Every product is carefully selected by our editors. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission.

Carbon Fiber Watches Aren’t a Gimmick. They’re Lightweight, Tough and Cool-Looking

Carbon composites have a range of properties that are desirable for watchmaking. It doesn’t hurt that they also look pretty darn badass.

Carbon-Gear-Patrol-Lead-Full

It started with carbon fiber: that dark, woven-textured material with myriad industrial uses, familiar to consumers in the likes of cars and bicycles. Strong, lightweight and cool-looking, it found its way into watchmaking years ago. But the use of carbon composites and materials has evolved, and more watch brands are even developing their own proprietary versions.

Carbonium, Carbotech, Carbolight, Carbonox…Different brands have given their concoctions different names, but they all benefit from carbon’s useful properties. Aside from being lightweight and strong (even more so than titanium), these materials often show unique textures and patterning as a result of other elements used in the material or from the process of their creation. When used for watch cases, carbon’s naturally dark hue also offers a way of creating a black look without the use of a coating like PVD or DLC. It’s a material that just feels “technical.”

The watches below showcase some of the variety that’s possible with carbon and the different approaches brands have taken.

Luminox Master Carbon SEAL

Carbon, which ensures a watch is light and comfortable on the wrist, is perfect for a rugged, chunky timepiece like this 46mm beater from Luminox. The brand calls its case material Carbonox, and it has a matte texture without the patterns found on some other watches. The Master Carbon SEAL has a tactical, technical look, supported by glowing tritium tubes on the dial.

Movement: Swiss Quartz
Case Diameter: 46mm
Price: $675

Learn More: Here

Victorinox INOX Carbon Mechanical

Victorinox built and tested its INOX line to be as tough as G-Shock watches, and it’s since expanded with versions using different colors, materials, movements and other features. This INOX model has a lightweight carbon case with a stone-like texture and a Swiss automatic movement inside.

Movement: Sellita SW200 Automatic
Case Diameter: 43mm
Price: $1,150

Learn More: Here

Formex Essence Leggera

Formex is a small brand offering a strong value by combining carbon fiber composite in its Essence Leggera‘s case with other premium materials such as ceramic for the bezel. Here, the dial is in a different kind of carbon (forged) with an interesting texture that contrasts subtly with the case’s dark matte finish. And there’s the chronometer-certified Swiss automatic movement inside, which all adds up to a pretty reasonable value at under $2,000.

Movement: STP 1-11 Automatic (COSC-certified)
Case Diameter: 43mm
Price: $1,880

Learn More: Here

Oris Williams Chronograph C.F.C.

This is the classic and familiar look of carbon fiber, consistently applied to this sporty Oris watch’s case, bezel and dial for visual uniformity. The association carbon fiber with motorsports is appropriate for a chronograph watch in particular, and fits right in with the brand’s line dedicated to F1 racing.

Movement: ETA 7750 Automatic Chronograph
Case Diameter: 44mm
Price: $4,700

Learn More: Here

Doxa SUB 300 Aqua Lung US Divers Sharkhunter

Better known for its traditional but distinctive dive watches made in steel, Doxa stepped out of familiar territory by offering its flagship Sub 300 in a forged carbon case. The bezel and dial also have the organic patterning the material offers. This version of the SUB300 is light and legible, and it’s powered by a chronometer-certified Swiss movement.

Movement: ETA 2824-2 Automatic (COSC-certified)
Case Diameter: 42.5mm
Price: $4,790

Learn More: Here

Panerai Luminor Marina Carbotech PAM 1661

Panerai watches are known for bold sizing, but this 44mm dive watch weighs only 96g thanks to the brand’s own take on carbon watchmaking, which it calls “Carbotech.” Note the texture of the case with its dark and slightly lighter striping, resulting in a sedimentary look. With minty blue luminescent for its hands and indices and a jet black dial, the PAM 1661 is sleek and modern, powered by an in-house movement.

Movement: Panerai P.9010 Automatic
Case Diameter: 44mm
Price: $12,800

Learn More: Here

Girard Perregaux Laureato Absolute Rock

You can get a bit wild mixing carbon with other materials, as Girard Perregaux demonstrates with its Laureato Absolute Rock. Blue fibers marbled through the dark carbon give it its unique, almost camo-patterned, look.

Movement: GP03300-1058 Automatic Chronograph
Case Diameter: 44mm
Price: ~$16,450

Learn More: Here

Richard Mille RM 33-02 Automatic

You thought you’d get through a post about the use of carbon in watches without seeing a crazy watch from Richard Mille? No such luck. The brand is known for its use of exotic materials — many involving carbon — and the avant-garde look they create. There’s a lot more going on in this $145,000 watch, but its slim case uses something called carbon TPT (among other materials like gold and titanium), and it’s actually one of the brand’s more affordable wares.

Movement: Richard Mille Calibre RMXP1 Automatic
Case Diameter: 42mm
Price: $145,000

Learn More: Here

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Buying Guides