Surface treatments encompass all techniques aimed at enhancing the properties of a component’s surface (reducing friction coefficients, protecting against corrosion, etc.) and/or improving its aesthetics. In watchmaking, surface treatments can apply to both the exterior (case, dial, hands) and the movement.


Traditionally, galvanic processes are the most widespread in the watchmaking world. To galvanically treat a component, a thin layer of another metal (usually gold or rhodium) is deposited on its surface through electrolysis. The base material of the component must conduct electricity to be eligible for galvanic treatment.


This is the most recent surface treatment technology. Initially used in the medical and industrial fields, it appeared in watchmaking in 1995. Like galvanic treatments, CVD and PVD protect the substrate from oxidation. They offer a palette of colours that continues to expand far beyond the limits of galvanic treatments. Depending on the nature of the deposited material (the precursor), CVD and PVD can also harden the surface of the substrate, alter its coefficient of friction, or modify its electrical conductivity. The precursor can be of different natures and is deposited in a gaseous state under vacuum and by condensation onto the substrate.


This is a surface treatment specific to aluminium, titanium, and their alloys. It is an electrolytic process carried out in a sulphuric acid bath that oxidises the surface of the metal. The surface oxide is harder than the substrate and gives it a stable and homogeneous appearance.


HOROPEDIA is a participative knowledge platform and we invite all those who wish to contribute to this adventure of sharing watchmaking knowledge to join us.

It can be additional explanations, images or other illustrations or terms not yet identified that deserve to be.