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Thread: Ceramic Nightmare

  1. #1
    Grand Master
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    Ceramic Nightmare

    Just spotted this over on another forum, dropped from waist high!


  2. #2
    Master
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    I wouldn't like the repair bill!

  3. #3
    Grand Master seikopath's Avatar
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    nothing a bit of polywatch wouldnt sort out
    Good luck everybody. Have a good one.

  4. #4
    Craftsman canuck's Avatar
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    Ceramic cases may be much cheaper to produce... but they sure as heck are not going to be able to withstand a drop or a knock. I do hope the industry does not move away from metals.

  5. #5
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    Wait. Ceramic is cheaper to produce? So why do ceramic dialed watches command such high premiums?

  6. #6
    Master shadowman's Avatar
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    Ceramic is known to be hard and therefore it will be brittle. From the Panerai stable anyway, it makes their composite models all the more attractive.

    Sympathy for the owner of that one though, a very big ouch.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuck View Post
    I do hope the industry does not move away from metals.
    I agree. The correct movement would be towards increasingly better case hardening methods. Unfortunately, it seems that only the niche brands care about this sort of thing. Though, I guess, Omega is somewhat on board with their grade 5 Ti on the newer blue Liquid Metal POs.

    It seems as if the better manufactures saw all the ugly low end PVD watches and said, "hey lets make a watch just as ugly, 10 times more expensive, and way less durable". Sign me up guys!

  8. #8
    Master MerlinShepherd's Avatar
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    I quite like it. It's what I would call proper WABI.

    Seriously though, what a horrible thing to happen. The owner must be gutted beyond imagination.

  9. #9
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    One reason I would never buy a ceramic watch, the cost to replace the case will be horrendously expensive.

  10. #10
    Ouch! Bad days.

  11. #11
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    Ceramic watches hold virtually zero interest for me. As far as I am concerned, it is not much different to a plastic watch. Same goes for carbon fibre efforts.
    So clever my foot fell off.

  12. #12
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    Ouch - I am pretty sure I won't buy anything with a ceramic case.

  13. #13
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    Wow.... Would be seriously gutted!, got to feel for the owner. Hate to think how much the repair would be, and I bet when dropped it went in slo-mo down to the floor with the obligatory " oohhh For F**ks Sake"

  14. #14
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    Now that's an expensive mistake. I'd just patch it up with some two part epoxy, get at it with a permanent marker and carry on.

  15. #15
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    Reminds me of the IWC Ceramic Pilot which had the same problem.


  16. #16
    How about whacked against the bar in a pub...not that hard either


  17. #17
    Craftsman canuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicaneuk View Post
    Wait. Ceramic is cheaper to produce? So why do ceramic dialed watches command such high premiums?
    Ceramic cases will be predominately china clay based... That costs about 6 for a 20 kilo bag at retail. Eddie would know better than myself but how much do you expect 20 kilos of stainless steel to cost... Im guessing a lot more than a fiver with change. I suspect the high price is due to it being 'the new thing'. So my statement is basically based on cost of raw materials. They will have added a few binding ingredients and probably some fine fibre to more readily smooth things out and to add a bit of strength... But its not beyond something that any secondary school tech class couldn't handle....if they had a big press to compress the clay.
    Last edited by canuck; 24th May 2013 at 17:32.

  18. #18
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    You'd like to think they were covered on their owners household insurance. I know mine are, makes a lot of sense really when accidents like this are just waiting to happen.

    Stuart

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuck View Post
    Ceramic cases will be predominately china clay based... That costs about 6 for a 20 kilo bag at retail. Eddie would know better than myself but how much do you expect 20 kilos of stainless steel to cost... Im guessing a lot more than a fiver with change. I suspect the high price is due to it being 'the new thing'. So my statement is based on cost of raw materials.
    "Ceramic" cases are actually made from zirconium oxide, not clay, and yes, they're considerably more labor-intensive and expensive to manufacture than steel or titanium cases. Are they brittle? Sure, that's the price one pays for their extremely high degree of scratch-resistance, so potential owners need to be aware of this before they drop their cash (lest they drop their watch).

