When you think of ceramics, the first thing that comes to mind is coffee cups or other tableware. But ceramics are also available as a high-tech variant. This is used, for example, for joint implants or fuel cell membranes - or for high-quality watches.
The first ceramic watch was presented by IWC as early as 1986. It was a "Da Vinci" with a ceramic case. Over the years, the material has been developed further and further. Today, for example, the Omega Speedmaster "The Dark Side of the Moon" or the Hublot Big Bang Unico Red Magic rely on ceramic cases. No wonder, because ceramic is almost perfect for watchmaking. It's lightweight, hypoallergenic, scratch-resistant, and you hardly notice any signs of wear, even after years. It retains its luster for decades and even UV light can't harm it.
High-tech ceramics are made of zirconium oxide powder. During firing in a kiln, called sintering, the ceramic is heated to over 1400 degrees and shrinks by about 28%. This must be precisely planned for in the manufacturing process so that all parts subsequently fit together seamlessly. The shrinkage results in an extremely high density. This makes the ceramic extremely robust and scratch-resistant and many times harder than steel while weighing less. This in turn leads to a high level of wearer comfort. Ceramics are very skin-friendly and therefore particularly suitable for allergy sufferers and people with sensitive skin.
Sintering is followed by the finishing process, which takes several days. Once the ceramic case is finished, it is about 500% harder than stainless steel.