Are a bronze watch and a brass watch the same?
Absolutely not, although we understand the confusion. First, a little time-travel.
In ancient times, the island of Cyprus had rich copper mines. Of course, at that time, the name was "cuprum", hence the modern today's name. Both brass and bronze have a copper base, but they aren't the same. It's a common mistake. It goes so far that even Google search tends to mix these two.
A few millenniums ago, blacksmiths experimented with copper by adding tin. That experiment gave them firm alloy, easy to work with, and sparkled the Bronze Age. Bronze is the most common of all the copper alloys and has a wide range of use, from ship making to the electrical industry. Also, it's one of the few metals used for coin making, along with silver and gold. To increase certain properties, smiths add other elements in traces, like nickel, in the alloy. Bronze has lost its popularity and wideness of use due to stainless steel nowadays. Stainless steel is more durable, more resistant, and cheaper to produce.
Brass is an alloy made from copper and zinc and some other elements in traces, like iron or aluminium. As zinc is harder to find in nature, opposite to tin. Hence, the discovery of brass took place many centuries after the bronze. However, brass wasn't popular until the industrial revolution. Even today, brass has little to no popularity in watchmaking.
How did bronze watches become popular?
One word - patina. Patina (or tarnish, for the silver watches) is a mostly green layer that appears on the objects made from bronze. Some watch enthusiasts prefer the patina look. The most famous object with patina is the Statue of Liberty that had a bright gold-ish colour at the start. Actually, patina naturally forms on bronze, brass, and copper objects by the oxidation process. So, by giving your bronze watch some time to oxidise, you will get a timepiece with a unique look. That look works great for all the fans of vintage and retro.
The second reason is the bronze is highly resistant to saltwater. That fact made the bronze a popular choice for the diver's watches. Also, regarding the divers, bronze isn't that shiny, so it doesn't attract unwanted attention under the sea. In the end, the layer of patina protects the material from corrosion.
What are the downsides of bronze watches?
There is a thing called "the bronze disease". Although it might sound similar to patina, the bronze disease actually ruins the bronze watches. You see, in a certain set of events that include humidity and bronze, this process starts. Although this process isn't yet fully understood, it happens more often than you think. When the cuprous chloride in bronze reacts with water, it starts to create hydrochloric acid. The acid starts to erode the bronze and further reacts with the copper. You can notice that by the appearance of the green fuzz on the surface. If you don't treat it, the acid will literary destroy your wristwatch. Also, there is no cure for this phenomenon; you can only slow the process. It's funny, though, how bronze is resistant to saltwater but not to mere humidity. Always store your bronze watches in a totally dry environment.
Although most people buy bronze watches just for the patina, some people aren't fans of it. For those people, the advice is to get some patience and learn to clean the bronze. The patina will always show, again and again, as a natural oxidation process for bronze.
Bronze has numerous variations regarding the percentage of the elements added. Substantially, some contain more nickel than others. Nickel allergy is a very common allergy that develops when your skin gets into constant contact with nickel. That means bronze watches are not hypoallergenic. Even without the nickel problem, the other factor is copper. When in longer contact with skin, bronze watches tend to leave green marks on the surface of your wrist. It's not dangerous, though it can get pretty annoying.
Does Nordgreen offer a bronze watch?
Our material of choice is stainless steel 316L. As for watchmaking, it has serious advantages over bronze. Stainless steel is more durable, more scratch-resistant, and much sturdier than bronze. Also, it's much more affordable, lightweight, and maybe the most important thing, hypoallergenic. However, we have a great offer on bronze-coloured watches.
As a company that listens to our customers, we decided you shouldn't be limited to your choice of colours. Although we don't make watches from silver, gold, or bronze, we make beautiful timepieces in those very colours. Our Philosopher, Native, and Pioneer men's watches come with the gunmetal choice. You can even pair them with our interchangeable straps, also available in gunmetal colour. You can have all the stylish advantage of the bronze watch, without any physical disadvantages of the bronze material.
There is an old navy saying: "Above the sea, steel is better, under the sea, bronze is better". Bronze watches, as pretty as they can be, just aren't made for everyday wear. Also, they lack a certain dose style and versatility, making them a choice for just a smaller group of bronze aficionados. However, nobody can deny the beauty of them, with or without the patina.