    For my part, I'm more than willing to have an essentially scratch-proof watch at the expense of a one-in-a-million chance that I'm going to be so careless as to let my expensive trinket take a dive and potentially crack the case, but I can certainly see the other side of the equation (for those with aesthetic issues, le sigh...). I will say from experience, however, that my ceramic watches have proven to exceptionally resilient when subjected to every day knocks (I once banged my Top Gun Double Chrono so hard against a playground jungle gym that it took the paint of the metal bar; a steel or titanium watch would've had a divot taken out, but the Top Gun still looked brand new).

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingBanana View Post
    Ceramic watches hold virtually zero interest for me. As far as I am concerned, it is not much different to a plastic watch. Same goes for carbon fibre efforts.
    Remove thy beak from my heart:


    Ouch. ;-)

    Regards,
    Adam
    Last edited by craniotes; 24th May 2013 at 18:04.

  20. #20
    Master seffrican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuck View Post
    Ceramic cases will be predominately china clay based... That costs about 6 for a 20 kilo bag at retail. Eddie would know better than myself but how much do you expect 20 kilos of stainless steel to cost... Im guessing a lot more than a fiver with change. I suspect the high price is due to it being 'the new thing'. So my statement is basically based on cost of raw materials. They will have added a few binding ingredients and probably some fine fibre to more readily smooth things out and to add a bit of strength... But its not beyond something that any secondary school tech class couldn't handle....if they had a big press to compress the clay.
    The raw material costs have only a tiny impact on the manufactured costs, which have only the tiniest impact on the retail prices.

    --Edit--

    At current commodity prices, 20 kg of 316 stainless would cost you less than $50.
    Last edited by seffrican; 24th May 2013 at 17:49. Reason: Added info

  21. #21
    Master Crispin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingBanana View Post
    Ceramic watches hold virtually zero interest for me. As far as I am concerned, it is not much different to a plastic watch. Same goes for carbon fibre efforts.
    Agree with this sentiment entirely...........all the same, a hubba bubba nightmare for the owner of that one

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by seffrican View Post
    The raw material costs have only a tiny impact on the manufactured costs, which have only the tiniest impact on the retail prices.
    You did read my bit on how ceramic cases aren't actually made from clay, right?

    Regards,
    Adam

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyO View Post
    One reason I would never buy a ceramic watch, the cost to replace the case will be horrendously expensive.
    Indeed. When the little ceramic bezel insert on a Sub costs around $1,000 to replace, can you imagine what a case would cost?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by craniotes View Post
    Ouch. ;-)

    Regards,
    Adam
    Hello Adam. I didn't realize you're a member of this forum too.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by JP Chestnut View Post
    Hello Adam. I didn't realize you're a member of this forum too.
    Hey, JP! Yeah, these guys are straight shooters, so it's refreshing to pop in from time-to-time.

    Regards,
    Adam

  26. #26
    Looks like the material isn't really 'fit for purpose' - steel cases are stronger, and plastic g shocks don't fail like this.

  27. #27
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    ceramic watches will wear a hell of a lot better than steel apart from someone dropping them onto a hard surface, which isnt all that clever no matter what material your watch is made of

  28. #28
    Grand Master
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    Very true the ceramic has shattered but steel would have got a nasty ding (maybe) but the steel would still be highly wearable whereas the Ceramic is somewhat written off! Im not a massive fan, I like them for what they are but dont think Id ever commit to buy and this adds weight to my thought process

  29. #29
    hmm...makes me think twice about a ceramic speedy aka dark side of the moon...

  30. #30
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    Saw this happen with a ceramic Hublot.

    In fairness to Hublot, JC Biver saw the photo and replaced the case. Be a lot easier if it didn't happen though.

