The era when fine timepieces were only made of gold or platinum is long gone. Watchmakers are embracing new materials like never before, and finding that high-tech alternatives make watches stronger, lighter, more durable, and in some cases more beautiful than ever.
Ceramic is a relatively new material to fine watchmaking that is proving its value in many ways. Its glossy opaque appearance makes cases, bezels and bracelets shine, while its hardness resists scratches and protects the delicate watch movements inside. The following models incorporate ceramic in a variety of ways, and all are available at Westime’s boutiques in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and La Jolla. For more information, please call (310) 289-0808 or email [email protected]
Audemars Piguet: Royal Oak Offshore Diver
Audemars Piguet’s 42-mm dive watch debuted to wide acclaim in steel, followed by forged carbon. Now the popular model is available in a black ceramic case with ceramic rotating bezel and crowns. Water-resistant to 300 meters, the timepiece also consists of titanium links, a titanium glare-proof sapphire crystal caseback, a sapphire front crystal and rubber strap. Its automatic movement powers the hours, minutes, seconds and date functions, which are displayed on a black dial with mega tapisserie pattern and white gold hour markers.
Blancpain: Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe
When Blancpain decided to update its historic Fifty Fathoms collection from the 1950s, it turned to modern materials for meaningful improvements on its already great watch design. The new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe features a bezel that unites a ceramic insert with a graduated scale made from Liquidmetal. The hardness of these two materials serves to enhance the bezel’s scratch resistance. The dive watch also features a sapphire crystal and caseback, steel case, and NATO fabric strap. The 38-mm automatic white model for women is water-resistant to 300 meters and displays hours, minutes, date and seconds on its white dial.
Bulgari: Diagono Ceramic
The 37-mm variation of Bulgari’s Diagono Ceramic chronograph is an unmistakably sporty timepiece with feminine appeal. Like its counterpart for men, the women’s timepiece features a double logo engraved on the ceramic bezel, a complex case structure, and prominent screws securing it to the rubber strap. Its chronograph pushers and crown are also made from white ceramic. The automatic watch is housed in a pink gold case, and displays a soft glow thanks to its white mother-of-pearl dial set with brilliant-cut diamond hour markers.
Hublot: Big Bang Ferrari Ceramic
A new version of Hublot’s popular 45mm Big Bang timepiece unites high-performance ceramic with the high-performance race car brand Ferrari. The 1,000-piece limited edition features a black ceramic case, bezel, case-back and buckle insert. It also features a sapphire crystal, titanium crown and pushers, and leather and rubber straps with contrast stitching. The Unico automatic movement drives the hours, minutes, chronograph counters and date function, with a power reserve of 72 hours.
Dior: Dior VIII Pink Sapphire
Fashion designer Christian Dior was enchanted by architecture, and incorporated the pyramid shapes often seen in cane-back chairs—cannage—into many of his creations. The motif carries through to Dior’s Dior VIII collection, where the cannage shape forms the ceramic links of the bracelet and decorates the edge of the ceramic bezel. This 38-mm automatic version in white ceramic also features a circle of pink sapphires around the mother-of-pearl dial.
Zenith: El Primero Lightweight
Zenith turns to high-tech materials for a new 100-piece limited edition of its El Primero Striking 10th Chronograph. The lightweight model features a 45-mm case made of carbon as well as aluminum that is ceramized, resulting in a cutting-edge material that is light, sturdy and many times harder than steel. The automatic timepiece also features titanium lugs, and a strap made of black rubber and Nomex synthetic fiber. Its open-worked dial reveals the hours, minutes, seconds, date, and three chronograph subdials—including one that displays 1/10th second increments.