Hamilton Khaki

Article By: Logan Hannen

What is up, watchfam?! Today, we’re going to take a look at what exactly it means when a watch is PVD/DLC coated.

Here’s the super condensed version: PVD and DLC coatings (which are not, in fact, the same) are a kind of coating put on stainless steel to make it look black. I’m sure they can be put on top of other metals as well, but we’re not going to go there because, honestly, it isn’t done all too often, if ever. All you really need to know about the purpose of doing this is that it gives the watch a more tactical, in most cases, kind of feel and look that is incredibly popular on sports watches (I haven’t seen a dress watch done in PVD or DLC before, but I’m sure one exists).

There is a catch, though; PVD is technically the name of the process for applying the coating, while DLC is the kind of coating. There are others, as well, including Titanium Nitride and Silicon Oxide, which are the ones you see most often when a piece is described as having a “PVD coating” instead of a “DLC coating.” So in reality, it might be worth investigating further, if possible, the next time you’re considering a PVD watch as it might not have the best coating suited for your purposes.

Panerai Luminor with PVD coating
Source: Paneraiworld.blogspot.com

PVD stands for “Physical Vapor Deposition” and is the name assigned to the range of vacuum coating techniques used to apply certain finishes to watches. Honestly, and I know this sounds like a cop out, but check out the bit I linked above for more about the process because a LOT of it just goes way over my head, and I’d rather not butcher the explanation.

Rolex Milgauss DLC Coating
Source: Chronext

DLC, by contrast, stands for “Diamond Like Carbon” which, as a phrase, aggravates the hell out of me grammatically, but we won’t get into that. In short, the process involves spraying the specific type of carbon onto the watch and then supercooling it, causing it to bond to the metal and harden. Depending on who you ask, DLC is pretty much the sapphire crystal of watch coatings as far as scratch resistance is concerned.

As an aesthetic, Christian shared his thoughts about the PVD/DLC look,, so definitely hop back to that episode of ASKTNH LIVE to find out what he thinks.

Do you own any PVD/DLC coated watches, geeks? If so, be sure to show us in the Facebook group (The Theo&Harris Watchfam) and, as always, keep it classy, watchfam.