  31. #31
    Craftsman Dr.Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JP Chestnut View Post
    Indeed. When the little ceramic bezel insert on a Sub costs around $1,000 to replace, can you imagine what a case would cost?
    The repair estimate is $8,700.
    Cheap indeed.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by 100thmonkey View Post
    Very true the ceramic has shattered but steel would have got a nasty ding (maybe) but the steel would still be highly wearable whereas the Ceramic is somewhat written off! Im not a massive fan, I like them for what they are but dont think Id ever commit to buy and this adds weight to my thought process
    The thing about steel is that it can be repaired in amazing ways. With laser welding, a lapping machine, and a great deal of skill it appears that almost every steel case can be put to right. I'm a bit of a purist so the ceramic isn't for me, but I'm glad people have choices - they just need to be aware of the pluses (doesn't really scratch) and minuses (it might shatter) of ceramic.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by funkstar View Post
    Saw this happen with a ceramic Hublot.

    In fairness to Hublot, JC Biver saw the photo and replaced the case. Be a lot easier if it didn't happen though.
    Well, it was a Hublot... maybe the watch wanted to commit suicide.

  33. #33
    Craftsman canuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craniotes View Post
    "Ceramic" cases are actually made from zirconium oxide, not clay, and yes, they're considerably more labor-intensive and expensive to manufacture than steel or titanium cases. Are they brittle? Sure, that's the price one pays for their extremely high degree of scratch-resistance, so potential owners need to be aware of this before they drop their cash (lest they drop their watch).
    Ah, didnt know that. So its an industrial ceramic material... Even more brittle an room temperature. I would love to see how these cases are made so please tell us more if you do know. I cant figure now they would be made apart from a hydraulic ram and heat. Thanks for the info!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuck View Post
    Ah, didnt know that. So its an industrial ceramic material... Even more brittle an room temperature. I would love to see how these cases are made so please tell us more if you do know. I cant figure now they would be made apart from a hydraulic ram and heat. Thanks for the info!
    The new ceramic Speedmaster is milled out of a blank and then polished - the same as most good metal cases.

  35. #35
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    Not a fan of ceramic or PVD. Deepest sympathy to the owners.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Brian View Post
    The repair estimate is $8,700.
    Cheap indeed.
    That is utterly mental. Offensively so.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by MerlinShepherd View Post
    I quite like it. It's what I would call proper WABI.

    Seriously though, what a horrible thing to happen. The owner must be gutted beyond imagination.
    Lol!

    Comiserations to the owner, I must admit I was always a little worried about something like this when I had the DSSD.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by chicaneuk View Post
    Wait. Ceramic is cheaper to produce? So why do ceramic dialed watches command such high premiums?
    Ceramic's one of the "buzz words" of the moment, and people who buy expensive watches generally love a good buzz word!
    And raw material costs, whether higher or lower, are irrelevant to the price charged by the watch houses.
    Luxury watches are not in any way priced with any kind of good value for money in mind - their manufacturers leave it to the more gullible of us to convince ourselves of that!
    The rest of us just bend over and take our medicine - that's the hobby!

  39. #39
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    Wow I had no idea ceramic could just shatter from what sounds like not a high fall! Definitely a SS guy!

  40. #40
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    Ouch is all I can say for the poor watch and wallet likewise. Ceramic looks really nice however I'll stick with ceramic inserts for now.

  41. #41
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    Up until the start of the month I worked for a large engineering ceramics company specialising in technical ceramics. (Zirconia, alumina,silicon nitride etc)

    We made many engineering components and also other bits and pieces.

    I personally quoted parts for a few large watch and mobile phone manufactures but was always declined due to our prices being too high, they would rather pay cheap Chinese prices.

    Zirconium oxide is an expensive raw material bought in from Japan or Australia, we were paying around 70 per kilo.

    Each part starts off as powder which is isostatically pressed into a billet, this billet has to be much larger than the finished componant as when fired for up to a week the part will shrink up to 25% in each direction.

    The part then has to be finished using diamond tooling and polishing wheels.

    If designed and made properly the parts should not chip or shatter.

    Many parts I have sold are used down hole in oil applications and are subjected to thousands of impacts under heat and pressure.

  42. #42
    Master seffrican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craniotes View Post
    You did read my bit on how ceramic cases aren't actually made from clay, right?
    No, not before I posted mine, look at the timestamps - posted at the same minute.

