Only the very finest materials are used in IWC watch cases. Each of these materials has its own specific properties and offers certain advantages. Of all these, platinum – a discreet, rare and heavy metal with a fineness of 95 per cent – is the purest. Timeless and of lasting value, gold is the embodiment of luxury and elegance. For its gold cases, IWC uses 18-carat gold, containing 75 per cent of the pure metal. Since pure gold would be too soft for use in a watch case, it is alloyed with other metals, which also gives it the desired colour: palladium for white gold, or silver and copper for 5N gold. Stainless steel is non-rusting and can be worked with easily. Titanium is light and unbreakable, while ceramic does not wear and is scratch-resistant.
In the course of its history, IWC Schaffhausen has always assumed a pioneering role in the development and processing of new materials. Cases made of titanium first appeared as early as the 1980s. IWC also pioneered the use of ceramic for the watch industry and, in 1986, released the first Da Vinci in a coloured zirconium oxide case. No other group of materials is able to withstand such high temperatures or such mechanical and chemical extremes. And in 2013, IWC first used titanium aluminide (TiAl) as a case material. This alloy of titanium and aluminium is lighter and tougher than pure titanium and has a darker surface colour.
That same year saw the introduction of carbon, a high-tech material widely used in motorsport that is not only extremely light but also very robust. In 2014, IWC unveiled its first case made of bronze. Over the course of time and depending on use, bronze develops a patina and darkens in colour, giving the timepiece a very special and individual charm. In 2014, IWC also introduced yet another new material: silicon nitride ceramic. At only half the weight of zirconium oxide and even lighter than titanium, it boasts impact resistance comparable to these two materials.
The watchmaking company from eastern Switzerland is now preserving its tradition of materials development with Ceratanium® (ceramized titanium). The latter is a newly developed material that combines the advantages of titanium and ceramic. Based on a titanium alloy, it is as light, tough and skin-friendly as titanium but as hard and scratch-resistant as ceramic. The special manufacturing process gives the metal a black, ceramic-like surface. The material also scores extremely well for its high corrosionresistance.