On the one hand, many consumers think of it as a more cost-effective alternative to the more expensive 18kt rose gold. You can get a less expensive material that looks rosier than traditional yellow gold, but not quite as pink or red as rose gold or red gold. On the other hand, and this is possibly the more fascinating reason why more and more people are choosing bronze, and more watchmakers are using it in the construction of their watches. Patina. This happens when the watch begins to age.
How do bronze watches age? Patina is the oxidation of the bronze material. Essentially, the patina is how bronze “rusts” Other metals such as copper and silver oxidize in a different way often making the metal look less attractive. Bronze, on the other hand, has a very colorful chemical reaction when it oxidizes often making it even more attractive. Each watch over time develops its own unique and often colorful patina making it a true one-of-a-kind timepiece. See examples in the image below of how patina can appear.
Why are some bronze metals more yellow than others? Also, why are some bronze metals redder than others? It is because of the amount of copper used in the alloys. The bronze alloys that use more copper are redder, and the bronze alloy that uses less copper is more yellow. Certain brands such as Tudor use an alloy that has a shade of bronze that looks more brassy and yellow. Other brands like Longines, TAG Heuer, and Oris, use more copper and therefore have a more-rosy look.
Does Bronze scratch easily? The alloy UNI 5275 that is used in watchmaking is actually more scratch-resistant than stainless steel. Furthermore, the patina discussed above is not a “taint” but rather a layer that is produced naturally and protects the watch from corrosion whereas a steel watch can corrode until it’s useless. Because of the physical properties of this unique metal, any natural wear can be polished out easier than on steel. Let’s take a look at 10 of the best bronze watches available today.
Zenith Pilot Type 20
This model features a brushed bronze case styled with an aged patina color. It features a black matte dial and has large luminous numerals and a fine printed second’s track with orange printed Arabic style numerals at every 5-minute increment. Bronze-colored cathedral-style hands filled with SuperLuminova luminous material.
This watch’s heartbeat emanates from the famous Zenith El Primero chronograph that beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour making it a 4Hz watch. Built with 254 components this automatic movement holds it power for approximately 50 hours when fully wound. At the time of writing this article, the Pilot Type 20 Chronograph collection contains 3 different models with brass cases. The model featured here has a green oily nubuck strap with a soft rubber lining with a pin buckle.
Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer Torpilleur 44mm
This watch is a limited edition with only 300 pieces in the world. It has a dark blue dial with a matching calfskin leather strap. A small running second’s sub-register is at the 6 o’clock position, Arabic-style numerals, and a fine printed minutes and seconds track. The lovely bronze case features a fixed bezel ring featuring a coined edge.
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch
This bronze watch draws its inspiration from the design of the iconic IWC Big Pilot’s Watch powered by the Calibre 52 T.S.C. and has a matte bronze case and a solid stainless-steel case back. Its black dial has a slightly recessed power reserve sub-dial at the 3 o’clock position that displays the power remaining in the watch’s impressive 7-day power reserve in its automatic movement. The watch has luminous numerals, and index hour markers, and hand. It has a large winding crown and comes on a brown leather strap with light-colored stitching and bronze rivets with a matching bronze pin buckle.
IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Special Edition
This 43mm Black Bay watch from Tudor has a beautiful bronze case with a fine brushed finish. It features a brown aluminum bezel ring that rotates in a single direction with a diving scale and a luminous dot at the start position. Its brown dial features applied luminous numerals and dot hour markers with matching bronze luminous hands. It comes on a green and bronze-colored fabric NATO strap. This is one of the more affordable luxury bronze dive watches available.