Ceramic watches

Increasingly used in watchmaking and requiring a true expertise, ceramic is a material with many qualities. Durable, unalterable, hypoallergenic and lightweight, it is extremely smooth to the touch, which makes for an undeniable feeling of comfort on the skin. Matte or polished, this material brings a whole new dimension to watches. A dimension in which the timepiece becomes a design object in itself.

By Chloé Redler

RADO, True Square Thinline Les Couleurs™ Le Corbusier

Coloured ceramic is an art

It would be a crime to write about ceramic watches without mentioning Rado. In the last 35 years, the maison indeed became a master in the art of high technology ceramic more than thirty-five years ago, though it is a difficult to machine material. In addition to the first collection True Thinline Les Couleurs™ Le Corbusier, the brand proves its mastery once again with three new references True Square Thinline Les Couleurs™ Le Corbusier. These watches are inspired by the remarkable work on colour of the famous architect and designer Le Corbusier: Architectural Polychromy.

The True Square Thinline Les Couleurs™ Le Corbusier is made of an ivory black matt high-tech ceramic crown and monobloc bracelet.

This major work has 63 different shades total. 43 of them were released in 1931, then 20 other shades were added in 1959. With harmonious and practically unlimited combinations that truly impact humans and space, these shades can be found on this design trio. The maison was able to copy the colours of the famous palette: a true technical feat.

One watch, three possibilities

This is also the first time that Rado used several different coloured ceramics in a single piece. The result is a success. The first version has a case and a bezel made of dark grey and slightly greyed English matt high-tech ceramic. It also has a grey sun-brushed dial punctuated with hands that echo the green shade of the links. As for the second model, it bears colours like grey brown natural umber and cream white.

The matt ceramic version is grey brown natural umber and cream white.

These shades are also present on the case, the dial, and the bracelet. The last variation has a timeless completely black look – or should we say ivory black. All animated by a well-made Swiss quartz movement, these watches have a rectangular case – 37 x 43.3 mm – only 5 mm thick, which provides extreme comfort for your wrist, whether it is slender or on the thicker side. The caseback also deserves special mention, as its sapphire crystal is decorated with digitally printed Le Corbusier colours strips.

The sapphire crystal flaunts the Le Corbusier colours strips.

Edition limited to 999 copies each.

32141 grey brown natural umber – 32001 cream white – €2,700
32010 iron grey – 32041 greyed English green – €2,700
4320E ivory black – €2,450

Click here to read the Rado True Square Thinline Les Couleurs™ Le Corbusier full technical sheet.

An exclusive box

Rado is releasing a special set that will doubtlessly be the envy of watch lovers. Inside, eight watches True Thinline Les Couleurs™ Le Corbusier with a round case highlight a ninth black watch, a True Square Thinline Les Couleurs™ Le Corbusier. But hurry up, this is a limited edition, there are only 99 copies.

Collector box with eight True Thinline and the ceramic black True Square Thinline – 99 copies – €20,850.


HERBELIN, Newport Ceramic 35th anniversary

This year, the Newport collection by Herbelin is celebrating its 35th anniversary. For the occasion, the maison is releasing a high technology piece with this new black ceramic Newport. Available in 38 or 43 mm, each version is 500 copies limited edition. A nice surprise when it comes to design, this minimalistic and refined piece still displays the distinctive features of the Newport line: central lugs, marine wheel engraved crown, and a large porthole-style bezel.

The Newport Ceramic 35th anniversary by Herbelin.

As for the case, it is cut into three facets with a polished finish that reflects the light. A bold choice of Herbelin, as choosing a matte black finish would have been coherent as well. The dial too is in black ceramic, which provides undeniable depth to the ensemble. Contrasting steel hands are accompanied by the mentions “Newport 35 automatique” and “Made in France” – and not “Made in Frank”. Spoiler alert, a new collab is in the works. Contributing to the total look, the black strap is in black elastomer, which emphasizes the sport chic look of the watch. The line of the central lugs continues all the way to the buckle. Regarding the mechanics, we have an automatic Sellita movement with an almost 56-hour power reserve. It is visible through a transparent crystal, behind which you can also see the oscillating mass – engraved with “Herbelin”.

The Newport Ceramic 35th anniversary is available in 38 mm and 43 mm.



