Most of today's watches are made of stainless steel. They're robust, corrosion-resistant, and gentle on the skin. Polished finishes look especially exquisite, and the matte look is great on tool watches. Some models make a very solid investment.
When it comes to watches, stainless steel has established itself as the industry's dominant metal. It's hard but not brittle, corrosion-resistant, doesn't tarnish, and is gentle on most people's skin. What's more, it's easy to work with and can be polished, brushed, or sandblasted to create beautiful finishes. Simply put, stainless steel is the perfect watch material. Watchmakers first discovered it for themselves in the early 20th century. Prior to that, they had preferred working with softer precious metals like gold or silver.
Stainless steel has been an unstoppable force in the watch industry since the 1920s. Models like the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso and early Rolex Oyster watches were key to stainless steel's rise. It didn't take long for them to find all kinds of fans and start flying off the shelves. In the 1930s and 40s, many militaries realized how robust stainless steel is and quickly came to rely on pilot's and navy watches from Omega, IWC, Hamilton, and Stowa.
Today, timepieces like the Patek Philippe Nautilus, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and stainless steel editions of the Rolex Submariner and GMT-Master are some of the world's most sought-after models and enjoy large fan bases among men and women alike. Recent years have seen some of these watches reach astronomical prices, often selling for more than their sister models in gold.
|Model||Reference number||Price (approx.)|
|Patek Philippe Nautilus||5711/1A||76,000 USD|
|Audemars Piguet Royal Oak|