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In Depth

Liquid Metal : Precious Timepieces

By Watches of Switzerland Group | 5 minute read

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Whether forged at in-house foundries or developed in sterile labs, brands are experimenting with enhancing precious metals or even creating entirely new ones to deploy throughout their collections. Here, we uncover the latest forms of luxurious alchemy emerging from Switzerland’s watchmaking maisons.

OMEGA SEAMASTER 300 BRONZE GOLD -pictured above

Representing the very first OMEGA to be created in this patent-pending alloy, the Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold joins a host of recent industry-wide releases focused on a material celebrated for its ever-changing patina and incomparable corrosion resistance. OMEGA’s Bronze Gold is an alloy enriched with 37.5 per cent gold, hallmarked as 9K, as well as palladium and silver. It gives a chocolatey-pink hue to the 41mm case, and this is mirrored in the bronze dial with its recessed hour markers, open numerals and Bronze Gold coloured hands. The dark, rich tones give a convincing sense of timeless luxury.

TUDOR BLACK BAY FIFTY-EIGHT 925 - pictured below

TUDOR has a habit of stealing the show with its annual releases, and 2021 saw the announcement of another newsworthy, left-field version of its successful Black Bay Fifty-Eight dive-watch range. With a 70-hour power reserve and 200m of water resistance, this TUDOR’s performance is as strong as you’d expect but, intriguingly, the 39mm case, bezel and crown are made from the brand’s own blend of 925 silver – an almost unheard-of choice of metal in luxury watches, especially within the category of sports watches. As a relatively malleable alloy, it creates a softer, warmer, more luxurious finish and feel when compared to polished steel. A unique and brave piece of watchmaking.

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TAG HEUER AQUARACER PROFESSIONAL 300

With a case and bracelet formed from lightweight, scratch-resistant, sandblasted grade 2 titanium, the Aquaracer Professional 300 continues TAG Heuer’s long tradition of producing watches that deliver refined aesthetics with strong functionality. Used extensively in the aerospace and marine industries, titanium is a metal with low density and high strength, and is resistant to corrosion caused by sea water and chlorine. This 43mm dive watch is certainly confidence-inspiring, and with its 300m of water resistance, 38-hour power reserve and fantastic green dial/bezel combo, it’s certainly one of our favourite releases of the year.

HUBLOT BIG BANG ONE CLICK KING GOLD

When it comes to materials innovation, Hublot is a master of what its likes to call ‘The Art of Fusion’. Whether it’s the first use of rubber in watchmaking, or creating new precious alloys such as scratch-proof Magic Gold, unique materials are always at the heart of the Hublot universe. It’s therefore little surprise that the brand has developed yet another stunning alloy – King Gold. Created using platinum to give a warmer shade than traditional 5N 18K gold, its lustrousness is a perfect counterpoint to the pure white dial, rubber strap and diamond-set bezel of this ladies’ 39mm Big Bang One Click

AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE SELF-WINDING CHRONOGRAPH - pictured below

After releasing the Offshore range some 27 years ago as a follow-up to one of the world’s most seminal timepieces in the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet continue to release popular variants of their sporty, big and bold chronographs. Here, black ceramic meets 18-carat pink in a newly designed 43mm model. Pink gold, made from a gold and copper alloy, creates a subtle yet defining pinkish-orange hue to this piece that is powered by an in-house calibre 4401 automatic movement. Finished with its refined black ‘Méga Tapisserie’ dial, screw-locked crown and sandblasted pushpiece guards, it’s a watch of self-assured form and function.

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PANERAI PICCOLO DUE MADREPERLA - pictured below

Seasoned divers are well-versed in the many myths about hidden chests of pirate gold. Yet Panerai, a brand defined by its long and significant diving heritage, thought this noblest of all metals could do with some additional enhancement. That’s why it created Panerai Goldtech™ – a gold alloy with a percentage of copper that imbues the material with a rich red hue, plus a small amount of platinum to prevent oxidisation. The elegant result extends the life and lustre of the Piccolo Due MadrePerla’s 38mm case, and creates an eye-catching frame for that unique white mother-of-pearl dial with date window at 3 o’clock and small seconds at 9 o’clock.

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Discover more precious metal pieces at Mappin & Webb.

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