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BOTTA Tri-Titanium watches

Titanium, the miracle material for wristwatches?

“Titanium is an extraterrestrial material that only occurs in asteroids”

“Titanium is a synthetic miracle material with superpowers"

"Titan is indestructible"

These and similar myths surround a material that has only recently been used Time is known and technology has changed significantly in the past decades. Of course, all three theories listed above are exaggerated, but there is some truth in each of these three bold claims. In this clearly and understandably written article, I will give you an overview of the real background and capabilities of this special metal. Reading it certainly won't make you a material expert, but it will give you interesting facts and a sound basic knowledge of the many facets that titanium and tri-titanium have to offer. You will also learn a lot about the advantages of titanium watches vs. stainless steel watches.

Titanium - the miracle material?

Was ist Titan?

Ist es tatsächlich das Wunder-Metall mit überirdischen Fähigkeiten oder doch nur ein besonders stabiles Leichtmetall?

Ist Titan mit seinen besonderen Eigenschaften wie Leichtigkeit, Allergiefreiheit, Festigkeit, Korrosionsbeständigkeit, Magnetresistenz und seinem typischen edlen Aussehen das perfekte Material für hochwertige Armbanduhren mit besonderem Anspruch?

What exactly is titanium?

Titanium is one of the approximately 100 chemical elements that we know. It has the atomic number 22 and belongs to the metal group. With a density of 4.5 g/cm3, it is the heaviest of all light metals. Titanium isn't all that rare on Earth, making up 5% of the Earth's crust. However, it almost never occurs in nature in its pure form, but almost always in combination with other elements. Titanium has only been available in a solid (pure) form for a few decades. In 1831, Justus von Liebig was the first to succeed in producing metallic titanium in the laboratory. It was only in the 1940s that William Justin Kroll succeeded in producing the light metal titanium industrially in large quantities using the process named after him. Due to the complex manufacturing process, titanium is still a very expensive special metal today, around ten times more expensive than steel. Titanium is also found in relatively high proportions in asteroids. There are already considerations for “asteroid mining”.

What exactly is titanium?
Titanium: First choice for men's watches, but also for women's wristwatches

Titanium: First choice for men's watches, but also for women's wristwatches

Titanium can also, or perhaps even especially, exploit its unique properties particularly well in women's watches. Women are more likely than average to develop allergies and therefore benefit from the anti-allergic properties of the light metal. The lightness and flat design that this material enables can also be a decisive advantage for women, as it noticeably increases wearing comfort. Last but not least, the subtly elegant and unobtrusive appearance of titanium often makes this metal the first choice for design-conscious women who consciously want to stand out from the mainstream.

Tri-Titanium watches

Titanium has exceptional strength and toughness

For the same weight, it is more resilient than steel. This property makes this light metal particularly interesting for special applications. It has many applications, especially in space travel, aircraft construction and medical technology. The extraordinary toughness and strength combined with its relatively low weight make titanium particularly attractive and valuable as a case material for wristwatches.

Titanium has exceptional strength and toughness
Titanium watches are corrosion-resistant and have “self-healing” properties.

Titanium watches are corrosion-resistant and have “self-healing” properties.

The resistance of titanium watches to corrosion is essentially based on the formation of a very stable protective layer made of titanium oxide, which protects the material very effectively from external influences. Even if there is damage, a protective layer of titanium oxide forms very quickly, which after a short time returns to the color and gloss of the surrounding material. In this context, one also speaks of the “self-healing ability of titanium”. Here too, the material can fully exploit its properties when used in titanium watch cases.

Titanium is anti-magnetic

Titanium cannot be magnetized and resists magnetic fields. This property makes it very interesting for the use of titanium wristwatches, among other things, because the magnetization of watch cases is a serious problem, especially with mechanical watches. A problem that is unknown with titanium watches or titanium cases.

Titanium is anti-magnetic
Titanium is light – but not too light

Titanium is light – but not too light

With a density of 4.5 g/cm3, titanium is around 42% lighter than stainless steel (density 7.8 g/cm3) but in turn significantly more stable and heavier than aluminum (density 2.7 g/m3). The weight advantage over steel, This is particularly noticeable on larger watches. Titanium watches are pleasantly light but by no means too light.

Titanium is anti allergic

Titanium is one of the few substances that cannot cause any allergies. This special property often makes titanium the only metal that allergy sufferers can wear directly on (or in) their bodies. But it can also be used as a precaution against other materials to avoid allergies. Together with its other properties such as low weight, anti-magnetic properties, good wear resistance and resilience, along with its elegant appearance make it a very attractive alternative in many areas of technology and aesthetics. This is how the best titanium watches can be produced with a long service life.

