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I tried getting an answer directly from Citizen to no avail, so I thought I'd try and see if anyone here could help. I am interested in getting the AR1113-04a model which is said to have a gold "tone." I've read up on the differences between tone, plating, and PVD and heard the anecdotes about how some brands have the coating wear off within only a couple months. Does anyone have any insight on the quality if Citizen's plating/tone? Anyone know how many microns are on this model or how many are typically used for "gold tone"? How long should I expect this to last if I wear it a couple times a week with a long sleeve shirt? Thanks everyone.
 

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Don't have a citizen gold tone or even a citizen...so yeah take what I say with a grain of salt.

The thing to remember about gold tone is that it is usually only a couple of microns thick so likely it will come off no matter what brand it is. It could be scraped off from just one wear if the conditions are right.

But the more likely scenario is that you'll get years and years of wear out of it without even noticing any blemishes of any kind. I asked about a seiko a couple of months back to Seiko Co. and they said their plating was 8 microns thick. I've also bought early 90's watches used on ebay and they show almost no signs of wear...but that might mean the manufacturing has changed. I read about someone with a $4k tuna with PVD and it chipped the very first day he had it. It just happens.

Anyway, I say if you really like the watch then go for it but with plating it all stands the risk of being damaged but you should be comforted to know that Citizen is respected so most likely it won't be like those watches from street vendors.
 

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I tried getting an answer directly from Citizen to no avail, so I thought I'd try and see if anyone here could help. I am interested in getting the AR1113-04a model which is said to have a gold "tone." I've read up on the differences between tone, plating, and PVD and heard the anecdotes about how some brands have the coating wear off within only a couple months. Does anyone have any insight on the quality if Citizen's plating/tone? Anyone know how many microns are on this model or how many are typically used for "gold tone"? How long should I expect this to last if I wear it a couple times a week with a long sleeve shirt? Thanks everyone.
There are several methods of applying a 'gold tone' to a watch case.
The simplest and least expensive(found on nearly all lower end watches) is electroless plating or immersion. Basically the case is suspended in a bath of slats laced with gold or gold coloured metals. Gold is seldom used at this price point because it is too soft and would wear off very quickly.
The maximum thickness that can be reliably applied with this method is a fat 5 microns.

Next up, we have electroplating which actually plates the case in an electrolysis process bonding the gold to the base metal. This process can use 'hard gold' which is less prone to wear and can be applied in excess of 20 microns. This will provide wear through protection for decades.

For thicker gold 'plating' there is the rolled gold or gold filled process where by gold is mechanically applied to the case. Traditionally this process uses softer higher karat gold, normally 18K or greater. This gold covering is obviously thicker but also softer than electro plated gold so the wear will be about the same.

PVD is a process for applying materials other than metals to a case, ie plastics, carbon compounds,etc.

So, entry lever watches will have no more than 5 microns of a non gold material like titanium nitride applied. These non gold materials are typically harder and more durable than gold so wear will be less than if actual gold plated.
Mid tier to high end watches will be electroplated or have rolled gold on them. The gold is softer but applied thicker so should be fairly durable.

One method I haven't described is flash plating. This can deposit a layer of material only a couple of microns thick. It is entirely possible that some watches are gold coloured this way and they will be the first to wear.
 
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