When it comes to watch materials, the traditional choices often see gold and platinum on precious dress watches, and more functional timepieces such as sports watches made from stainless steel. However, in recent years – and the past few months – titanium watches are quickly stealing the show and outshining their steely counterparts.
Titanium wasn’t always first pick though, having struggled with mainstream acceptance due to its high production costs, and lack of lustre and scratch-resistance when compared to stainless steel. But thanks to the creativity and ingenuity of mankind, recent advancements have, for the most part, improved these drawbacks, eventually becoming a worthy contender against steel.
So what’s so great about titanium?
For most, if not all, watchmakers and wearers, the biggest advantage titanium has is that it is lightweight, weighing around half of stainless steel. This allows for a more comfortable wear on the wrist. It’s also surprisingly robust, even with its lightweight quality, and possesses stronger anti-corrosion properties compared to steel. This makes the material hypoallergenic and in a way, non-toxic. And while it used to have a reputation for being a softer metal than steel, the use of modern coatings and alloys on titanium have managed to make it even harder than steel.
The only downside is that titanium is a lot more expensive to produce than stainless steel, and that it doesn’t have the same polished look. Oftentimes you’ll find titanium watches in matte or blasted finishes, but this usually just comes down to personal preference.
So if you’re someone who’s got a soft spot for titanium, or you’re thinking about picking one up to add to your collection, here are some of the best titanium watches to look out for right now.
The Longines Avigation BigEye
Longines updates one of its flagship models, inspired by a watch from the ‘30s that was known for resembling post-World War II pilot’s chronographs, into a stylish new edition – now featuring a vibrant petrol blue gradient dial, and you guessed it, a titanium case. The 41mm Grade 5 titanium case sports the typical shape from the ‘30s and ‘40s, together with a stepped bezel with a coin-edged profile and the lugs integrated into the middle case. The dial is given a pronounced grained texture together with its gradient effect, while the striking blue contrasts beautifully with the vintage tone of the markers. W longines.com
Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin Edition
Born from the shared passion for refined craftsmanship and precise engineering between Girard-Perregaux and British car manufacturer Aston Martin, the Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges – Aston Martin edition is a contemporary take on the former’s iconic 1884 Three Bridges pocket watch. Its case is formed of Grade 5 titanium, which was specially selected by Aston Martin for its strong and lightweight properties, while black DLC gives the case a stealthy yet arresting appearance. The use of titanium also recalls a piece of history – where its ore was first discovered in Great Britain – the home of Aston Martin – back in 1791, in the same year the watchmaker was founded. W girard-perregaux.com
TAG Heuer Connected
High-tech materials meet everyday action in the new TAG Heuer Connected, which is a result of 160 years of expertise. Equipped with a Grade 2 titanium case, ceramic bezel with microblasted PVD finish, intelligent integrated functions, an integral touchscreen, and a digital dial that’s exclusive to TAG Heuer, this luxurious sports watch was made to keep up with your active lifestyle. Connect it to its exclusive app to track your performance in a few taps, which includes extended details on your workouts such as trace, distance, duration, pace or speed, heart rate, and calories. W tagheuer.com
IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Watch Chronograph edition “AMG”
For IWC’s first 43mm Pilot’s Watch Chronograph featuring the IWC-manufactured 69385 calibre, the “AMG” edition, the Swiss watchmaker welcomed another first for the collection – a case made of titanium. To give the watch its sporty, matte grey appearance, IWC chose a Grade 5 titanium finish inspired by Mercedes-AMG’s signature Selenite Grey Magno paint finish. Building on the theme of robust lightness, the watch dial also features precisely woven carbon fibre which reflects the material that’s directly derived from AMG’s aero components. W iwc.com
Richard Mille RM40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail
Known as Richard Mille’s most extreme watch yet, the RM40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail takes inspiration from McLaren’s first Hyper-GT and its fastest road car ever, the hybrid Speedtail. Retailing at US$1.022 million, the casing department at Richard Mille spent 2,800 hours in the span of 18 months just to perfect the case’s aerodynamic teardrop silhouette. It’s made with 69 parts, combining titanium and high-tech Carbon TPT, with contrasting mirror-polished, plain, and satin-finished to highlight its unique geometry. W richardmille.com
Featured image: Longines