IWC, Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun “Oceana”

IWC and ceramic

For the record, IWC was one of the first manufactures to ever use ceramic for watch cases, but also one of the first to develop coloured ceramics – in white and green. This process requires true savoir-faire, as making coloured ceramic is quite the watchmaking feat. To create different shades, you need a clever mix of zirconium oxide and other metal oxides. Each shade requires different raw materials and precise blends. Then, sintering temperature and time are crucial steps to transform a mineral powder into a dense ceramic.

The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun “Oceana” by IWC stands out with its blue ceramic.

With the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun “Oceana”, IWC introduces a new ceramic colour: blue. Developed in collaboration with Pantone, this shade is inspired by the overalls of the U.S Navy pilots. the chronograph is completed by a trendy strap in blue rubber with a denim finish textile inlay.

A beautiful pilot

The blue colour is also present on the easily visible dial – this is a pilot’s instrument after all! The hands and indices are covered in luminescent coating and the hours numbers are oversized. There is a triangular marker at 12 o’clock, a date and day display at 3 o’clock, and the three counters are vertically displayed. This piece is animated by an automatic manufacture calibre, both robust and precise, which offers a nearly 46-hour power reserve. It is also protected by a soft-iron inner case resistant to the effects of magnetic fields and water resistant to 100 m.

A super trendy strap in blue rubber with a denim finish.


Click here to read the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun “Oceana” full technical sheet.


ZENITH, Defy El Primero 21 Chroma II

Available in black or white ceramic, the Defy El Primero 21 Chroma II is animated by a very innovative movement featuring two gear trains and two independent regulating organs for the timekeeping and chronograph functions. They respectively operate at frequencies of 5Hz (36’000 VpH) and 50Hz (360’000 VpH). This means that this watch can display the 1/100th of a second.

The new Defy El Primero 21 Chroma II by Zenith.

Unsurprisingly, the watch is chronometer certified. The gears of this marvellous piece of mechanism are visible through an openwork dial whose chronograph counters match the colour of the watch. The twelve indices of the dial exhibit eye-catching rainbow shades. Even better, this colour gradient spreads to the gears of the dial and to the elements of the watch.

The Defy El Primero 21 Chroma II is a chronometer that displays the 1/100th of a second.

For example, on the black version, the index at 3 o’clock is yellow, and this colour is also present on the crown’s rubber grip ring, and this is the same with the colour blue on the white version… On the hands, on the gears etc. A small difference is to be noted, the colour spectrum is more pastel with blue and pink gradients on the white model, while the colours are far more vibrant on the black model. This rainbow bleeds into the stitches of the rubber strap.

In blue for the black ceramic version, the oscillating mass is star-shaped, a nod to the emblem of Zenith.

Last detail: visible through a sapphire caseback, there is an oscillating mass – blue for the black model and green for the white model – in the shape of a star, emblem of Zenith. We have come full circle.

€ 16,800

Click here to read the Defy El Primero 21 Chroma II in black ceramic and the Defy El Primero 21 Chroma II in white ceramic full technical sheet.



AUDEMARS PIGUET, Royal Oak Selfwinding

In 2021, Audemars Piguet released a version of the Royal Oak Selfwinding in black ceramic. Today, it is coming back in a white ceramic version with contrasting pink gold elements. Simply stunning. On the smaller side, this 34 mm timepiece has a silver dial with a “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, punctuated with pink gold luminescent hands and indices and the applied Audemars Piguet signature obtained through a galvanic growth process at 12 o’clock.

The Royal Oak Selfwinding, a 34 mm and white ceramic high tech piece.

Pink gold is also present on the eight visible screws placed on the bezel, on the edge of the sapphire caseback and on the oscillating mass. To complete the whole thing, a white ceramic bracelet has invisible pins that are directly integrated to the studs to connect them to the links, which makes it very flexible. Regarding the mechanical aspect of this watch, the 5800 self-winding calibre was created especially for this 34 mm model. The movement features high-end decorations such as Côtes de Genève, circular graining, satin and sunray finishes. It offers a 50-hour power reserve.

In the centre of a pink gold edge, the sapphire caseback reveals a 22-carat pink gold oscillating mass.


Click here to read the Royal Oak Selfwinding white ceramic 34 mm full technical sheet.


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