BY JOVAN KRSTEVSKI
There used to be a time when you had only a few options available when it came to the materials in your watches; such as gold and steel. Au contraire, nowadays, thanks to the research and breakthroughs in watch materials, those times are long gone, and today’s ardent watch buyer has a wide range of new watch materials to choose from, including titanium, carbon, tungsten, ceramic, alloys, composite materials like Carbotech, and even meteorite. Each of them is distinct from the others in terms of their unique physical properties and visual characteristics. Ceramic in particular provides many advantages to a wrist watch that are highly desirable, like for instance superior resistance against scratches, anti-magnetic properties, more lightweight, highly resistant against ultraviolet rays and perhaps the best of them all, ceramic is completely hypoallergenic and has no undesirable components, in contrast to metal alloys that include common allergens like nickel; and thus, it doesn’t cause any allergic reaction to the skin of the wearer. For all of these reasons, ceramic is a material that many enthusiasts and watch manufacturers have been pursuing for years with different coatings and hardening techniques. For us here at Wristreview, it has always been our joy to create a top-5 list in a variety of watch-related areas, and so we decided to look at the greatest ceramic watches that the watch industry has to offer. Having said that, let’s now sit back and enjoy the ride that is ceramic watches.
5. IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN ref. IW389101
It only makes sense to construct the case of an authentic pilot’s watch using ceramic. Usually, a pilot and their watch are frequently subjected to the humid, salt-bearing sea air, which can have a significant deteriorating effect on the watch. The use of ceramic mitigates these concerns, whereas a watch constructed with let’s say steel or gold can show signs of wear and tear much sooner under these harsh conditions. Therefore, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN was subsequently created for the top-tier US Navy jet pilots using durable and corrosion-resistant materials like titanium and ceramic. This self-winding automatic watch comes in a 44.5 mm x 15.7 mm size profile and other than the black variant presented here, it’s offered in 6 color variations and with their own unique straps and strap materials.
4. Hublot Big Bang UNICO Blue Magic
Materials play an important role in the design of Hublot watches, one of their mission statement says the same. Thus, if protecting their beautiful and colorful design and provide longevity to the watch is important, which I’m sure is, then this responsibility is best suited for ceramic; which is the case in Hublot Big Bang Unico Blue Magic. A fairly large watch at 45mm or you can opt for the smaller 42mm diameter, it’s a uniquely beautiful watch nonetheless with unconventional styling that makes it stand out from the rest.
3. Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer 42.5MM
This bad boy of dive watches from Omega is manufactured in 43.5 mm (if the name has any indication) and crafted in a combination of black ceramic and grade 5 titanium; thus it incorporates the perks of both ceramic and grade 5 titanium. The case offering 300 meters of water resistance and includes a black ceramic bezel with a white enamel diving scale. It’s not just the case itself, but the dial is also crafted from black ceramic, a peculiar variety of ceramic known as Zirconium dioxide [ZrO2]. The dial has a beautiful wave pattern made possible by laser-engraving techniques.
2. Panerai Luminor GMT – 44mm PAM01441
While Panerai itself is a long-standing brand dating back to 1860s, the Luminor is a rather new-ish watch considering that the Luminor case was created in 1960s and since then it has seen countless variations. The Luminor maintains all the qualities that have throughout the years made this watch a symbol of high-end sports watchmaking while reinterpreting traditional proportions in a modern way. It is now available in black ceramic, has a 44mm size profile, and is powered by Panerai’s automatic mechanical P.9010 calibre. The 3 days of power reserve is the main feature of this GMT watch, besides the black ceramic case.
Honorable Mention: Zenith Defy Classic
Before we get down straight to number one, it’s pertinent to recognize the ceramic watch that would very well have made the cut had it not been for the other watches on the list. Nevertheless, “Zenith Defy Classic” deserves a mention. This iteration of the 1969 design, a futuristic-looking skeleton watch made of black ceramic, was given the nickname “Il house forte del tiempo” for its odd case shape. One factor to bear in mind is that the clasp on this Defy Classic model in black ceramic is really coated titanium, not ceramic. This means that the clasp is more vulnerable to scratches than the case is. Nonetheless, Zenith Defy remains an important part of Zenith’s collection and considering this black ceramic variant, some might argue that it should’ve been included in the list, in a sense it already is.
1. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ref. 26579CB.OO.1225CB.01
So far it’s the black ceramic which is dominating the list, but now here’s something that comes in white ceramic for a change and it’s on the top spot for all the right reasons. The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar actually first came out in black ceramic back in 2017, it was only two years later that Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar went all white. Being one of the most iconic watches in the industry, be it luxury sports watches or otherwise, white ceramic is not something we see all that often. This Milky white edition of Royal Oak is stunningly beautiful for once. Secondly, the case is 41 mm x 9.5 mm and the bracelet is crafted with white ceramic as well. It is said that the finishing of the bracelet alone requires 30 hours, compared to a steel bracelet, it’s five times longer. Audemars Piguet retained the movement that was present in the black ceramic model of 2017 and its ultra-thin automatic Calibre 5134.
While a lot of things can be said about each of the listed watches, as each one is a class in its own right. Agree or disagree with the inclusions, fire away your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.
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