Tungsten watches are popular as both a practical and fashion choice for their lasting value as well as for their attractive, sophisticated finish. The watches come in a variety of sleek, waterproof designs, and are available in natural gray as well as a polished black coating. Some watches double as tungsten jewelry with precious metal and jewel inserts.
Wolfram, or tungsten, is a shiny, gray high-density metal that is known for its excellent tensile strength and corrosion-resistant properties. When combined with black carbon at a high temperature, it becomes the extremely hard tungsten carbide, and this tungsten alloy is used to make tungsten watches and jewelry of enduring strength and durability. To make tungsten watches, tungsten carbide powder is first combined with other elements as well as a binder, usually nickel or cobalt. The powder mixture is then compressed in molds and then baked at a high temperature to produce the desired watch shapes. Next, design tools with diamond tips are used to cut the hard metal and refine the watch designs.
Since tungsten is a hard, scratchproof metal, watches and jewelry made from tungsten are capable of withstanding heavy impacts, and can take a lot of wear and tear without requiring any particular maintenance. Tungsten watches and jewelry will never bend out of shape, and will remain resistant to oxidation and tarnishing. They can be expected to retain their alluring, glossy sheen for quite an infinite time. For these reasons, people engaged in various physically demanding jobs, trades, sports and other activities find tungsten watches to be very convenient.
Another factor that accounts for the growing popularity of tungsten watches is that tungsten is known to be a hypoallergenic metal. It is not affected by chemicals or sunlight, and does not produce any kind of adverse reactions when worn in close contact with the skin. People who are prone to developing rashes with gold, silver and other metal jewelry can wear tungsten jewelry quite safely.
The hypoallergenic properties of the metal are diminished, however, if the tungsten watches have been made by using cobalt powder as a binder. Cobalt can react with body oils and cause skin irritation, and it can also produce oxidation marks on the metal surface; these marks are virtually impossible to remove. It is important, at the time of purchase, to inquire what kind of binder was used to produced the tungsten watch type and jewelry. Watches made with the inert nickel powder binder are of superior quality.