TREND REPORT: Material science in modern watchmaking


In keeping with watchmaker’s traditionalist values, the materials used to create luxury timepieces have been kept within a relatively narrow spectrum of metals for hundreds of years.

Typically constructed of gold, platinum or steel, brands are beginning to experiment and introduce watches made of unusually exotic materials.


Patentable with unique properties and often visually distinctive, DWL’s Danny Shahid believes material science is emerging as the latest big trend in watchmaking:

“While watchmakers were experimenting with titanium and ceramic in the 1970s and 1980s, exotic materials are only just beginning to become popular as some of the bigger brands start to champion the use of previously unthought of materials. Perhaps the most significant innovator, Richard Mille, is repurposing several materials from industries including Formula 1, aeronautics and even sailing.

Top of RM’s list of exotic materials is NTPT Carbon.

A composite material that was initially developed for racing yacht sails and F1 car chassis, NTPT Carbon is leading the charge thanks to its exceptional physical properties and unique aesthetic patterns derived from the manufacturing process.

The innovative brand is also experimenting with other uncommon metals such as TPT Quartz and TZP-N Ceramic.

In an industry first, Hublot has created the virtually scratch-proof Magic Gold, comprising 18kt gold and ceramic (boron nitride).

Both Hublot and Richard Mille are also exploring the watchmaking possibilities of using sapphire. Entirely transparent, robust and exceptionally exclusive, sapphire timepieces cost well into the hundreds of thousands and are among the most desirable watches on the market.

In keeping with most upcoming trends in the watchmaking industry, such exotic materials have begun to make their mark on the offerings of brands that would traditionally be more conservative. The likes of Panerai, Franck Muller and even Tudor have begun to invest in materials outside their historical comfort zone.

It is safe to assume that other blue-chip brands will start exploring this exciting area of watchmaking and push exotic material timepieces into the ether. With this is mind, now is a good time to invest in the watches made of exotic materials that are currently on the market. Models containing the materials mentioned above may soon be seen as trailblazers of a watchmaking trend that will be with us for many years to come, thanks to its almost endless possibilities.”

Known as @excellencebydanny to his 90,000 Instagram followers, DWL’s Danny Shahid utilises his global network of thousands of contacts to source the world’s most rare and sought after watches in record time, bypassing the bigger brands’ notoriously long waiting lists.

Danny travels to numerous continents to secure the most collectible timepieces at the right price in a matter of days. Trusted by internationally renowned footballers, film producers and FTSE 100 directors, Danny has been dealing in luxury watches for over a decade.

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