Titanium is anti allergic
Titanium is difficult to machine

Titanium is difficult to machine

The processing of the refractory metal titanium places the highest demands on machines and tools when producing titanium wristwatches. Due to its structural structure, it is very difficult to shape (bending, pressing, forging), but also difficult to machine (turning, drilling, milling, punching). Titanium requires special carbide inserts for exciting processing. The processing of titanium is further complicated by the fact that it can ignite or even explode when very high temperatures are reached during the processing process. Titanium can also “burn” in a pure nitrogen atmosphere, producing extremely high temperatures. “Superpowers and supernatural abilities” are not entirely out of thin air. But don't worry: once shaped, titanium is an extremely tame and tolerable material with great properties.

Titanium is expensive.

Especially due to its complex production, titanium is very expensive to extremely expensive, depending on its alloy. Regular grade 5 titanium, for example, is about ten times more expensive than steel. High-alloy titanium types, such as those we use for our titanium watches, cost many times more than low-alloy titanium types or pure titanium.

Titanium is expensive.
For a long time, titanium was unthinkable for a use in watch cases

For a long time, titanium was unthinkable for a use in watch cases

Until the 1980s, titanium was considered unsuitable for use in watch cases. It was only through the use of complex processes and special tools that Omega was able to bring a titanium watch onto the market for the first time with the Seamaster at the end of the 80s. Shortly afterward, in the early 1990s, the BOTTA brand brought the brand's first all-titanium watch onto the market: the Titan-1 (see picture). The Titan-1 was sold very successfully through the WatchPeople and BOTTA brands for over two decades. Many successor models such as the Helios, the Argos, the Clavius-1 and the one-hand watch Solus were also made of titanium. Wider use followed in the 2000s. The 24-hour models in particular were quickly converted to titanium cases, and later to tri-titanium cases. Since then, Tri-Titan has been the preferred material for BOTTA watches. The only one for our watch cases since October 2023.

What is "Tri-Titanium"?

Bei unseren Uhrengehäusen aus „Tri-Titan“ kommen gleich drei unterschiedliche Titansorten zum Einsatz. Daher auch der Name „Tri-Titan“ Für den Topring unserer Tri-Titan-Gehäuse verwenden wir eine besonders harte und zähe Sonderlegierung auf Titanbasis. Das sorgt für eine hohe Widerstandsfähigkeit in diesem exponierten Bereich. Für den mittleren Bereich unserer Tri-Titan-Gehäuse kommt eine besonders zähe und formstabile Titan-Legierung zum Einsatz. Sie gibt dem Gehäuse eine gute Stabilität und verhindert Verwindungen und Verschleiß (z.B. in den Bohrlöchern der Federstege). Der Boden bzw. der Bodenring unserer Tri-Titanuhren ist aus einem sehr reinen Titan hergestellt, das sonst vorwiegend in der Medizintechnik eingesetzt wird. Es eignet sich für Prothesen im und am Körper sowie für Implantate aller Art. Unsere Uhrenkonstruktionen aus Tri-Titan sind zwar aufwändig und teuer in der Produktion, haben jedoch überzeugende Vorteile bei der Verwendung als Uhrengehäuse. Das ist der Grund, weswegen wir ab Oktober 2023 die Gehäuse aller unserer Uhren aus Tri-Titan aufbauen. Zum Vorteil unserer Kunden.

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Titanium makes it possible to produce thin, lightweight wristwatches

Titanium makes it possible to produce thin, lightweight wristwatches

Thanks to its relatively low specific weight and high strength, this high-tech material makes it possible to produce flat, light but at the same time stable watch cases. Here it is clearly superior to other materials. Examples: Aluminum and magnesium are even lighter than titanium, but are significantly less stable and less resilient. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is similarly resilient, but significantly heavier. Ceramic is significantly more scratch-resistant and as light as titanium, but is significantly more susceptible to breakage. In my opinion, titanium cases and especially tri-titanium cases provide the best combination of all the properties that play a role in the construction of high-quality wristwatches.

Titanium looks good

Looks aren't everything, but if you have character traits as good as the precious light metal titanium, you can definitely afford to look good. And this special metal can be said to have a “shining appearance” at any time, even if it doesn’t really “shine” but rather shimmers with an elegant silky sheen. Wristwatches made of titanium appear technical, high-quality and elegant. This makes titanium an ideal material for watches with high demands on functionality, longevity and design.

Titanium looks good
So is titanium really a miracle material?

So is titanium really a miracle material?

One is almost inclined to answer this question in the affirmative when one evaluates the multitude of outstanding properties. In any case, it is a material that scores highly in practically all quality criteria. However, the complex production, low availability, difficult processing and high to very high price prevent widespread use of this precious light metal. It will therefore continue to be a material for high-tech products and special applications.

We are proud of our “Tri-Titanium” case material

In fact, we are proud to now be able to offer you all of our wristwatches in titanium or, more precisely, even in “tri-titanium”. And you, as the wearer of such a watch, have the good feeling of not only having an extraordinary watch, but also an extraordinary one to have watch cases made of special materials.

We are proud of our “Tri-Titanium” case material