Watches with tungsten cases or components are rather exotic. Thanks to its robustness, this lustrous heavy metal is a great watchmaking material. One of the most prominent tungsten watches is the Hublot Aero Bang Tungsten.
Tungsten is a heavy transition metal. It has the highest melting point of any known element. Only carbon can resist higher temperatures, though it then turns directly from a solid into vapor. The term "tungsten" is a combination of the Swedish words tung (heavy) and sten (stone). In addition to being extremely robust, tungsten stands out with its dark and lustrous gray color.
While tungsten has a somewhat masculine feel, there are also a few women's models, such as the Ladies' Rado DiaStar 2000 from around 20 years ago. Solid tungsten watches are available in many price ranges. For example, the Movado 89 C6 Fiero costs around 660 USD, while the Omega Constellation Globemaster demands about 5,200 USD. Top models like the Hublot Big Bang Aero Bang Tungsten sell for some 11,000 USD.
|Model||Reference number||Price (approx.)|
|Ladies' Rado DiaStar||205.0290.3||690 USD|
|Oris Aquis Titan with a tungsten bezel inlay||01 674 7655 7253-07 8 26 75EB||3,700 USD|
|Omega Globemaster||22.214.171.124.03.001||5,200 USD|
|Big Bang Aero Bang Tungsten||310.KX.1140.RX
The tungsten Big Bang Aero Bang was limited to a run of 999 pieces and is no longer in production. However, it does pop up on Chrono24 from time to time. This model bears the reference number 310.KX.1140.RX. Its power comes from the Hublot HUB 44 chronograph movement, which is based on the ETA Valjoux 7750. This movement boasts a 42-hour power reserve, tungsten carbide rotor, and a Glucydur balance wheel. It sits within a 44.5-mm case that is water-resistant to 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft) and mounted on an integrated rubber strap.
The bezel is also made of tungsten. Six polished titanium screws hold it firmly to the case. Sapphire crystal protects both the front and back, offering a view of the skeletonized movement at work. Subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o'clock serve as the chronograph counters and small seconds. Prices for pre-owned timepiece sit around 11,000 USD.
While the Oris Aquis Titan chronograph isn't made of solid tungsten, it does feature a tungsten bezel inlay. The massive 46-mm case is water-resistant to 500 m (50 bar, 1,640 ft). Oris equips this model with the chronograph caliber Oris 674, a modified ETA Valjoux 7750. This movement has a 48-hour power reserve and powers the central hour, minute, and chronograph seconds hands. There's also a small seconds at 6, a 30-minute counter at 9, and a 12-hour counter at 12 o'clock.
The hands and hour indices on the gray dial are both coated in white SuperLuminova. Oris pairs this watch with your choice of a titanium link bracelet or a rubber strap. You can purchase a never-worn model on Chrono24 for about 3,700 USD. Pre-owned pieces are even more affordable at 2,400 USD.
Omega introduced the stainless steel Constellation Globemaster ref. 126.96.36.199.03.001 with a tungsten bezel at Baselworld 2015. One of the most special features of this timepiece is the Omega Co-Axial caliber 8900. This movement is a Master Chronometer, meaning it's passed Switzerland's Federal Institute of Metrology's (METAS) eight-part, ten-day testing process. All Master Chronometers can withstand magnetic fields of up to 15,000 Gauss without sustaining damage. Omega lists this watch as having a 60-hour power reserve and a maximum deviation of 0 to +5 seconds per day. A stainless steel observatory medallion occupies the center of the sapphire crystal case back.
This three-hand watch measures 39 mm in diameter and is water-resistant to 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft). Its stainless steel case is topped by a scratch-resistant tungsten bezel. The blue sunburst pie-pan dial bears a strong resemblance to that of the original Constellation models from 1952. This modern version comes on a stainless steel bracelet with a width of 20 mm. The final watch sells for around 5,200 USD new. Pre-owned models change hands for as little as 4,100 USD on Chrono24.
Tungsten has many uses beyond a watch's case or bezel. For example, some movements feature this heavy metal. Hublot and other watch manufacturers like using tungsten for their winding rotors, as seen in the caliber HUB 44 of the Big Bang Aero and the HUB 1242 Unico. The Big Bang Unico debuted in 2013 and costs roughly 14,500 USD new.
TAG Heuer also equips certain models with tungsten rotors. One example is the Monaco V4 with a titanium and ceramic case. Instead of a gear train, this timepiece transfers energy using a belt-driven system. When shopping on Chrono24, be prepared to spend about 49,500 USD on this complex and rare timepiece.
Some brands use the word "tungsten" to refer to a particular shade of gray despite the watches not containing any of the metal itself. Breitling describes several stainless steel models as being "tungsten-gray" in color. This includes the Breitling Avenger II Seawolf Tungsten Gray with the reference number A1733110/F563/169A . This 45-mm diving watch is water-resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft) and features a COSC-certified movement. Prices for this model range from 2,700 to 3,300 USD.