Carbon watches, methods of production... and marketing!
Until very recently, carbon fiber or “Forged Carbon" watches were exclusive items, with lovers of fine mechanical watches commonly spending anywhere between 3,000€ and 20,000€ for the privilege of owning one.
How is a carbon fiber watch produced?
The production of quality carbon fiber models is, in fact, quite costly, as it requires the construction of a titanium “skeleton” to ensure impermeability, which is then overmolded at high pressure with a mix of resins and carbon fiber. This process requires molds which can cost around 15,000€ alone to create.
Ultimately, the main components made from carbon fiber are the case body and the bezel. The caseback and crown are typically steel or titanium, with a black PVD coating.
Why so expensive?
The relatively high price of a carbon fiber watch is mostly due to its complex construction: both the titanium skeleton and the mold require a specific machining technique, with a not-insignificant R&D investment on top of it all.
But these start-up costs often have an exaggerated impact on the prices offered by watchmakers, with some models even reaching 5-figure sums.
Real carbon fiber, or marketing speak?
With the aim of boosting their profit margins, many brands have also allowed “carbon” labels to flourish in recent years. But be wary if you’re looking for a real, quality carbon fiber watch; the term “carbon” is now loosely applied to almost everything in watchmaking.
As a result, the following may all be labeled “carbon”:
- watches made with resin filled with carbon powder;
- watches machined without a titanium skeleton, resulting in a lack of impermeability;
- black composite watches which appear very similar to carbon fiber, resulting in some brands using the term “carbon” in the product name.
What are the advantages of a carbon fiber watch?
A real carbon fiber watch comes with numerous benefits, both functional and visual:
- It’s 30% lighter than a steel watch
- Its material and technical construction mirror both cutting-edge motor sports and the aerospace industry
- Its distinctive esthetic helps it to stand out from traditional steel designs
- It’s an exclusive item usually available for anywhere between 3,000€ and 20,000€
How CODE41 has made carbon fiber watches more accessible
Thanks to the support of its community – and by limiting its profit margins on the models in question – CODE41 is able to offer its members a real carbon fiber watch for only 1'530€ (1'596 CHF) including VAT.
Despite this amazingly low price, the model is certainly not lacking in quality (impermeable titanium skeleton, molds developed specifically for CODE41, lightweight…), and its sporty design has already charmed plenty of fine watch fans!