Requirements of Steel for the Watch Making Industry
There are various types of watch making steel. In principle, one differentiates between parts for movements and parts which are used for the watch case and its parts (as well as watch straps). The parts have the highest demands on precision, the materials require a fine structure. Hardenable carbon steels are usually not corrosion-resistant. Therefore, corrosion-resistant, hardenable steels are used for the medium- and high-price segments for all moving parts. Achievable hardness 600 HV. Non-moving parts are made of brass and / or copper nickel alloys (nickel silver).
Watch case steel requires the best corrosion resistance, as well as the highest demands on the polishing ability. A point that’s becoming more and more important today is the clock’s non-magnetism, as the influence of electronic devices in our environment increasingly adversely affect the clock’s accuracy.
A quantum leap for the production of steel parts necessary in the watch or clockwork industry is the use of stainless steel produced by a technique called powder metallurgy. In this process the steel is melted and after pushed through a nozzle under high pressure, after cooling the “steel haze” becomes a very fine steel powder. The powder is melted again and this results in a steel quality with an extremely homogeneous and fine structure.