Have you ever given much thought to the stainless steel which your watch is made of ? You may have thought that all stainless steel are the same; it is a kind of metal alloy that contains iron, carbon and chromium. In actual fact there are different types of stainless steel.
The different types of stainless steel differ in the metal composition. Most watches are made with 201 stainless steel or 304L stainless steel. They are cheaper to produce but they are less corrosion-resistant and magnetic-resistant.
Many luxury watches put great emphasis on the fact that their watch cases are made of 316L, 904L or Surgical Grade Stainless Steel.
316L Stainless steel is a grade of stainless steel that has extra-low carbon content and is extremely resistant to corrosion such as seawater or acidic liquids. 316L is also magnetic resistant, unlike the general-use stainless steel grade of 201or 304L. With Molybdenum added, it gives 316L a better overall corrosion-resistant property than 304L. Therefore the material is widely used in diving equipments due to the materials' high corrosion-resistance.
904L stainless steel is well known for its superior resistance to corrosion because 904L grades high in Chromium, Molybdenum and Nickel ( expensive ingredient ). With the addition of copper , it gave 904L greatly improved resistance to strong reducing acids, particularly sulphuric acid. It is also highly resistant to chloride attack and both pitting and crevice corrosion. This grade is non-magnetic in all conditions and has excellent toughness, weldability and formability. Due to its superior characteristics, 904L is a more expensive material.
"Surgical Grade" Stainless steel, as the name suggests, is widely used in biomedical applications. Surgical Grade is a term given by product manufacturers or distributors to any corrosion-resistant steel. It is not a grade of steel but it is an application of a steel.
Most major luxury watch companies applies 316L for the overall well-rounded advantages. Even the recently announced Apple iWatch have chosen 316L stainless steel for it's remarkable corrosion and strength properties.
At Travisleon, we have chosen 316L as the choice of material. We want to provide an affordable timepieces without compromising quality.
Update: Check out our latest BOLDR Diving collection here.