With black wristwatches celebrating — roughly — a half-century of availability, and they’re certainly enjoying an increase in popularity, it’s easy to see, when looking back, that the biggest challenge has been durability. Early black-coated watches revealed their base metals with the slightest of scratches, whereas later versions yielded to much wear-and-tear before the steel showed through.
Aside from materials that are coloured all the way through, especially ceramics, titanium, plastics and carbon fibre, treatments and coatings are required to make black watch cases. Watchmakers who wish to use the best material of all — stainless steel — have tried everything from baked-on powder coatings to anodising to the latest treatments that work on a molecular level. Here’s Revolution’s guide to the various solutions.