Watches made from what must be one of the rarest materials on Earth – metal from the hull of the Titanic – are going on sale for up to £75,000. ($150,000)
Salvaged by divers from the wreck of the liner – which lies 12,500ft under the North Atlantic where it sank after hitting an iceberg in 1912 with the loss of 1,500 lives – the metal has been blended with modern shipbuilding steel to make the casing of the timepieces.
Coal which was to have been burned in the Titanic’s furnaces and which was also recovered from the seabed has been mixed with ceramics to create black dials for the watches.
A Swiss jeweller is making the watches, which will be marketed under the name Titanic-DNA in a limited run of 2,012 – a reference to the 100th anniversary of the disaster in five years’ time. Some of the models have been given a unique rusted appearance using oxidisation techniques at a laboratory in Switzerland.
The new steel and the old tarnished metal have been blended at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, where the Titanic was built.
The watches, which have been criticised as being in bad taste by Titanic enthusiasts, feature hands inspired by the liner’s anchor and the small seconds dial is designed to look like the pressure gauges on the ship’s boiler.
Yvan Arpa, chief executive of Geneva-based Romain Jerome which is making the watches, said: "We wanted to make a watch that had history and this is the rarest, most historical metal we could get hold of. The idea came to me when I visited a friend and he had a piece of the Berlin Wall on his mantelpiece. I wanted to incorporate that idea of owning history into a watch.
"This watch will give people the chance to carry a piece of history on their wrist."
The watches range in price from £4,500 to £75,000 depending on the other main material used in their construction – steel, silver or gold with diamonds.