190901 bronze
This rattrapante chronograph from Montblanc is a stunner Image Credit: Supplied

Even as the R&D departments of watch companies work over-time to introduce the industry to cutting-edge case materials, a dominant trend over the last five years has been the use of an ancient material that has been around since pre-historic times - bronze.

As a case material, bronze was first spotted in the watch industry on diver’s watches. Bronze has for centuries been used to make ship fittings and the maritime link seemed legit. Besides, the ability of bronze cases to develop a patina (due to oxidation) over time ensured that watch case would age differently.

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The oversized chrono is reminiscent of vintage military watches Image Credit: Supplied

Bronze is essentially an alloy of copper and tin but introducing other metals into the mix can change the look of the case. For example, some brands use aluminum instead of tin as the second alloy after copper. This aluminum-bronze alloy withstands seawater corrosion better and also has a bright golden colour, so it is widely used on diver’s watches.

As its popularity grows, the uses of bronze as a case material has extended beyond just diver’s watches. Here’s a look at six of the coolest examples released this year.

IWC Spitfire Pilot’s Chronograph

The newly revamped Pilots’ Watch Chronograph Spitfire unveiled at SIHH 2019 is the first IWC Pilot’s Watch chronograph to contain an in-house movement from the company’s 69000 series of calibers.

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This bronze case will develop a blackish patina over time Image Credit: Supplied

The self-winding Caliber 69380 has a classical column-wheel design and displays elapsed hours and minutes on subdials at 9 and 12 o’clock, the day and date at 3 o’clock and has a power reserve of 46 hours. The 41 mm case is made of bronze (Ref. IW387902) that will develop a blackish patina as opposed to the green tinge seen on most bronze cases. It is paired with an olive green dial and brown calf leather strap for a retro-chic vintage-military look.

Price: $6,250 (Approx. AED22,950).

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