|Cases and Compenonts|
The Process of making and plating cases
In the watch industry there are mainly 5 types of materials that a case of a watch can be made of.
Numbers 1-3 are considered to be very high quality. Watches that are sold below $60.00 are usually made of alloy. In the watch industry zinc die cast is called, simply, alloy. We will refer to it as alloy from here on out. Alloy is an injectable material, which means you can use moulds, ideal for mass market purposes, and very high production volumes. The process is similar to injecting a plastic resin into a mould except that a plastic mould is much more expensive than an alloy one. Both brass and alloy cases need plating. Since the purpose of using these materials is to save on production costs the plating is normally of a low quality and rubs off easily. If you purchase a golden or a stainless steel colored watch for $60.00 or less it is very likely that it is made out of either brass or alloy.
The plating on watches also vary in quality. All black or golden cases that Torgoen produces are made with a process called IP (Ionic Plating) or PVD (Physical Vapor deposition). This process replaced the electro plating which required more gold or black nickel than the IP process about 12 years ago. Using IP plating is also much more resistant to scratches and to rubbing off of the top layer. It is a more expensive process that requires vacuum chambers to allow ions to be deposited on the metal that is attached to an electrode. Some companies continue to use electro plating to save cost, especially if the material they use is very thin, i.e. less than 1 micron. This kind of plating rubs off very easily.
The stainless steel case is processed by stamping out the shape of the case, i.e. its contour and upper parts from a thick sheet of stainless steel with the help of a stamping machine and pressure of 200 or more metric tons. The outcome is, what we call in the industry, a blank. This is a piece of stainless steel in the shape of a watch case, which now needs drilling, lathing, milling, and polishing. Most Torgoen watches have cases with three or more metal parts, without counting the tube, crown, or pushers. The top ring is another piece manufactured in order to give the case an extra dimension and the possibility to plate or polish it in a different pattern. It ads cost but it is well spent. Other components are later added, like a case back, crown, pushers, gaskets, spring bars, and crystal.
The additional components as you can imagine, have various levels of quality, so Torgoen uses only double O ring crowns and pushers for extra water resistance and K1 extra hardened mineral crystals to give extra durability. This is especially important when using large diameter crystals which are one of the signatures of Torgoen. The case backs are all screw down rather than snap backs, again providing extra water resistance. The result is a case made with best, most durable materials that one can enjoy for many years.