May 31, 20173788 views

Hypoallergenic Watches?

I happen to love wearing watches. Unfortunately, the skin on my wrist abhors them.
Whenever I try to wear a steel watch, or a gold watch that isn't completely pure, the nickel added to the metal gives me an awful rash. So far, the only watches I've been able to wear are made of titanium, and I've yet to see titanium watches on Massdrop.
I doubt I'm alone in this.
Does anyone else have the same problem? If so, what kind of watches would you like to see Massdrop offer?
Hey, Massdrop: Would you consider collaborating on hyperallergenic watches that have the kinds of features and detail that MD members crave?
Nottagorilla, 20kevin01, and 7 others

Hi all The testing lab that I work for (AnchorCert Analytical) has developed a testing Methodology called DermaKind which tests for 16 known elements that cause Metal Allergic Contact Dermatitis (MACD) We developed it with M & S who have branded it as SkinKind. They are about to roll it out throughout all of their ranges (It is presently just women's jewellery. I am interested in any Watch Companies that would like to speak with me about the term hypoallergenic is not scientifically defined...we are hoping to define it with DermaKind. Exciting times!!! Please feel free to contact me for more info
Are any watchmakers taking you up on your testing methodology, Amy? I hope so, since I've tried to wear steel wristbands that supposedly were hypoallergenic and still developed a rash. Thanks for verifying that "hypoallergenic" is not scientifically defined, since those of use who develop awful rashes are often dismissed by others who say (1) a given product is labeled hypoallergenic, so the problem must be psychosomatic, or (2) they themselves are allergic to nickel but don't react severely, therefore we're either faking or being overly dramatic. If only that were true. I once had to go to the hospital with red welts all over my body just because I forgot to take a prescription antihistamine. If I don't take that same pill every night, I break into hives. Leather and metal that touch my skin do the same thing regardless. So far, titanium seems to be the only metal I can wear. I'm glad you're not taking this subject lightly. It's clear that the severity of food allergies is increasing as time goes on; so, perhaps has that of skin allergies like mine.
I have problem with Plastic or any synthetic band matirials for about 10 years i had the G-shock DW9050 with a starp that is kinda like nato strap and non metal is tuching the skin. about 2 years ago i moved to SS band wich is much better then plastic and i dont get bad rash, but i still need to let mt wrist to breath from time to time
Some automatic watches have a clear case back, paired with leather, nylon or even rubber straps. Would those help?
I haven't experienced a reaction my SS watches, although I don't like SS bracelets. I recommend trying nato straps so the watch is held slightly off the wrist. A Bund strap to prevent all contact could also work, especially if you have pilot/aviator/flieger watches.
Alternatively, have you tried resin cases?
I have several titanium watches, not because of allergies, but because I prefer the light weight.
My favorite is a Mido All Dial Chronograph in titanium.
I also have a fairly rare Citizen Nighthawk Eco-Drive in titanium,
And a titanium Ocean 7
I also have a Omega Polaris multi-function and I'm pretty sure I have a 20 year old Seiko Kinetic titanium somewhere....
I think that Ocean 7 would also be a great candidate. Their watches are very nice, reasonably priced and it's an American company. I would also agree with @Zabrolak that you can't go wrong with either Seiko or Citizen. I like the JDM Citizens better than the ones offered in the US, so that might be an interesting angle ...
I'd love to see a Mido All Dial, but it's likely too expensive as the titanium models sell for around $1000. IRC Marathon also make (made) a nice titanium diver and there's of course Skagen, which are not bad but a little boring. Rado also makes really nice ceramic watches but they are very expensive - I have a Rado multi-function and even used it's nearer $1000 than $500. Plus the backs are stainless.
Just to throw another brand, material into the mix, I also have a brass watch from a Thai-based company called Maranez - it's very, very well made and distinctive - the pic doesn't do it justice, the brass is uncoated, so it will tarnish green, which is pretty neat.
I've also owned a number of no-name brand titanium watches and they were all pretty crappy. Best to stay away from those....
Anyway, sorry for the long post, I have a bit of a watch fetish.....
Sinn 856 has a nickel free back.
you can't go wrong with Citizen titanium or Seiko titanium :>
I personally dont have the allergy reaction to nickel, and I have a few stainless steel and gold coated watch. But they are a bit flashy for work and instead I wear my nylon and/ or silicon strap sport-style watch. A titanium made (casing, back, strap) is technically hypoallergenic, or a nato style nylon strap (the one which have a layer between your skin and back of the watch) could be your solution.
I have an Armand Nicolet made of titanium. Great quality for the price, if you can find it on sale. Not sure how often the higher end stuff will show up on Massdrop. There's a brand called Reactor that makes very solid watches with Japanese quartz movements. Several are offered in titanium, and at a relatively decent price.
Reactor also makes an automatic in titanium called 'Poseidon' ...good down to 1000 meters ...if you do some radical diving.
Citizen make a good range of Titanium watches. Some are JDM only. Here is a JDM that has caught my attention (PMD56-2952) Also available with greed dial
Thanks for the rec, PP. I just tried to verify that you were referring to the same model with a green dial , no doubt symbolizing the "eco" features of the watch.
Unfortunately, the only green-dialed version I found was the PMD56-2951, which Amazon lists as being made of steel even though both of the onsite reviewers say it is made of titanium. For that amount of money, the buyer would want to be sure.
Yeah a typo that turned "green" into "greed" The Green dial version is definitely Titanium cased C/W a Titanium bracelet. They both have the "Duratect" hardening process which makes them very scratch resistant. The only difference between the black dial and the green dial is the black bezel on the black dial version.
Just paint clear acrylic nail polish on the back of the watches. Problem solved for 10 cents/watch.
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I have a slight nickel allergy. Makes my skin green. It will chip off over time so you may need to reapply but its not really possible to notice imo.
Maybe not nail polish but you can get a regular watch and then you have several options: 1. powder coating. just use one of those auto shops that powder coat rims. 2. electrostatic coating, again use auto shops 3. metal plating, try with gold or something that you tolerate. if you do it with silver/gold will not hurt the resale value of an expensive watch.
Also, take a look at NATO watch bands. They will hold the watch up off of your skin. I use them because they are just more comfortable. You can get them in the width for your watch and lots of colors. They can be changed in seconds.
I love NATO bands. They are cheap enough to buy a different band for every occasion, though I have yet to find a way to remove the smell from older, well-worn, sweated-in bands.
There are so many really nice Titanium watches available, one is bound to show up on MD. As hammer pointed out, RADO is an innovator of ceramic pieces also, and Movado also has a line of all ceramic watches.
My username is StainlessOnly for a reason, as I am quite allergic to gold (the Silver lining... Saves me money!) I won't go into too much specificity, but I have quite a bit of familiarity with conditions of the epidermis and topical skin care, and every individual with skin irritations will react differently. Try wearing bracelets a tad looser, and try not to let moisture or sweat accumulate, as any irritation of your topical nervous tract or system can trigger the reaction. I wear a lot of bracelets for this precise reason, as they generally offer greater breathability, and feel better looser. I have several watches on strap, be they various leathers, certain tanning procedures, or rubber, and I cannot go any length of time without having to remove and let some breathing happen. Pressure or weight can certainly act as a bother, but I don't figure most watches weight enough to do so, but again, everyone is different. All my regular wear watches are stainless steel, either 316 or 904, and I have only had reaction on really, really rare occasion. Unless your allergic to something else in the composition aside from the nickel, 316 is what most watch brands use, and you might be able to try grabbing something relatively cheap to try out for some extended wear, and if it doesn't work out, gift it!
Bummer you have some limits to what you can grab for a watch, and it's likely you know most of this, but I wish you happy hunting in finding that watch that smiles and sings (and doesn't itch!) friend.
Just to add information for future reference, Citizen makes several Eco-Drive watches in titanium. My personal favorite is out of production but still shows up for sale new online.

