Stainless steel 316L is used to manufacture high-quality wristwatches. Why is it so? And how is stainless steel made in the first place? In this blog post, you'll learn what makes this material so durable and how a finished watch case is made from a block of stainless steel.
Stainless steel is steel that is refined by the addition of various substances such as molybdenum or silicon. There are countless different stainless steel alloys. One of them is the alloy 316L, which we use for the production of our cases and bracelets. We use this alloy for the following reason: it is very low in carbon and therefore corrosion free. Stainless steel 316L is very hard and resistant, so it is excellent for watch cases and bracelets. Incidentally, stainless steel 316L is also the material of choice for surgical operating instruments because of these properties.
A complex process is required to turn a block of stainless steel into a finished watch case. Basically, the process can be divided into three different phases. First, a blank is stamped out. Depending on the shape of the case, this requires a different number of punching operations. Then the blank is milled into the finished shape in a CNC machine and the holes for the crown and spring bars are also drilled. The last step involves the so-called finishing, i.e. the fine grinding. In this process, a polisher prepares the surface of the watch. Depending on the desired look, certain areas are polished to a shiny finish and others are matted. Polishing is real manual work and requires great skill.