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Steel is one of the most commonly used materials in the production of watch cases. It is widely perceived as a superb choice thanks to its outstanding physical and mechanical properties. Several types of steel exist, each one identified by different technical specifications. Over the years, Aurum Swiss employed and experimented with many types of steel. We now suggest the 316L as one of the best steels for manufacturing watch cases: the “L” indicates a lower carbon content (low carbon), thus a higher resistance to wear.
Contrary to what its name suggests, stainless steel do oxidize,: it reacts with oxygen and forms a layer of oxidation on its surface. Its main advantage over standard steel is how this layer is formed: in standard steel the oxygen interacts with the iron atoms and form a porous surface susceptible to rust, while in the case of stainless steel the oxygen reacts with chromium, forming a thin film of chromium oxide, the passive layer. This film wraps the entire surface of the covered material, forming a protection invisible to the naked eye and shielding the metal from external agents like dust, rain and sweat.
We use a “cap” system for two main reasons: technical characteristics and weight reasons.
Stainless steel is often used in combination with other materials, like gold and bronze, in manufacturing the core of those components which must meet precise technical specifications. As an example, stainless steel is used in crowns or buttons having very small threads, or in parts designed to work together consistently over a long time, in order to grant durability and reliability; stainless steel is preferable for this uses because it wears significantly less than other materials: the outer part remains in gold, bronze or any other chosen material, while the core of the components is made of steel.
For weight reasons, when working with gold we choose “cap” designs with a steel core: by using this system we are able to greatly reduce the amount of gold present and, as a consequence, the weight of the final product. The two parts made of different materials can be secured to one another in several ways: as an example, some adhesive can be used, or they can be secured mechanically through the use of screws.
Discover how to use steel to make your brand more unique; contact us for more information.