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It's really hard to make a black watch that doesn't suck!

26th April 2018

With the PVD version of our Swiss powered Neon collection in 2018 we released our first all black watch. A last minute addition to the line, it went on to become one of our best selling options.

But it's not easy to produce an affordable, PVD coated watch with a spec list as strong as the Neon collection. 

Why it's hard to make a high quality, affordable black watch

There are a number of issues raised when coating a watch in a black finish using a process such as PVD. The exact problems depend on the type of watch you're making, but we were shipping ours with a bracelet that also had to be coated.

Why's it hard giving a PVD finish to a bracelet? Well in most cases the finish is provided by a different factory to the build and assembly. The bracelet is made by one factory then passed to another.

This isn't the case with all finishes - brushing, polishing or bead blasting can be done by our bracelet manufacturer. But PVD coating is a whole different speciality. You're left with two options:

  1. Coat the bracelet after it is assembled
  2. Coat the links between build and assembly

With option 1, where the links meet each other you're left with tiny uncoated parts. It's never noticeable in day-to-day wear, but it's not a "perfect" finish.

Option 2 eliminates this problem completely, but at a vast cost. Factory 1 builds the links, ships them to factory 2 to have them coated, then they are shipped back to factory 1 for assembly. 

When you're trying to produce amazing, cheap dive watches it's a hard call to make. 

Black watch strap - Hamtun Neon

Problem 2 is that the back of the watch. If you PVD coat it, you can find that over time it can react with the wrist of the person wearing it. This won't always be the case for every person, but again it's not ideal.

So what do you do? Either you coat the back and accept that a few people will probably have issues, or you don't coat it and have a case back that doesn't match the rest of the case.

Thankfully the Neon collection has an exhibition case back (it is made from the same sapphire crystal as the front of the watch so that you can see the movement in action). As a result there was only a small area around the outside made from steel.

Black watch case - Hamtun Neon

Why we decided to make a black watch

We didn't plan to release a black version of the Neon collection, and had never released a black watch before.

We'd had a few requests from customers, but the factory we worked previously with had never produced a black watch that we actually liked.

However for the Neon collection, we switched to a new manufacturer. This new manufacturer is now making all of our watches (including the new, updated H1) and they are spectacular.

We had them make us a prototype Neon with a PVD finish so that we could see how it looked. When it arrived, we were immediately sold on the idea. It looks amazing! Check out the various reviews of the Neon collection and you'll see that the reviewers are unanimously impressed by the PVD finished models.

Check out the full Neon collection. If you've never owned a black watch before, consider making the Hamtun Neon your first one!

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