Part I of this series describes IWC’s ground-breaking use in the 1970s and ‘80s of hardened steel, aluminum and titanium as case materials – way before other watch companies used new case materials in series production. Part II, to be published later, tells about IWC’s pioneering use of ceramic (zirconium oxide) and, finally, the development of ceratanium as a unique watch case material.
In the 1970s IWC first began using innovative case materials in production of wristwatches. It produced three models in the mid-1970s with “scratch protected” hardened stainless steel cases, which then was revolutionary for the industry. These watches used a carbide metal case hardened to between 1,000 and 1,500 Vickers. The black metal Edison model (reference 3605) was cutting-edge in design. There also were a second steel-hardened Edison (reference 3604) and a rare, and sometimes overlooked, third model (reference 3405).