Different Types of Coating by Extropian

Types of coating
Rhodium coating
Watch coating
Advisor Watches
Namica Watches
Atelier Jalaper
Different Types of Coating by Extropian

It’s kinda easy to overlook the coating of your watch, but it’s actually pretty important! It has a big impact on the aesthetics of your watch, and will also have a huge bearing on how it will age over time.

What is the coating on a watch?

The first thing you need to know is not to confuse the coating on a watch with the finishing! Finishing involves treating the surface of the metal via processes such as polishing, brushing, or blasting. Coating on the other hand involves applying a layer of different material directly onto the surface of the metal (usually stainless-steel or titanium), either to give it a decorative quality or to protect it (or both!).


Electroplating is the oldest method of coating watches. It dates back to 1805 and was first used to apply gold to watch cases in the 1840s. The technique involves immersing individual components of the watch in a chemical solution containing molecules of the covering metal. Electricity is then passed through the solution, which causes the suspended molecules to adhere to the components.

The main problem with this method was that it produced a very thin coating, so it was prone to scratching. It also had an annoying tendency to cause allergic skin reactions! Because of this, it was eventually superseded by the PVD process (see below).

Rhodium coating

Rhodium coating is a type of electroplating which uses layers of (you guessed it) rhodium, a silver-white metal similar to platinum. The coating it produces is shiny and chemically inert, but also very hard and robust, so it offers excellent protection against scratches and corrosion.


Vermeil, also known as Gilded Silver, is yet another type of electroplating. It’s basically silver coated by a layer of gold, a bit like gold plating, but more durable as the silver has to be treated with a minimum of 10-karat gold in a layer at least 2.5 microns thick. It’s then polished to achieve a lovely warm sheen and is also available in rose and white gold.


PVD (or Physical Vapor Deposition) is another old technique, dating back to the 1830s, but it’s only been used on watches since the ‘70s. Without getting too technical, the process involves a vacuum chamber, contrasting magnetic charges, and reactive gasses to produce a very thin, but extremely durable, coating which is resistant to scratches, oxidation, and temperature changes. And it’s also completely eco-friendly!

PVD coating comes in a range of colors (blue, dark red, black) and materials (titanium, gold, rose gold, bronze, etc). However, despite being very long-lasting, PVD coating is not permanent and will wear off over time.


Visitor - Duneshore

Visitor All Duneshore Golden Beach K2 Nz

❤️ Extropian adores the bold, sculpted case design and mirror-polished finish of this quirky modern masterpiece!

Atelier Jalaper - DB5 AJ001-B

Atelier Jalaper D B5 All a J001 B 1c65

❤️ Who could resist this unique beauty, with its ultra-cool black PVD case and dial made from an actual Aston Martin’s bonnet!?


DLC (or Diamond-Like Carbon) is not a process in itself, but a type of coating applied using the PVD method. It employs carbon to achieve a very thin diamond-like layer which is extremely hard, durable, and scratch resistant, so it doesn’t wear off as easily as other PVD coatings. Some experts say it’ll last up to 85 years!  Perhaps inevitably, this also makes it a more expensive option.

DLC is a perfect choice if you like dark watches, as the carbon in its composition means its colors range from anthracite to deep black. 

Namica Watches - Neo Tokyo Shirahama

Namica Watches Neo Tokyo  Shirahama Kanji Black Dlc Iw Nj


❤️ We totally love the bold animé/cyberpunk vibes of this DLC-coated watch with its ultraviolet fumé dial and Kanji characters! 

Norqain - Adventure Sport 37mm Limited Edition (DLC)

Norqain Adventure Sport 37mm Limited Edition (dlc) F13f

❤️ The name says it all. With its sturdy construction and DLC coating, this is a watch made for adventure!


IP (or Ion Plating) is another type of coating applied using the PVD process. In this version, the surface of the components is first cleaned by ion bombardment so that the coating (which is extremely thin) can be applied without any visible imperfections.

Because it’s so thin, IP is much cheaper than DLC, and can be applied in several layers. This doesn’t just give additional protection but allows the watch designer to mix coating types, opening up a whole new spectrum of wild and wacky color combinations and finishes!

Advisor Watches - AstroHelm

Advisor Watches Astro Helm Antique Automatic V1 3e3e

❤️ Extropian loves the vintage style and California dial on this ‘30s-inspired beauty.

Autodromo - Prototipo Worn & Wound Limited Edition

Autodromo Prototipo All Worn   Wound Limited Edition 6b72

❤️ This modern, minimalist take on ‘60s and ‘70s racing chronographs really gets Extropian going!


Anti-scratch coating is a much more recent invention. It’s a transparent liquid, a bit like a varnish, which forms a hard, invisible coating which is waterproof and scratch resistant. Most commonly used on titanium watches, it can also be applied to stainless steel, platinum, and gold

Traska - Freediver 4 .

Traska Freediver 4   No Date Stone Gray 464d

❤️ We love the timeless design and robust construction of this classic Diver!

RZE - Endeavour 

Rze Endeavour Date Rescue Orange 852f

❤️ Extropian is just thrilled by the bold colors and super-legible dial on this ultra-light titanium Diver!


So, pretty obviously, the coating of a watch has a huge bearing on how it looks when you buy it. But it also plays a part in how much you’ll pay for it and how susceptible it is to everyday wear and tear over the years!

Created the 2023-04-11

Modified the 2024-01-26

Subscribe to our Newsletter and stay updated!