will only happen if your watch is in good condition. If it’s smashed to pieces, it can go from priceless to worthless in a flash.
Thankfully, ceramic watches hold their long-term value quite well, in large part because they are more resistant to wear and tear than many other watch materials.
2. Lightweight Build
If you have ever tried wearing a metallic watch before, you know that the bands and dials can be surprisingly heavy. However, that’s not a problem with ceramic watches. The ceramic material from which these watches are made tends to be quite lightweight, weighing as little as two grams and rarely getting above six grams. For comparison’s sake, a heavy duty stainless steel watch can easily meet or exceed eight grams.
3. Heat Resistant
If you live in a desert or tropical climate, you know the temperature can spike, which can in turn mean your watch suddenly becoming uncomfortably hot against your wrist. However, ceramics aren’t conductors the way metals such as stainless steel and titanium are, meaning these watches are both heat resistant and thus more comfortable for those in hotter climates. If these materials are good enough to insulate the space shuttle, they’re good enough to keep your wrist cool in summer heat.
4. Hypoallergenic Nature
One of the most potentially frustrating things to have to deal with when wearing a metal watch is the fact that they can wear and rust over time. While rust is obviously a major concern from an aesthetic and functionality standpoint, it can also be hugely problematic for you personally, since having rust pressed right up against your wrist is a good way to irritate your skin. By contrast, ceramic watches do not typically rust, so they do not have this problem.
5. Black Watches
If you are a particular fan of black watches, you are bound to like ceramic options. The material is a natural fit for black given the fact that it does not fade easily. As described above, unlike many other materials, it doesn’t wear out easily, making it easier for it to stay blacker longer. This combined with the natural sheen of the ceramic material gives it a sleek appearance that pairs perfectly with blackness.
Cons of Ceramic Watches
1. Hard to Manufacture
These watches aren’t just pumped off an assembly line. A delicate heating balance needs to be maintained during their manufacture, and the surface often requires extra smoothing and polishing to get the sheen ceramic watch fans know and love. As a result, these watches are more costly to produce and rarer as a result compared to certain mass produced watch counterparts.
2. Can Be Brittle
As noted, one of the big appeals of ceramic watches is that they wear a lot better on average than their stainless steel counterparts. However, this mostly applies to them being scratch resistant. Due to their molecular structure, ceramics can be a bit brittle and thus shatter more easily when dropped from great heights or smashed with significant force into something. To be fair, those are both things that can be damaging to any watch, it’s just potentially a tad more dangerous for ceramic watches.
3. Potentially Expensive
That complex manufacturing process means these watches don’t come inexpensive. At the low end, you’re looking at a couple hundred dollars for these. However, for a good ceramic watch that can gain in value over time, you’re looking at spending thousands of dollars easily.
4. The Pros and Cons of Aging
One thing ceramic watches tend not to do is “age like a fine wine,” that is, get better with age. They may be age resistant insofar as they won’t rust or wear out easily, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll actually “benefit” from the aging process.
For example, some watches actually arguably benefit from the aging that leads to that aforementioned yellowing around the band or dial. Think of this like yellowing pages in an old book. To some, that signifier of oldness is off-putting. To those who love the sight and smell of vintage books, however, yellowing pages are part of the appeal – and the same holds true of yellowing patinas and dials in vintage watches.
Ceramic watches don’t typically yellow or age that way, so while they won’t wear out, they won’t get the vintage chic that can come from yellowing with age, either.
With many distinct pros and cons, you’ll want to consider all of these factors carefully before deciding if a ceramic watch is right for you.