Ceramic watches: wear-resistant with a remarkable appearance
Zirconium oxide ceramic – this material has become nearly indispensable in various high-tech disciplines, engineering, and rehabilitative medicine. The first watch factories began taking advantage of its antiallergenic properties, lightness, and resistance to scratches and wear in the mid-1980s. To classify the starting products, chemists and engineers distinguish among oxides (e.g., aluminum or zirconium oxide), carbides (e.g., silicon carbide), and nitrides (e.g., silicon or aluminum nitride). The processing can be compared with baking a cake. Ceramic injection molding (CIM) can be used to fabricate more complex and above all more precise forms. In this instance, ceramic powder is first homogenized, then further processed into granulate, and finally brought into the desired shape via the injection-molding method. With a hardness of about 1,500 Vickers, this ceramic can take hard knocks. Manhandling with sharp objects or scraping against a doorknob won’t damage components made of high-tech ceramic, which is increasingly often used for bezels on steel, titanium, and even gold cases.