How Does a Metal Watch Bracelet Arise?

How metal bracelets are made and what they distinguish

Metal tapes are much more durable than leather bands. Favorite here is the stainless steel band. Stainless steel, alloyed with steel finishing agents such as chromium or manganese, is resistant to water and perspiration. Every now and then with a nail brush, warm water and soap cleaned, a high-quality metal ribbon remains beautiful for a long time. In addition, a massive brand volume can be reworked in such a way that it looks like new again.

The alternative to leather and metal bracelets is rubber. You can find out how a rubber wrist watch bracelet is produced.

A new stainless steel band for a high-quality watch costs from about 400 euro to over 1,500 euros–depending on the manufacturer. These prices are justified in view of the elaborate production: a massive volume consists of many different shapes, which have to be individually produced, processed and connected together. The solid parts are stamped out of thick sheet metal and pressed in form, milled with CNC-controlled machines or sawn off from profile rods.

How to recognize a high-quality watch bracelet made of metal

So there are good reasons to decide on a watch with a stainless steel band or to replace a leather strap with a new stainless steel band. For high-quality watches, experts advise, the watch owner should take the gear to the dealer and select an original tape. Because no other fits so well to the design of a watch. The impetus is specifically designed for the particular model, so that the clock and tape merge into one unit. In the Royal Oak bracelet by Audemars Piguet, the individual limbs are even so far on the watch case and tuned to each other that each of them has its own shape and is thus a unique piece.

Where large quantities are produced, many work steps are automated. Modern follow-up tool ensures that the raw material runs through a few operations in a single machine and is processed, milled and drilled from several sides. Modern CNC technology also plays an important role in the production of large numbers of units.

At Cartier in La Chaux-de-Fonds, this has impressive dimensions: in a large hall, a sinfully expensive machine park works with the latest computer-controlled manufacturing centers. The result, however, is still very coarse: the edges are sharp and the surfaces rough.

Manual work for the watch bracelet

In order to clean and beautify the surfaces, an extremely laborious process starts, in which less the machine, but rather the quiet hand is required. To illustrate: To finish a housing band combination of the Pasha of Cartier, it requires more than 20 different polishing operations with regular washing operations. These work processes are expensive: in the processing of metal tapes 40 percent of the total cost is generated by the Polish.

An alternative is cheaper produced tapes, which are not to be found on the clocks of the big luxury brands. These inexpensive metal strips consist of pieces of folded sheet metal that are stamped, pressed and rolled together. There are also watch tapes that combine both: solid limbs are connected by rolled sheets.

The cheaper alternative to the manufactory watch bracelet

In the case of a look, such a band cannot withstand the charisma of a high-quality solid band. Looking closely at all is the best recommendation to recognize quality. The highest quality are massive, screwed tapes. Every single link should be round with soft, perfect edges. The strap should feel smooth, the closure must be functional, solid and stable.

A completely different variant are Milanaise tapes. These very decorative Geflechtarmbänder are made of wire spirals that are turned into each other. A good Milanaiseband is recognized by a uniform, stable and cuddly braid without sharp edges. It is also important that the belt can be changed in length – usually by removable limbs next to the closure.

To learn how to trim a metal watch bracelet, see this article with video.

Tags: Audemars Piguet, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Cartier watches, stainless steel watches, Swiss watches, watch bracelet

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