Titanium vs stainless steel, which one is better?
But first, let’s get to know our opponents. In the left corner, with a symbol Ti, is titanium. A transitional metal with a low density, high strength, and a nice silver color. Titanium has extensive use in the space industry, military, auto industry, medicine, and more. Mostly used in alloys, though. The most common type of titanium is Ti-6Al-4V, also known as Grade 5.
For this competition, we chose 316L stainless steel. It is a nice, sturdy alloy of iron, chromium, nickel, and molybdenum, with other elements in traces. This type of steel is used in food processing, medical devices and implants, pharmaceutical devices, and more. It’s a dense, strong and also a silver-colored opponent.
Titanium watches cost more, simply because titanium as a material costs more than stainless steel. And a bit more, because titanium is harder to work with. In fact, the rise of the stainless steel and the quartz crisis were the two things that made wristwatches affordable. But, it’s not the same case as with the golden watches. Golden watches are more expensive because they are status symbols, and the titanium watches are simply...not. However, the price should not be the deciding factor when you decide to go watch-shopping.
Ok, this is an easy win for the titanium. Titanium is at least three times stronger than steel. This fact would make a major impact if you use your wristwatch as a weapon of some sort. But, if you decide to wear it casually and peacefully around your wrist, you will have no problem with either material. However, there is a reason why Superman is the Man of Steel, not Man of Titanium. Although much stronger, titanium has a much lower scratch-resistance, meaning you would have to be much more careful while wearing a titanium watch. A scratch on a titanium watch will keep being there.
The allergy issue
When we talk about allergies caused by wearing a watch, we usually think of the nickel allergy. Nickel allergy is a relatively common thing, that has no further complications, except an excessive rash and a generally unpleasant feeling. But, as with all allergies, it should be avoided by any cost. Titanium watches contain no nickel, meaning they are hypoallergenic in the term of the nickel allergy. However, there is a chance you are allergic to titanium, so…
Stainless steel has had and still has a pretty bad reputation concerning nickel allergy. However, stainless steel 316L is hypoallergenic, although it contains nickel. How is that possible? Well, the chemical structure of the 316L stainless steel makes nickel impossible to react with your skin. This is one of the many reasons why this type of steel is used for medical purposes.
As they say, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or in this case, a watch holder. The visual appearance of the watch is usually the main reason why people decide to buy it. So, some people like patina, some like tarnish, people like different things. Except for rust, nobody likes rust. Both of the materials have a high rust resistance. Hence the “stainless” part in the steel. However, stainless steel keeps its fresh look much, much longer. Due to its scratch-resistance, a stainless steel watch will look brand new for a much longer time. Also, the shiny appearance of the stainless steel is the reason why they make jewelry out of it, and it can be colored, while titanium lacks that option. Titanium watches will look dull and a bit worn-out, after a while. Because, with time, they get a thin oxidizing layer that changes their color a bit and makes them rather blurry. But, again, people choose what they like, and that’s everyone’s right.
Weight of the chains
This is one of the reasons while titanium is a popular material for spacecraft. Titanium, alloys included, has one of the strongest weight-to-strength ratios in the periodic table. Meaning, a titanium watch will be much lighter on your hand than a stainless steel one. Or, to be precise, even 50% lighter. However, this is also a matter of preference. Some people like the heavier feeling on their wrist, while others go with the lightweight option.
Who is the winner?
As in any fair fight, there are no final winners in the battle between titanium vs stainless steel, as it’s up to the customer to choose. You know our pick. At Nordgreen, we make all of our watches strictly from 316L stainless steel. The true purpose of our watches is to be worn every day. That means, without the fear of getting scratches that would ruin the good appearance of our watches. Also, we like the versatility of our Nordgreen watches. We like to choose from rose gold, gold, silver or gunmetal color, without being limited to just one. In the end, we like the fact that our watches are affordable to our customers. Titanium watches are popular nowadays, there is no arguing about that. However, as we have seen a million times, the trends come and go, but elegance is eternal. We trust our Miyota movement, our fine Italian leather, and mostly, our elegant stainless steel watches.