The Pros of Titanium Watches

The last two decades introduced a number of innovative materials to the watchmaking world. Aluminum-based alloys, silicon, and Liquidmetal made their debut on the horological stage, but none has been more popular than the now ubiquitous titanium.

At the turn of the new millennium, preference for larger watch cases grew, and this prompted watchmakers to seek lighter materials. While the first titanium watches were made in the 1970s, they’ve become even more popular in recent years, because of their robust but lightweight quality.

 

Here’s why it’s worth looking into titanium watches — plus some of our top picks.

 


 

The Pros of Titanium Watches

Discovered in 1791 by English mineralogist William Gregor, titanium was first used in the aerospace and military industries. It slowly penetrated many markets, including watchmaking, where it lends itself well due to its robust yet lightweight properties.

Approximately half the weight of stainless steel but at the same amount of strength, titanium meets the requirements of sports watch cases, as well as those for repeater and chiming watches.

Titanium is also anti-magnetic, resistant to heat, and virtually corrosion-proof. However, one downside is that because titanium is softer than stainless steel, it’s generally more prone to scratches.

Aside from its many benefits, the main reason for the popularity of titanium in watchmaking is its bio-compatible nature. This means titanium watches are hypoallergenic or do not cause allergic reactions as stainless steel watches sometimes do. Overall, this makes titanium a more comfortable material, especially for larger and heftier watches.

 


 

Panerai Luminor Submersible 3 Days Chrono Flyback Mens Watch

Panerai Luminor Submersible Titanium

Originally created as dive watches for the Italian Navy, Panerai watches are, generally speaking, quite large. Its most modest size is 38mm, while the average Panerai watch clocks in at 44mm. Today’s Panerai watches range from luxury models inspired by vintage diving watches to hefty tool watches.

Watches under the Panerai Submersible collection are equipped with today’s standard dive watch requirements, such as unidirectional rotating bezels and waterproofness to 300 meters. The Panerai Luminor Submersible PAM615 measures a hefty 47mm – and while this may feel large on paper, the use of lightweight titanium makes it feel like wearing a regular watch.

 


 

Tudor Pelagos
Tudor Pelagos Titanium Steel Mens Watch

Tudor Pelagos Titanium

Coming from Rolex’s sibling brand, Tudor, the Pelagos is the first watch from the Rolex family to be made from titanium. Instead of creating a titanium version of its existing dive watches, the Pelagos was specifically created in 2012 as a new player in the titanium watch market.

While Tudor’s Black Bay is also a dive watch, the Pelagos has a larger case (42 mm), more contemporary look, not to mention more advanced materials (ceramic and titanium). Having a lightweight case doesn’t mean that it’s a delicate watch. The Pelagos is the first and only Tudor with a helium escape valve; and boasts of a superior 500m water resistance.

 


 

IWC Ingenieur AMG Titanium Black Dial Automatic Mens Watch

IWC Ingenieur Titanium

While the lightweight properties of titanium has obvious benefits for dive watches, it is also beneficial for its anti-magnetic properties.

IWC’s Ingenieur, a line of watches created for engineers in the 1950s, was one of the pioneers of anti-magnetic watches. Like most anti-magnetic watches, it uses a ‘Faraday cage’, or a soft iron inner case that protect the movement against magnetic fields. This additional mechanism gives the IWC Ingenieur a thicker, more substantial case than the average watch.

In the 1980s, IWC became one of the first to introduce titanium to the watch industry, recognizing the same properties that made it popular in the aerospace and automobile industry: lightness, anti-magnetism, resistance to corrosion, and comfort on skin.

 

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