Watch material encyclopedia

Over the centuries watch companies have never stopped trying and playing with new materials to optimize their watches. Therefore, the list of available materials is getting quite extensive. The research on different materials can become tiresome very quickly. Hence, we created a spreadsheet for you. It lists all common watch materials for the most important parts and highlighting their pros and cons.

Watch strap materials

The strap is certainly that watch part that will influence the most the appearance of your timepiece. The strap has the power to change a casual or athletic watch into one that can be worn on formal occasions. You can read more about this in our watch fashion guides for women and men. Furthermore, because of different flexibilities, texture, and weights, the watch strap is also essential for wearing comfort.

Elegant watch straps on white
Elegant watch straps
The good thing about watch straps, however, is that they are often exchangeable and you do not have to be set on one material forever.
MaterialSub- CategoryProperties Pro Con
LeatherApplies to alllightweight good look, easy maintenance, (eco-friendly), durable, feels light on skin, does not cause a lot sweatnot water/ sweat resistant, can be damaged by sun
faux-leather/ vegan leathermany different forms vegan, environmentally friendly options availablecan be out of plastic -> less environmentally friendly 
genuine leathersmoother surface, more flexibledurable, looks good, reasonable priceharmful to animals
full-grain leatherrougher surface, less flexiblevery durableharmful to animals, pricey 
Wood/lightweightunique look, affordable, environmentally friendly, hypoallergenicshorter life span, not water/ sweat resistant
MetalsApplies to alldurable, valuable and classic lookaccumulation of dirt and grain, stiff-> uncomfortable
Stainless steelsilver colour, hard, heavy relatively affordable compared to other metals, resistant to corrosionmight cause allergic reaction 
Gold ( Rose Gold/ White Gold )golden/ silver colour, soft, heavy expensive lookscratches easily,pricey
Titaniumdifferent colours, hard, lightweight  durable, resistant to corrosioneasily scratched, pricy 
RubberApplies to alldifferent colors, flexible, high tensile strength, lightweightaffordable, flexible, water resistant, easy to maintain, many different design options no long-term durability, cheap look, 
Silicone rubbersmooth surfacesmooth surface, hypoallergenic sweat prone, low tensile strength, damaged by oils, surface easily damaged, 
Natural rubberdurable, water/sweat  resistant, environmentally friendly sweat prone, can get sun damaged
Nylon/different colours, lightweight, fabric-like durable, breathable,water/sweat resistant, easy to clean, many different designs, many design choices can fluff,might look cheap
Ceramic/lightweight,often coated with thin layer of metal, hard material Note: not like ceramic in cookwarescratch resistant, heat resistantscatters easily, pricey

Watch glass materials

Watch Glass detail
Watch Glass detail
Maybe less apparent at first sight is the material used for the watch glass. However, in the long run, it plays a significant role. Not only will an unpleasantly scratched glass be spotted quickly but it also has an impact on the longevity of your watch. The watch glass serves as a protection for the filigree parts underneath.
Acrylic glasslightweight, plastic affordable, lightweight, durable scratches easily
Mineral glassglassaffordable, more scratch resistantcan scatter, scattering can damage movement 
Sapphire crystalglass-likevery resistant for scratching and scatteringpricey  

Watch Case Materials

Different materials of watches
Different materials of watches
Let’s come to the body of a watch. Every watch user has different demands for it. Do you want to take your watch for a swim? Does it need to be highly shock resistant so you can use it in extreme environments? Or does it need to be much lighter so it will not annoy you? The materials used in the case have a huge influence on the look, comfort, and life-time of your watch.
Stainless steelsilver colour, relatively hard metal, heavy durable, resistant to corrosion, easy to maintainscratches more,  visible, pricey 
Brass/Bronzebrownish/yellowish golden colour,relatively soft metalunique look, high resistant to seawater platina can form, lower durability,pricey 
Titaniumdifferent colours, relatively hard metal, lightweight  durable, resistant to corrosion, hypoallergenic pricey 
Gold (Rose Gold/White Gold)silver/ golden colour, relatively soft metal, heavy expensive lookscratches easily, pricey to very pricey
Platinumbright silver colour , relatively soft metal, heavydurable scratch resistant, can be often refinished, hypoallergenicvery pricey
Aluminumsilver colour, lightweight affordable, resistant to corrosionflimsy
Palladiumsilver colour, lightweight, hypoallergenic, resistant to corrosionvery pricey
Silversilver colour, relatively soft metalresistant to corrosion, quickly tarnishes, less durable, pricey
Carbon Fiber black,colour ,very hard material, lightweighthighly durable,  unique lookvery pricey 
Ceramicoften coated with thin layer of metal, lightweight, hard material Note: not like ceramic in cookwarescratch resistant, heat resistantcan scatter, pricey
Plastic/Rubbermany colours, lightweight affordable,water/ sweat and heat resistantflimsy,might look cheap look
Wood lightweightunique look, affordable, environmentally friendly, hypoallergenicshorter life span, not water/ sweat resistant

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below.

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