IWC Round Watch Case

Example of an Antique Watch CaseYesterday we talked about the watch hands and how important they are when it comes to the watch anatomy, but if you don’t have a watch case, then the hands have no where to rest.  The watch case consists of the bezel, the middle and the back of the watch.  This is where the movement is housed and protected and it can be made of many different types of material.

Over the years, the watch case has been a shape shifter, going from traditional shapes to more contemporary and fluid shapes, where now almost anything goes.  This also stays in line with the materials that are being used for the case.  Traditionally the case is made of stainless steel, but over the years, this has also changed and grown.

The Watch Case Materially

14 Kt. Gold Watch CaseMost watch cases are made of stainless steel, gold or platinum.

  • Platinum is ideal for watches because it has properties that make it excellent to stand up to heat, wear and corrosion.  If the watch case is made of platinum you can expect that the watch will cost almost twice as much as gold.
  • Gold is considered a classic metal for a watch case and can come in three colors, yellow, white or rose.
  • The most popular is stainless because of its durability and anti-corrosion properties.  If you are a beginner collector, stainless is a great place to start.

Some other materials that are now being used for watch cases are titanium, PVD ad Ceramic.

  • Titanium, which is twice as strong and half as light as stainless steel and is non-allergenic, extremely resistant to salt water and able to withstand extreme temperatures.
  • PVD is a coating that changes the surface of a material.  PVD bonds to the base material and won’t flake off.
  • Ceramic is generally delicate, but when used in watches it is highly durable and scratch-resistant.  It is lightweight and strong and convenient to use.

 The Bezel Of The Watch Case

Tag Watch BezelThe bezel is the ring that surrounds the watch case.  On some watches it holds down the crystal, like on a Rolex, but on a Cartier, the crystal is glued down (we’ll get into that more later).  The bezel can be decorative, it can be stable or it can be functional. The bezel can be fluted or flat, it can have notches for numbers. It can be bi-directional or uni-directional or not even move and it can measure time and speed.  It can have diamonds or gemstones or be made of a precious metal.  The truth is, it does serve a function, but it is also a decorative item on the watch.

The Watch Case and Shape

Over the years, this too has changed.  The shape of watches can be anything and everything these days, but the standards still remain the same when it comes to the watch case and the shape that the high end watch designers use.

Round

IWC Round Watch Case

Rectangular

Patek Phillipe Square Watch Case

Square

Concord Square Watch Case

Oval

Oval Watch Case

Carage

Carage Watch Case

Tonneau

Tonneau Watch Shape

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