Stainless Steel Watch? – Why Choose Stainless Steel And What Grade Is The Best?

13th October, 2020

Probably you have made a decision to buy a stainless steel watch. I guess that wasn’t an easy decision to make given there are many materials available for watchmaking ranging from plastics, silicone and leather. When we talk of classy looking watches that go with every formal occasional dresses and suits, stainless steel watches are the first category to come to mind and the most preferred style. You certainly are going to have a formal occasion this year be it graduation, wedding, corporate meetings, and you need to have a stainless steel made watch in your watch collection.


Other watches you may want to check


Why choose to buy stainless steel watch?

Lets explore why someone would possibly consider going to pick a stainless steel watch.

1. Stainless steel watches are Rust-proof and Corrosion Resistant

Watches have different purposes. moisture and chloride oxidation can render a beautifully looking stainless steel bracelet weaker and may develop holes in the watch case and band. Since a diving watch  gets constantly exposed to water or damped air so often,  it must be made from a high quality steel material in order to last. Anti-corrosive stainless steel material  makes your watch case and band to remain shiny and strong for long without losing color.

2. Pure stainless steel is not allergic

Some people have Nickel (and some metal) allergy when they wear stainless steel watches that have nickel as one of the alloy components in the bracelet. If you are metal allergic, get a pure steel watch. There are many watches made from high grade pure stainless steel material (also called surgical grade stainless steel) that is nickel-free. For medical and health reason, you will often hear  pure steel timepieces labeled  as 316L grade or hypoallergenic watches to distinguish them from other nickel alloy watches.

3. Stainless steel watches are hard and durable

What would you expect military watches to be made of – plastic or steel?  Obviously steel. Think about construction work watches, they get banged very often from heavy duty machinery, rods and concrete walls. Durability is one of the most important feature everyone expect in an ideal watch for outdoor rugged use. If you want a watch to withstand daily wears and tears, you’ll probably go for a stainless steel constructed model. Stainless steel watches for rugged professions are near indestructible, so field watches are made to endure every beating and stay unbreakable. that is why watch makers choose to build them with hard metal material made of iron.

4. Stainless steel is shiny, charming and attractive

The jewelry makers have one mission in mind, on how to add value – and that is to produce eye-catching and attractive pieces of jewelries. Most high-end luxury watches designed for women, come with very attractive, exceptionally crafted stainless steel bracelet. That is the reason why stainless steel watches still stand tall as a highly preferred object of fashion.

5. Stainless steel watches are affordable

Very common with watch enthusiasts on budget, the price tag is often the most important consideration. Watches with titanium bands, case and bezel are highly expensive than some steel coated models. Since stainless steel is readily available, such affordable stainless steel watches have the appearance of high-end models. You’ll even see some of them have a homage and classic looks, almost competing with the luxury Rolex models.

6. Stainless steel is easy to clean

It is easy to clean a shiny stainless steel strap than silicone bands. Watches for medical professionals like doctors and surgeons need to have easy and quick cleansing from infectious body fluid, so stainless steel constructed watches can be an excellent choice for them.   Stainless steel rolex watch with second hand

Stainless Steel Material Grades

Let’s first identify and list the quality signs to look for when buying a stainless steel watch. It is understandable that consumer find it difficult to determine the quality of the stainless steel material in the watch bracelet or watch case. A quality stainless steel is not a pure metal, it is an alloy ( mixture of metals made up of primarily iron, carbon and a bit of chromium). This composition is to endure the final material has excellent resistance against tough conditions and anti-corrosive. Stainless steel doesn’t stain, it is rustproof(does not rust or corrode) when exposed to moisture. These properties make it  suitable material for making durable outdoor watches, including smartwatches.

Beware of Fake stainless steel

You must look out for watches labeled as  stainless steel when they are not. You would likely find cheapest watches stainless steel smart watches that are made of material (alloys) that are decorated to look like stainless steel. though it can be a nice budget price smartwatch, but they easily corrode when exposed to air, moisture and other elements. Expect them to easily lose their bracelet color. The different stainless Steel Grades have different composition of metals, so they would have different strengths, weakness  and level of resistance.

201 stainless steel

It is the lowest grade of stainless steel for watch cases and bands . The 201 stainless steel grade is made from iron and about 15-20% chromium and  2-5% nickel . In terms of hardness, a 201 stainless steel smartwatch is the toughest but has the lowest resistance against corrosion and rusting. Hope you won’t mind having a smartwatch with a strong stainless steel band but which easily loses it color in open air and moisture.

304L stainless steel

It is very common and it is of good quality grade made from iron 18 and 20 percent chromium and up to 12 percent nickel. If you find a stainless steel watch with the 304L grade, you sure have a nice timepiece whose bracelet  can withstand corrosion and won’t get rust  oxidizing agents. However, the downside of 304L stainless steel watches is that their bands are very susceptible to chloride corrosion causing small holes in the metal strap.

316L stainless steel grade

This is a premium choice for most luxury watchmakers like Omega. A  316L stainless steel watch case or strap looks almost similar to 304L bracelets. The only exceptions that 316  incorporate 2.5% molybdenum to add resistance against chloride corrosion, hence, 316 has a superior quality and resistance. you would often hear it mostly  referred as surgical grade stainless steel since the grade is preferable for biomedical equipments and applications. Watches made of this grade are good for marine purposes  – watches with marine grade stainless steel.

904L Premium Stainless steel

This is super resistant stainless steel material. if watch manufacturer wants to compete with the famous Rolex, they should use this steel grade for producing their watches. With high amounts of chromium (19-23%), molybdenum (5%) and nickel (23-28%), expect it to be the hardest, the most corrosion resistant and rust-free. The high grade of Nickel might makes a watch with 904l stainless steel band unsuitable for people with Nickel allergy.


Apple Watch stainless steel vs Aluminum

Let’s us see why Apple Watch stainless steel versions are better than Aluminum models.

Both stainless steel Apple watches and aluminum built Apple Watch glitters and look shiny and attractive. You won’t pass unnoticed.

However, Stainless steel and Sapphire Crystal glass crystal are stronger and durable materials that can everyday beatings. They are resistant to Scratches which are not even noticeable.

Aluminum Apple watches are praised for being lightweight on wrist, but lacks the durability.



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