Bronze watches are more widespread now than they have ever been, to some point which I’d argue that there is more dimensional than platinum accessible from the watch market at present moment. The allure is simple. To some, it is merely a brilliant alternative to steel, titanium, or DLC. To others, it’s the notion of a watch that’s constantly evolving, whose personality is designed to alter over time. Beyond this, there is the’sciencing allure’ (no, sciencing is not a word, but you get where I am going with it). Having the ability that the ability to force patination of the metal via different means is exactly what brings some to collect bronze watches, myself included. Through this process, this experimentation, this’oops I went too far now how can I bring it back’ adventure I’ve been on, I have learned a great deal about the variations of the metal –how they respond, and their unique quirks.
With this experience in mind, the ideas behind this series is actually about sharing the life courses that have come out of an ever-changing bronze watch collection. If you’re contemplating adding a bronze watch or three to the collection, there are lots of things to think about, so with each instalment of the series we’ll be covering different foundations, covering everything from more general info, to classes in cleaning, forced patina, as well as the dangers involved in any sort of watch tampering.
Not All Bronze Is Created Equal
Even by simply taking a fast look at the various bronze watches on offer now, you’ll quickly understand that bronze is by no way as consistent as steel or gold. On one end of the spectrum, watches such as the Tudor Black Bay Bronze, the Halios Seaforth B, the Yema Superman, and last year’s IWC Spitfire Chronograph in bronze have a distinctly yellowish hue that adopts a muted gray colour as it ages. Oppositely, bronze offerings from Oris, Zelos, Meistersinger, and others are more warm and rosy.
The differences, as you’d expect, come down to chemistry and composition. Bronze is a metal, primarily made up of copper, but what fills the remainder of the metal may fluctuate considerably while still falling under the umbrella nomenclature of bronze. Bronze can be known as so long as it is composed primarily of Copper and contains at least a small part of tin (and other metals), however since metallurgy has evolved, what makes up the balance of this composition has varied. Based on available information, typically two primary variants of bronze are used in watchmaking.
It remains a small frustration that lots of brands don’t disclose which bronze type they’ve chosen when they post spec sheets. As soon as you’re more familiar with the content it’s not rocket science to discover, but to those less familiar, a small information could be convenient. This all may seem somewhat simple to some of you, however before we dig in the adventure of living with bronze, we wish to make sure everyone is equipped with a few good baseline knowledge.