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About time

Abid Rahman

 

Double acts "Two heads are better than one" is a popular saying but anyone who's ever listened to the hits of Hall & Oates may beg to differ and suggest a more apt aphorism: "two wrongs don't make a right". Personally, if songs such as Maneater are wrong, I don't want to be right. However, that is a debate for another day. What is clear is that more often than not unions of two or more elements can raise the whole and in the case of watches, this is very much true, with the blending of traditional watchmaking and hi-tech materials such as ceramic.

Ceramic used to be derided because of its overuse in the mass market, but one brand that has persevered with it is Rado, as seen with the D-Star 200 Automatic Chronograph (left). The sporty watch's 44mm case is made of polished steel, with black hi-tech ceramic inserts on the bezel. The confluence of materials is added to with a titanium buckle. The black sun-brushed dial has a masculine symmetry, with two chronograph counters indicating 30 minutes and 60 seconds. Other features include a date window at the six o'clock position and a power reserve of 54 hours. This Rado D-Star 200 is priced at HK$27,400, with the non-chronograph version available for an attractive HK$15,600.

You can tell ceramic has become an accepted material when the likes of Rolex use it. The 2012 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner (left) is the latest tweak on the classic and comes with a Cerachrom insert on the bezel. Cerachrom is scratchproof, non-fading, corrosion-resistant ceramic making it the perfect material for a heavy-duty dive watch. Submariners down the years haven't deviated in design from the original 1953 version, but for 2012, Rolex has made some subtle changes to the case that aficionados will appreciate. The polished 40mm case is a stainless-steel super alloy and the legendary build quality allows this watch to be water resistant to 300 metres. Prices for the 2012 Submariner are available upon request.

Fashion brands dabbling in watchmaking were early adopters of ceramic and are now experimenting with material combinations. Emporio Armani has released a slew of interesting watches this year, including the Ceramica (left). The watch comes with a 43mm case and has a bracelet in titanium nitride, an extremely hard industrial ceramic. The hi-tech material is interesting, as the finish and overall design of the watch are undeniably classical. The face is busy, with prominent Roman numerals and a rather too big brand logo as well as a date window and three chronograph sub-dials, but the overall effect works with the dark grey dial. The timepiece is priced at HK$6,550.

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