TUDOR has developed for the first time a case completely fashioned in high-tech injected ceramic. The whole case of the Fastrider Black Shield is produced as a single piece – a unique operation for watches in this segment. This technological expertise also equips other models in the collection like the bezel of the Pelagos, the TUDOR North Flag and the TUDOR Fastrider Chrono. The ceramic is virtually impervious to scratches, and its colour is unaffected by ultraviolet rays. The result is, naturally, quite out of the ordinary, powerful and unique.
The manufacture of the bezel and the case is carried out in-house. The brand has installed the exclusive equipment required to perfectly master the quality of the final product in conformity with its stringent specifications. The basic ceramic material is a very fine zirconium dioxide powder, whose particles are less than one micron (one-thousandth of a millimetre) in diameter. The powder, white at the outset, is mixed with both a binding agent that allows it to be moulded and pigments that will give the final desired colour. The raw material is shaped by high-pressure moulding. At this point, it has very low resistance. The components are then heat treated in furnaces. The first stage eliminates the binding agent. From the second firing at 1,500° C (2,700° F), or sintering, the ceramic acquires its definitive hardness and mechanical resistance.
Its resistance after the sintering is akin to that of steel, but its hardness is much greater. During firing and sintering, the piece contracts by approximately 25 per cent and acquires its final colour. Final precision machining gives each piece its definitive shape and size for assembly. As the material has now acquired its characteristic hardness, this operation requires the use of diamond tools.
Throughout the production process, the ceramic pieces undergo numerous quality controls to check the precision of their geometry, their mechanical properties and their colour. In addition to the noble aesthetics of this chronograph, the extremely complex procedure adopted for its manufacture ensures that both the middle case and bezel are exceptionally reliable and resistant.