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Best material for a watch case?


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I am going stainless steel - something reassuring about it - have been tempted by a few bronze watches, but I am a steel man, and quite impressed with my 904L Ball.  Definitely seems more scratch resistant than 316L.  I have noticed the faintest hair at 9 on the polished bezel, if you get the light just right (or just wrong), but considering I smash it into something each time I wear it (today it was a door knob at my parent's house) I am saying that is remarkable (if not completely un-markable).

However, there may be a better choice of steel, since I have just enquired as to whether a watch I am looking at is chromed, and it is not.  It is "steeliness steel".

But what do you consider to be the best material for a watch case?  The answer is not sapphire, by the way.

Edited by Jet Jetski
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I think 316L is the best choice for most watches, yes 904L has better corrosion resistance but who amongst us is going to wear our watches in strong acid reducing conditions! 904L contains quite a lot of nickel, somewhere in the order of 25% compared to 316L at around 12% which might have implications for those with Ni allergy. 

My Sea Dweller is 904L and has worn well, although in reality 904L isn't that much harder than the best 316L

I have wondered why the watch industry doesn't use 317L for dive watches, the Ni and Cr % is a bit higher than 316L which gives it better chloride resistance.

Then there is 2205 stainless steel, low in nickel but high in chromium, good corrosion resistance, similar to 904L and workability and hardness similar to 316L I don't know if anyone uses this for watches.

I quite like the look of bronze cases but having a preference for bracelets they are a non-starter for me. Gold, well it is what is is, not worn for wear resistance but can't deny its corrosion properties are good :biggrin:

 

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HSS or 'Hard Stainless Steel' as used by Seiko in the 1970's for some of their first Grand Quartz models, takes a fantastic surface polish and sharp edge profiles, which are still not marked after 44 years....:thumbsup:

 

mVh2My8.jpg

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13 minutes ago, John_D said:

HSS or 'Hard Stainless Steel' as used by Seiko in the 1970's for some of their first Grand Quartz models, takes a fantastic surface polish and sharp edge profiles, which are still not marked after 44 years....:thumbsup:mVh2My8.jpg

To me when someone talks of HSS I'm thinking high speed steel or tool steel, back in the day as an apprentice we used to use it to make various cutting tools. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_steel

But it is noted here as Hard Stainless Steel. 

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.thewatchsite.com/attachments/seiko-case-material-codes-pdf.375901/&ved=2ahUKEwjB3pbwlIHwAhUPilwKHRXlBHwQFjAPegQIBxAC&usg=AOvVaw0VraMUJZLmCmAzr2sUSlhX

 

Every day is a school day. 

:)

As for the 326L vs 904L that's been beat to death in a gazillion threads on every watch forum going. As @JoT said if you are going to stick your wrist in a big beaker of boiling acid while wearing your watch go for 904L otherwise 316L will be just fine. 

:laughing2dw: :laughing2dw:

 

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14 minutes ago, Jet Jetski said:

Good point.

sharp

I did not know that - perhaps why this has worn so well - 14kt white gold capped.

IMG_20210413_101033193(1).jpg.d93c497c05463991d0e37f39f18d9137.jpg

 

Should have made the hands out of blue gold ...

I have both and in my experience 904 has kept its polish better

that said there are probably different qualities of 316 - I have no doubt the recipe is fixed, but I imagine some smelters allow more tolerance than others.  There are places you can get a cert for anything.

Yep depends whether it's a Chinesium test cert or one from a UKAS accredited test house. 

:laughing2dw: :laughing2dw:

On keeping its polish, 904L does have a slightly different sheen to it compared to 316L

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The US Navy have a nifty bit of kit in some of their key warship's Engineering vaults that can analyse sheet steel in seconds to see if its to spec for repairs and maintenance etc etc ... this came about after an urgent repair on a vessel in the Pacific fleet a few years back undertaken in a "friendly" port turned out to be less that satisfactory when it was back in for its routine work at Pearl Harbor 

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27 minutes ago, JonnyOldBoy said:

The US Navy have a nifty bit of kit in some of their key warship's Engineering vaults that can analyse sheet steel in seconds to see if its to spec for repairs and maintenance etc etc ... this came about after an urgent repair on a vessel in the Pacific fleet a few years back undertaken in a "friendly" port turned out to be less that satisfactory when it was back in for its routine work at Pearl Harbor 

I didn't say that, by the way,no idea who contributed the info on the elemental combination, a glitch in the matrix!

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3 minutes ago, Jet Jetski said:

I didn't say that, by the way,no idea who contributed the info on the elemental combination, a glitch in the matrix!

blimey ,,,, a ghost in the machine ,,,, anyway , made you seem well knowledgeable .... :laugh:

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