Black is a color that is nearly always appropriate to wear. Also in watchmaking does it have a dominant position, especially when it comes to dials and straps. Black cases were for a long time a rarity. At the beginning of the last century, some brands, like Cartier, for example, experimented with bakelite cases. These watches were scarce then, and even more so now. Later on, new technologies such as PVD-coatings made it that more watches with black cases entered the market. Today there are several materials which a brand can utilize to create a black watch case. The traditional PVD-coating is now joined by other black coatings, such as those made from ‘Diamond-Like Carbon,’ which are more resistant to wear. Also a whole new generation of materials also emerged. Ceramic was one of the first to make its entrance, but now even carbon, in various forms, is being used to craft watch cases. Their popularity is increasing, and for a good reason, because no matter what black-colored material is selected, it often results in watches that are true dark delights!
IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph TOP GUN Ceratanium
One of the pioneers in Swiss watchmaking that used ceramic was IWC. It initially utilized this material to craft a case for the legendary Da Vinci from, but also fitted their Fliegerchronograph with a ceramic case. The recently introduced Double Chronograph TOP GUN takes ceramic to the next level. In an alloy named Ceratanium, IWC has been able to unite the advantages of both ceramic and titanium. The result is a watch that is very scratch-resistant, light, and very durable. Its matte black color is a perfect match for the design of the dial, while the rattrapante-function adds an exotic complication to the mix that makes this watch even more desirable.
Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough
The collection of Richard Mille consists of nothing but excellent watches. To call a favorite is a hard thing to do, yet it doesn’t get any better than the RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough. This watch can take an incredible beating, and not only looks good while doing so but also afterward. One of the reasons that this watch is so durable is the case, which is made from Carbon TPT. To achieve this over 600 layers of Carbon TPT, each with a maximum thickness of 30 microns thick and soaked in a special resin, are placed on top of each other. They are then placed in an oven at 120 degrees Celcius under six-bar of pressure, after which the case can be machined from the block of Carbon TPT that emerges. The result is a case that is not only very strong but also very good looking.
Zenith Defy El Primero 21
The Defy El Primero 21 has become in a very short period of time one of the signature watches of Zenith. The brand is offering this watch in a wide variety of different materials and among them black ceramic. Both the case as well as the bracelet have a brushed finish, which results in an understated look. That gives even more opportunity for the incredible caliber to take center stage. Zenith doesn’t want to overdo it and has skillfully toned down the appearance of the movement with a dark finish on the bridges and not too much color on the dial and hands. It results in a very balanced design, which also includes the comfortable bracelet.
Santos de Cartier Skeleton “Noctambule”
Cartier has been using black coatings within some of their model ranges for quite some years now. Especially the Santos was available in a few varieties with a black case. This year La Maison launched the Santos de Cartier Skeleton “Noctambule.” The case of this watch is made out of stainless steel, yet covered with a black ADLC-coating. This stands for Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon, which is a very hard material that is very difficult to scratch. Cartier applies a brushed finish to it, which it perfectly highlights the unique skeleton movement, another hallmark of the brand.