We all have seen it before, or we even own a watch with blue hands. The hands in particular come in different shapes according to the brand or model but many of those special hands all have one thing in common; the lovely blue color. But what’s so special about the blue color?
It is known that the process of ‘blueing’ offers a level of corrosion resistance to the hands. But the main reason of the process is aesthetics. It is usually done more for decoration and a symbol of workmanship than anything else. But, let’s not go too fast about this topic. Flame blueing hands is an extremely delicate and difficult procedure. If the hands are held in the flame too long, the steel shoots passed blue and becomes a brown/bronze color and will have to be discarded. That’s why watch brands need the experience of a craftsman with an eye for timing. This process can’t be replaced by machines because they haven’t got that ‘trained eye’. The failure rate in this difficult process is as high as 75%. That’s why Flame blued hands are only found in higher priced watches.
As a customer you have to be aware of the quality difference. There are many ‘not as high-end’ watch manufacturers who chemically blue rather than heat blue (Flame blue) their screws and hands like most of the luxury watch brands. It is done just to ‘copy’ the look of true heat-blued steel.