For high end watches, Rado and Junghans make some ceramic watches that are even more hypo-allergenic than titanium.
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I have an addiction for the Citizen chronos, i own 5 of them. This watch looks awesome but what's grabbing my attention is that beautiful leather band. Thanks for sharing this. (if you can provide a link to buy this band i will be very thankful.)
It was purchased from an ebay store, NATO-International. Actually he is a good resource to save and I have purchased other straps him.
What I will comment on about the strap is that it is a faux distressed finish. It is just as stiff as any other brand new padded leather strap, and actually has a glossy sheen to it. Not quite what you might imagine looking at pictures online. I originally bought it for my Hamilton Team Earth, but was disappointed with the combination after trying it. I like it much better on the Citizen.
I just stumbled across this at Creation Watch: :)
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Really nice, though I'm not familiar with Certina or Jomashop. Love the sapphire glass and this extra feature (for me, at least): " Water resistant at 200 meters / 660 feet."
BTW: Have you noticed that Massdrop's "Related Links" (see below) aren't related to this thread? Twenty links, one watch.
Jomashop is a US-based grey market dealer, so no manufacturers warranty with the watch. Certin is a lesser known (in the US) and underrated Swiss brand but is owned by the Swatch Group, as are Hamilton, Omega, Tissot, and many others. The ETA movement is excellent.
Being a lesser known brand, I would love to see MD do a drop of their watches, and a DS Action Diver in particular, to increase their recognition and also to give us great Swiss timepieces at MD prices, like they did with the Hamilton.
Hey there, we've had a few titanium watches drop on the site, but they are definitely pretty sporadic.
Do you see the same results with 316L stainless steel? It's very commonly used in watches and is the same type of steel that is used for surgical tools--it should be hypoallergenic.
Thanks for the swift reply.
I've been a MD member since the site's inception but haven't seen any titanium watches so far. It sounds as though my attention might have been deflected by stray malamutes.
Sadly, I've never worn a steel watch of any kind that failed to give me a wrist-ring of hives. Whether said watches used 316L steel or not, I couldn't say.
I'd offer to try on a steel watch at a local store, but the problem is that it can take hours to develop symptoms.
One thing's for certain: I'd love to see titanium specialty watches drop again.
I imagine MD could pop some titanium watches on here no problem. They seem to deal with enough brands that offer a Ti model
I'm hoping we'll see a well-made titanium automatic watch.