Hard-Anodized Finish

Thread: Hard-Anodized Finish

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  1. #1
    Member wuyeah's Avatar
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    Hard-Anodized Finish

    Hello all, I like to collect flashlights. One of the flashlight giant is USA made Surefire. (Not here to advertise for them btw) They claim to use "high-strength aerospace aluminum body with a Mil-Spec hard-anodized finish". Whatever that means it is harden aluminum with hard-anodized coat. The finish on finger feel similar to bead blasting finish. Their color is OD green. My understanding on purely material property, I thought stainless steel is stronger than aluminum. For whatever reason, these flashlight material feel stronger. A light been with me for over 4 years I can hardly see any cosmetic wear. Which I think it is fantastic. Here I really don't know for sure that they are indeed stronger but I do love the OD green military like Hard Anodized Finish treatment and wondering, how come I don't see the same technology use in watch world. Is there a difficulty that I don't know cannot be use on watches? I would think OD green can add a flavor and toughness to a watch world.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    Member stevomcgee's Avatar
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    I'm very interested I this as well. Subscribed.

  3. #3
    Member wuyeah's Avatar
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    Re: Hard-Anodized Finish

    For those who don't know how Surefire OD Green Looks like, here are some images.

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  5. #4
    Moderator at Large stuffler,mike's Avatar
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    Re: Hard-Anodized Finish

    ...how come I don't see the same technology use in watch world...
    There's more homework to do I guess. Check out the Bremont U2 featuring an anodized aluminium middle case barrel.
    Kind regards
    Mike


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    Re: Hard-Anodized Finish

    Anodizing is a very durable finish and is typically applied to Aluminium, which apart maybe from a few exceptions (see Mike's example above) is not used in many watch cases. I'm not sure why more use isn't made of Aluminium, maybe it's not deemed as durable or 'special' enough.
    Titanium cases can be coloured with an oxide layer also and stainless can have (relatively) durable protective layers such as PVD and DLC applied - these can tend to be worn or damaged especially on the edges, then you have the issue of matching it up on the bracelet.
    Last edited by jhon; August 25th, 2011 at 22:30. Reason: corrected text

  7. #6
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    Re: Hard-Anodized Finish

    Here's an older thread that discussed aluminum watches: https://forums.watchuseek.com/f2/alum...es-321682.html
    There's some mention of anodized aluminum, with some particularly good comments by lysanderxiii.

    In general, aluminum is going to be a softer metal than a steel alloy. I'm sure there are some application specific aluminum alloys that will contradict this, but those would be used in situations where it is critical to keep weight to a minimum. The anodization protects the outer surface with a thin oxide layer. Companies such as MCWW already offer ceramic coatings for steel watches for increased wear resistance; I can't comment on how similar they are to alumina as the material brand MCWW uses (Cerakote) is a proprietary blend.
    Current collection: Anonimo | Bernhardt | Blancpain | Casio | Citizen | Grand Seiko | Halios | IWC | Nomos | Oris | Rolex | Tudor

  8. #7
    Member wuyeah's Avatar
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    Re: Hard-Anodized Finish

    "You can anodize the following materials aluminum, titanium, zinc, magnesium, niobium, and tantalum. You can anodize them in just about any color you want." quote from lysanderxiii

    Looks like titanium can be Anodized as well. One of the common fear people have on titanium watches is the cosmetic wear. Anodized with titanium case will make it resistant to wear. This suppose to be a plus option for titanium watches. Military watches, dive watches should jump on it. Design well can be dressy too.

  9. #8
    Member lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: Hard-Anodized Finish

    Quote Originally Posted by wuyeah View Post
    "You can anodize the following materials aluminum, titanium, zinc, magnesium, niobium, and tantalum. You can anodize them in just about any color you want." quote from lysanderxiii

    Looks like titanium can be Anodized as well. One of the common fear people have on titanium watches is the cosmetic wear. Anodized with titanium case will make it resistant to wear. This suppose to be a plus option for titanium watches. Military watches, dive watches should jump on it. Design well can be dressy too.
    However....(there is always a "however).

    There is a difference between "wear" and "damage". By "wear" I mean gradual erosion caused by two smooth surfaces in sliding contact. Generally, the harder the surface, the less the erosion, or wear. This does not equate to resistance to damage by corrosion, knocks, dings and gouges.....

    The anodized "crust" is thin, and the substrate is still soft and malleable. If you have had many anodized flashlights, I am sure you have seen the results of one drop on to concrete.... Once the hard coat surface is compromised, you cannot repair it, except by stripping the entire anodized layer off and starting over. This is true of Al, Ti and all the rest.

    Military watches are rarely made from titanium, as the advantages are not enough to justify the cost. Same with aluminum...in my opinion, plastic is a better choice in case material than aluminum:

    1) plastic does not corrode,
    2) in high volume production, it is cheaper.

    Areas where plastic, Al or Ti would be preferred to stainless:

    1) non-magnetic
    2) need for multiple colors
    3) light weight

    In all of the above cases, I would still choose plastic over aluminum.

    Aluminum pocket watches.... Before the invention of the Hall-Heroult refining process and large grids of cheap (relatively) electricity aluminum was a very, very expensive material, more valuable than platinum or gold, and for some years after aluminum still carried the aura of "expensive"....
    familiaritas parit contemptum; raritate admiratione wins.- Lucius Apuleius
    est necessry, accurate ad secundo? - Lysander magna
    iustum est horologium - Obscurus Genius

  10. #9
    Member wuyeah's Avatar
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    Re: Hard-Anodized Finish

    LOL, my idea doesn't travel far........
    i'll never able to match my flashlights with my watches.

  11. #10
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    Re: Hard-Anodized Finish

    Aluminum watches would be fine. Lysander raises some durability concerns... but I've never heard of a case failing due to metal fatigue. Aluminum bezels (I think they're anodized) have been and are still used on countless dive watches (including mine) and they hold up fine, despite being "soft" and "malleable". In fact, mine is holding up a lot better than the SS case. (Yes, they do "patina," or fade, like so many other parts of a watch.) You might have to beef up certain parts of the case, except you won't, because for fashion reasons sports watch cases are already excessively over-sized. I don't buy my watches to drop them on concrete, And if I ever do that, I'll be more concerned about the broken balance wheel than a ding in the aluminum... or the SS... or the titanium... or the scuff on the plastic...

    If you can use ceramic, then you can DEFINITELY use aluminum. (try dropping that ceramic watch on concrete and see what happens...)

    Why isn't aluminum used for watch cases? It's out of vogue. That is all.
    Last edited by austinnh; August 26th, 2011 at 05:41.

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