What is Corrosion Pitting in Wristwatches and How Do You Prevent It?

25 January 2022

Wristwatches that have stainless steel watch cases provide the timepiece movement with a safe, protective cover for operating smoothly. Stainless steel is a metal alloy that contains the components of iron, carbon and other elements. These alloying components are selected due to their ability to prevent the steel from corroding. (This explains the alloy’s name of “stainless steel.”)

The main alloying elements included in the composition of stainless steel are chromium and nickel. When eight percent or more of each element is included and the total percentage of both combined equals more than 24 percent, stainless steel becomes resistant to corroding. Although the entire surface of a piece of iron can develop corrosion, this does not occur on stainless steel due to its chromium oxide layer.

When stainless steel does corrode, the process causes pitting in the form of many small holes on the surface. This corrosion formation is supported by the presence of oxygen in the air and by perspiration, which contains salt, or sodium.

How to Prevent Wristwatch Corrosion Pitting

You can prevent your stainless-steel wristwatch from developing corrosion pitting in the following ways:

• Choose a Fully Homogeneous Watch. To ensure that your stainless-steel watch will not develop corrosion pitting, select a fully homogeneous model. If the stainless steel is not fully homogeneous, the chromium is not evenly distributed in the alloy.

This will make the concentration of iron in the alloy’s mix higher in some areas than others. When the percentage of iron is too high, the oxide layer of protection cannot be completely formed. Without good protection, corrosion pitting can develop.

• Select a Watch Made of 316L or 904L Stainless Steel.
The majority of wristwatches today are composed of 316L stainless steel. An important alloying component of this grade of stainless steel is Molybdenum, which gives these watches stronger resistance to corrosion pitting.

If you own a modern Rolex watch, there is no need to worry about your watch corroding. The 904L stainless steel used in making these watches also contains copper, which makes the resistance to corrosion even stronger.

• Give Your Watch Good Care and Maintenance. Taking excellent care of your stainless-steel wristwatch is helpful in preventing corrosion pitting. With regular cleaning and thorough drying, you can lessen the possibility of corrosion developing.

In addition, it is essential to have your watch serviced on a regular schedule. Your professional watch repair and the servicing company will clean, grease and service all of your watch gaskets, which will also help prevent corrosion pitting.

By consulting our experts at Ken Ross Jewellers located in Ashburton, Victoria, you can gain valuable information and advice concerning preventing wristwatch corrosion pitting. Our highly knowledgeable and experienced team will ensure that you are fully aware of the best methods and practices for preventing your stainless-steel watch from developing corrosion.

Our team will demonstrate the ideal way to clean and maintain your stunning watch. They can also guide you in selecting a new watch that is well-protected against corroding during future wear for your continued good use and enjoyment.

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