A timely question – the difference between a PVD & DLC coating


by CHRONEXT

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Back to black

April 28. 2016 - by CHRONEXT

Black timepieces are bringing sexy back. Many watch lovers have taken to customising their watches with black finishes via a process called PVD. But what does this mean exactly? CHRONEXT clears this question right up.


What is a PVD coating?

If you had the chance to personalize your watch and make it your own, wouldn’t you? An increasing number of watch lovers are taking the opportunity to do just that with an innovative Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) process, which applies a coating to the surface of a watch with materials such as titanium nitride (TIN), titanium carbon nitride (TiCN), Titanium aluminium nitride (TiAlN), zirconium nitride (ZrN), Silicon Oxide (SIOX), and what seems to be a favourite among watch lovers, Diamond Like Carbon (DLC). These coatings can be applied to give your watch extra strength and increased aesthetic appeal.

Rolex Milgauss DLC

Some watch enthusiasts praise this customization process, claiming that it provides classic timepieces with a refreshed look while others insist that it ruins the value of some renowned watch models. But a modern day PVD coating has evident advantages aside from just a change in aesthetics. A DLC-finish, for example, will harden your timepiece, making it more resistant to shocks and scratches. The finish will also keep its polish or sheen no matter what kind of abuse you subject it to.

SEVENFRIDAY Les Classiques Date PVD

How do PVD & DLC coatings on watches work?

PVD…DLC… what’s the difference?

PVD is a process that applies and bonds a small layer of metal compounds to the base metal of a watch. In the world of watches, this base metal usually consists of stainless steel or titanium, although almost any material can be PVD coated. Thin layers of material are deposited on the surface of a timepiece’s components via condensation of vapor in a high temperature and vacuum environment. The watch components are coated slowly over time with a thin layer that is tightly bonded to the material beneath it.

Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller DLC

Today, a very popular coating applied to watches via the PVD process is called DLC. The properties of the carbon coating always depend on who is making it or applying it, but usually consist of a combination of carbon, titanium, and nitrogen that, as made evident by its name, enhances the durability of the watch to a level of diamonds. The carbon is blasted onto the surface of watch’s components and then cooled down extremely quickly.

How durable is a DLC coating?



Rolex Explorer DLC

DLC coated watches are completely resistant to scratches. A DLC coating is considered the highest quality PVD coating since it is the most durable and the hardest to scratch. Evidently, the DLC coating adds a layer on the watch, which also protects it against elements of regular wear.

Manufacture produced PVD-coated watches

The increasing popularity of DLC watches has not gone unnoticed by renowned manufacturers. Tudor, for example, introduced the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Dark at Baselworld 2016, which is treated with a PVD coating. The model has gained criticism from some enthusiasts who have asked why the renowned brand has opted for an “outdated” coating when the more reliable DLC coating is readily available.

The new Tudor Heritage Black Bay Dark
Source: Tudor

DLC coatings by CHRONEXT

If you are interested in treating your watch with a DLC finish, CHRONEXT has got your back. All of the timepieces in our shop can be customised with a DLC-coated finish should you wish to do so. The process takes between 4 to 6 weeks and the price is 2,000 €.

If you have any questions about PVD/DLC processes or are considering customising your timepiece, don’t hesitate to contact the CHRONEXT Atelier here.

If you would like to see our selection of already available DLC-coated watches, click here.

CHRONEXT

by CHRONEXT

Watches are our passion – we start every new day with this philosophy driving us forward. From brand stories to watch technology – we cover every topic imaginable in the world of watches. Our editorial team is constantly searching for new and exciting stories. Looking to introduce your watch collection? Or are you a blogger simply considering cooperation opportunities? Write to us at editorial@chronext.com.

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Providing excellent customer service is one of our top priorities. We deliver your watch fast and with utmost attention to detail. Should you be looking for a specific model which is not in stock, we are happy to source it for you - free of any extra charges. If you would like to sell a watch, our experts will advise you on market developments and the ideal selling price for your timepiece.

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