A Complete Guide to Watch Materials with Examples

Published by soldcorp.com on

When it comes to choosing a timepiece, the choices seem endless. One of the decisions you will have to face is what material you want your new watch to be made out of. There are pros and cons to each of the options out there. You need to consider factors like durability, design, affordability and more. To simplify your task, we have created this guide to watch materials. We will go over the various materials that watchmakers use and discuss what they’re good for while giving you some examples of each.

Note that this guide will focus on the watch case material and not the strap. This is because you can choose your strap type pretty easily depending on personal preference. Knowing what the actual watch itself is made out of is even more important though. Once you understand the best watch materials, you can fit it with any strap you like. Click here to see more of our blogs including our watch strap guides.

Stainless steel watch case

Watch Materials Used in Cases

The watch case is the part that actually holds the movement and the dial. It is of extreme importance, therefore, that the case be made of only the highest quality materials. You want a strong and durable case to protect your watch. Not only that, you will be looking at the case every time you look at your watch, so it should look good too. Here are your options:

Stainless Steel: The King

By far the most common, stainless steel may just be the king of watch materials. There are different types (316L vs. 904L), but the differences are not all that major so we will just focus on stainless steel as a whole. The main reason for its popularity among watchmakers is its versatility. It performs well in all the important categories. Namely, it is highly resistant to corrosion and rust so you can feel comfortable wearing your watch anywhere. It is also extremely durable. Stainless steel can take a massive beating and come out the other end with just minor dents and damage. A well built stainless steel watch will not break apart and can last a lifetime.

In addition to the build quality, stainless steel excels at being fashionable. The classic steel look is shiny and luxurious. If you want something different, stainless steel is easily customizable in terms of color. You can find duller silver-toned, shiny, or even black steel watches. No material is perfect, though. Stainless steel is fairly easy to scratch with sharp objects like keys. It is also not as light as some of the other options below, but it isn’t super heavy either. Overall, stainless steel is relied on by watch brands for a reason. That reason is because it is both amazingly strong and beautiful.

Citizen Quartz Classic Stainless Steel Watch

Yet another benefit of stainless steel is its affordability. This means you can enjoy all the mentioned benefits without breaking the bank. This is a prime example of a well priced and durable steel watch from Citizen. It is complete with a steel bracelet as well.

Casio #MTP-V001D-7B Easy Reader

An even cheaper option is this Casio model. Stainless steel is used in high end pieces too, but we wanted to show just how accessible it is. This is high quality fashion for a low price. At just $36, this watch is a true steel. (get it?)


Titanium is one of the more premium and expensive watch materials, especially compared to stainless steel. In terms of strength, it is durable like steel. It would take a big hit to dent either of them. The chief advantage to titanium is weight. It is a super lightweight material making it more comfortable to wear on your wrist all day. It really is amazing engineering that such a light material can be so strong. Titanium is also corrosion resistant.

Titanium has the same downfall as stainless steel too. It scratches easily. The other con is the price. Titanium watches will be pricier than their stainless steel counterparts. Unless you really care about the slight weight difference, we would still recommend stainless steel. However, the choice is yours. You can always enjoy both if money is no problem.

Skagen Sundby Midnight Black w Mesh Strap

This is probably the best way to get a good titanium watch for a cheap price. The titanium case surrounds a beautiful blue dial and quartz movement. The strap is a thin stainless steel mesh. At just a 37mm case size, this is a sleek and attractive watch for most wrist sizes.

Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Watch

This Citizen model highlights titanium’s strengths. It is strong and will not rust, making it great for dive watches that are meant for the water. This watch is lightweight, long lasting, and sporty. It also features the Eco-Drive technology from Citizen.

A citizen titanium eco-drive Promaster diver watch


Ceramic watches are much different than the last two options. Its edge over the other two is scratch resistance. It is much harder to make a noticeable marking or scratch on this watch. However, it is a more brittle material. It is actually possible to crack a ceramic watch with enough force whereas steel or titanium would probably just dent. This means you should be careful to not drop it or hit it against a hard surface. You also need to be extra weary when making repairs or replacing straps even though small hits should be no problem.

A good example of ceramic watches are Swatch’s BIOCERAMIC material line. It mixes ceramic with natural, bio-sourced materials. The end result is a material that is light in weight and hard to scratch. It also has a smooth finish that is soft to the touch. Swatch uses this material in many of its models so you can almost surely find the one for you.

Swatch Bioceramic Line

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is one of the lesser used watch materials, yet it has its benefits. There is a reason car companies love to use carbon fiber in their high end sports cars. It is lightweight and strong. Carbon’s defining feature is its appearance. It isn’t uniform like the other materials. It has a grainy structure and pattern to it that is usually loved by car people. Whether or not you want to wear that pattern on your wrist is your choice. Personally, we love it.

Carbon watches are great for those who want something light. You might even forget that you’re wearing a watch at all. It is also great for auto enthusiasts. Many watch brands take inspiration from the car world to design their carbon watches given the connection. Be warned that most pieces are not cheap, though.

Casio G-Shock Gravitymaster GWR-B1000-1A1

This Casio G-Shock is one of the most durable watches out there. It uses carbon in both the bezel and the band. This piece is the definition of a rugged watch. Many of its features, like shock resistance, are meant to make pilots lives easier while they are up in the air. You can even connect it with your phone for ultra accurate time keeping, even as you fly across time zones. All of this in a watch that weighs just 72 grams. Take a look at the bezel to see that carbon pattern we talked about.

Conclusion to Watch Materials

A good watch is just a sum of many parts that were expertly put together to make one, cohesive timepiece. It can only be as good as its weakest link. This is why choosing the watch with the right material is so important. All of the most important aspects of a watch start with what it is made from: quality, design, longevity, etc. With how many watch materials are out there, it can be hard to choose just one for your next piece. We hope that this article helps you with that decision.

If we asked ourselves, “What would you do if you could only buy one type of watch?” our answer would be clear. We here at soldcorp.com love stainless steel, but that does not mean you should not broaden your horizons and try other materials too. Also note that there are watch materials we left out like gold, brass, and bronze because they are rarer, more expensive, and often found in older watches. The ones we listed are more readily available. Thank you for reading.


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