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Discussion Starter #1
The Tag Grand Carerra RS2 is on my shortlist for an everyday watch. I'm usually not a fan of black watches, but I really like this one. However, I noticed on some pictures of used RS2's that the black coating (PVD?) doesn't seem to hold up well.

Is this true of most PVD coated watches? And how would you get a scratch fixed?
 

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I haven't received a scratch on either of mine...but I believe the only cure is to strip the whole watch down and re-apply.



 

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It's going to vary from watch to watch. My Chase-Durer, for example, shows very little wear after three years (and two years of being a daily wearer), but then I've heard horror stories of watches wearing off in less than a month (and in some cases, a day).
 

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PVD bracelets always seem to show some wear from my intense desk driving profession. I've heard DLC (diamond like carbon) is harder and more durable than PVD but I don't have any personal experience with it.
 

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As Raza suggests, I suspect not all PVD is created equally. One of my favorite and most worn watches shows almost no sign of wear (2+ years) while an old (and admittedly cheaper) quartz chrono I own started to wear off within a few months. I recently purchased a strap from Kain Heritage, and the PVD on the buckle was so poorly applied, that by the time I had removed it was already looking pretty rough (if the buckle wasn't so farcically large, I would have been miffed). I would imagine that Tag would do decent job though.
 

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As Raza suggests, I suspect not all PVD is created equally.
It's not necessarily the process - it's the coating material and how thickly it's applied. If TiCN is used it will be the same hardness and scratch resistance of sapphire. Whoa, I just had a little déjà vu.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I'm not sure what exact process is used on the RS2. The Tag website says the case is "grade 2 titanium coated with titanium carbide". But you can see from these ebay auction pictures that scratches seem to go right through the coating. To be fair, though, I don't know how the scratches occurred. The numbers have started to come off the dial as well.

TAG HEUER GRAND CARRERA CALIBRE 17 RS2 CHRONOGRAPH IN BOX CAV518B | eBay

If this watch is real, then maybe I don't want to get a black coated watch for daily wear. I've had my current daily watch for 20 years and I don't take it off unless I'm dressing up, taking a shower, or going to bed. I don't abuse my daily watch (by my standards), but I don't baby it either. After 20 years, there are a lot of scratches. But I can buff them out.
 

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Anything that will scratch a non-PVD/DLC watch will also scratch the PVD/DLC coating. That said, I have noticed that some poorly coated watches will have sections "wear away" that are clearly not the result of bumping or scraping against something accidentally. Only way to tell is to view enough photos of older versions (and see those on sale on the various sales forums) to see if wear is an issue. Regarding PVD, I've had a PVD Fricker, Doxa, and Zinex which have all done fine.
 

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Anything that will scratch a non-PVD/DLC watch will also scratch the PVD/DLC coating....

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I'm not sure that is correct as to DLC. I have heard that scratches that mark the surface on ss will frequently not mark DLC. A nick or gouge will certainly be the same on either. DLC is also regarded as being tougher, longer lasting and more marm resistant than PVD, with black ion plating somewhere in between. PVD is the least expensive to apply and that is one reason it is the most widely used, but PVD can also produce different finishes, from a jet black inky wet look, or a jet black satin, to a darkish titanium look. I just bought a Citizen diver chrono with the jet black wet finish and if I keep it I shall see how tough the finish is.
 

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PVD is a process. DLC is a type of PVD process. Not all PVD processes are created the same. Watchmakers will utilize proprietary processes to make their DLC better than others. For example, this is a quote from a Montblanc review written by Michael Ting concerning Montblanc's PVD process:

"Obviously the main feature of the case is its proprietary Dual Carbon Coating. In the standard DLC coating process a singe layer of carbon coating is applied to the stainless steel surface of a watch case. There is a significant difference between the very high hardness of the DLC coating and the softer surface of the steel to which the coating is applied. This can result in a inferior adhesion of the DLC coating and bears the danger that it can easily crack off. Montblanc uses a special thermal treatment by carbon diffusion (hence "dual carbon") for hardening the surface of stainless steel case before applying the DLC coating. This complex technology results in a DLC coating on the Timewalker "Dual Carbon" watches which is 3 times more resistant than standard DLC and is key differentiator to other DLC watches found on the market."
 

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You could always just take a steel watch you like and get it cerakoted quite ecomically, and it would last much longer than PVD (not sure how it stacks against DLC). I have handled several watches that have been through Jay's shop at MCWW, the work is amazing; I couldn't help but become a customer myself and have nothing but good things to say. You could pay $5k+ for a DLC watch, but Jay could do the entire case in cerakote for about $100. I don't think he does bracelets though.

Plus, you don't have to go black with this option - he's got a nice little tray of colour options.
 

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How would one ever know what they are buying?
 

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I'm not sure what exact process is used on the RS2. The Tag website says the case is "grade 2 titanium coated with titanium carbide". But you can see from these ebay auction pictures that scratches seem to go right through the coating. To be fair, though, I don't know how the scratches occurred. The numbers have started to come off the dial as well.

TAG HEUER GRAND CARRERA CALIBRE 17 RS2 CHRONOGRAPH IN BOX CAV518B | eBay

If this watch is real, then maybe I don't want to get a black coated watch for daily wear. I've had my current daily watch for 20 years and I don't take it off unless I'm dressing up, taking a shower, or going to bed. I don't abuse my daily watch (by my standards), but I don't baby it either. After 20 years, there are a lot of scratches. But I can buff them out.
That's a lot of money for a watch that is not in very good condition.
 
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