    If you can find where I claimed that they were made from China clay, please point it out to me. To me, I appear to have written that raw materials costs are very little to do with the final cost, which is apparently exactly what you were saying.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by seffrican View Post
    No, not before I posted mine, look at the timestamps - posted at the same minute.

    If you can find where I claimed that they were made from China clay, please point it out to me. To me, I appear to have written that raw materials costs are very little to do with the final cost, which is apparently exactly what you were saying.
    Easy there, big guy, I didn't mean to get your dander up. Since you responded directly to the "china clay" comment, I assumed -- mistakenly, clearly -- that you hadn't seen my response. No offense was intended.

    Regards,
    Adam

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by craniotes View Post
    "Ceramic" cases are actually made from zirconium oxide, not clay, and yes, they're considerably more labor-intensive and expensive to manufacture than steel or titanium cases. Are they brittle? Sure, that's the price one pays for their extremely high degree of scratch-resistance, so potential owners need to be aware of this before they drop their cash (lest they drop their watch).

    For my part, I'm more than willing to have an essentially scratch-proof watch at the expense of a one-in-a-million chance that I'm going to be so careless as to let my expensive trinket take a dive and potentially crack the case, but I can certainly see the other side of the equation (for those with aesthetic issues, le sigh...). I will say from experience, however, that my ceramic watches have proven to exceptionally resilient when subjected to every day knocks (I once banged my Top Gun Double Chrono so hard against a playground jungle gym that it took the paint of the metal bar; a steel or titanium watch would've had a divot taken out, but the Top Gun still looked brand new).



    Remove thy beak from my heart:


    Ouch. ;-)

    Regards,
    Adam

    good argument and i couldnt agree more.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by ac82 View Post
    Up until the start of the month I worked for a large engineering ceramics company specialising in technical ceramics. (Zirconia, alumina,silicon nitride etc)

    We made many engineering components and also other bits and pieces.

    I personally quoted parts for a few large watch and mobile phone manufactures but was always declined due to our prices being too high, they would rather pay cheap Chinese prices.

    Zirconium oxide is an expensive raw material bought in from Japan or Australia, we were paying around 70 per kilo.

    Each part starts off as powder which is isostatically pressed into a billet, this billet has to be much larger than the finished componant as when fired for up to a week the part will shrink up to 25% in each direction.

    The part then has to be finished using diamond tooling and polishing wheels.

    If designed and made properly the parts should not chip or shatter.

    Many parts I have sold are used down hole in oil applications and are subjected to thousands of impacts under heat and pressure.
    So in essence, IWC buy their cases from Guangdong...? wouldnt surprise me one bit. Always been weary of IWC, bit of a crap brand tbh.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by 744ER View Post
    So in essence, IWC buy their cases from Guangdong...? wouldnt surprise me one bit. Always been weary of IWC, bit of a crap brand tbh.
    I doubt China had yet stolen the intellectual property required for this sort of thing when IWC released their first ceramic watch (the 3705 in 1994). There's no doubt that the cheap, flat looking, and unattractive case on that new Tudor comes from the country of "imported".

  47. #47
    Master senraw's Avatar
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    Think i'll stick to Steel and Titanium.

    I'd much rather have a few scratches and dings than a broken watch case.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by senraw View Post
    Think i'll stick to Steel and Titanium.

    I'd much rather have a few scratches and dings than a broken watch case.
    Same here, I love the new speedy but price and this thread put me off

  49. #49
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 744ER View Post
    So in essence, IWC buy their cases from Guangdong...? wouldnt surprise me one bit. Always been weary of IWC, bit of a crap brand tbh.
    And this is based on?
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by 744ER View Post
    So in essence, IWC buy their cases from Guangdong...? wouldnt surprise me one bit. Always been weary of IWC, bit of a crap brand tbh.
    Yeah, care to explain how you came to that conclusion?

    As for your "crap brand" comment, well, everyone's entitled to their opinion, I 'spose.

    Regards,
    Adam

    PS - Are you weary of IWC or wary of IWC? Both, maybe?

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