Curious on the base metal for this case

BtoGtoF

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Mar 2, 2021
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Hey everyone, I’m looking to get some explanation on this watch case I’m looking to buy. I’m new to horology but I do know certain cases (Nickel especially) can cause allergenic issues. I’m also worried about Chrome plated cases wearing off and even the toxicity of the Chrome is a big negative. I’m wondering if anyone could tell me what exactly Keystone Base Metal means, and what the “CO” signifies, if it doesn’t mean Co as in Company. Could anyone tell me if they think that the case top is covered in a Chrome plate, or maybe some other type of non precious metal? Thank you
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RL

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Mar 28, 2004
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Yes---some type of non precious metal (plated). As I understand it-- Keystone watch case co. was a conglomerate that made cases for several watch companies.
 

roughbarked

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Specific definitions from Wiki:
In contrast to noble metals, base metals may be distinguished by oxidizing or corroding relatively easily and reacting variably with diluted hydrochloric acid (HCl) to form hydrogen. Examples include iron, nickel, lead and zinc. Copper is also considered a base metal because it oxidizes relatively easily, although it does not react with HCl.

In mining and economics, the term base metals refers to industrial non-ferrous metals excluding precious metals. These include copper, lead, nickel and zinc.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is more inclusive in its definition of commercial base metals. Its list includes—in addition to copper, lead, nickel, and zinc—the following metals: iron and steel, aluminium, tin, tungsten, molybdenum, tantalum, cobalt, bismuth, cadmium, titanium, zirconium, antimony, manganese, beryllium, chromium, germanium, vanadium, gallium, hafnium, indium, niobium, rhenium, and thallium, and their alloys.
 

boganll

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If it's plated it's either nickel, chrome, or rhodium. You'd know if it was rhodium because you'd be paying for it.
 

svenedin

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It looks like stainless steel but I am not sure whether stainless steel would be marked specifically as that. I can’t see evidence of plating - would expect to see wear near the lugs if it was.
 

DoughBoyWatches

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Jan 5, 2021
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nobody knows the exact content of the base metal, it is an alloy that could be a mixture of any combination of metals listed above. I would think zinc, copper, nickel would be the usual suspects though and possibly a 4th metal. I really wish a lab test could be done in order to know for sure but each companies base metal make up could be different than one another. Some base metals look yellow in color other white. As far as the bezel goes it is chromium plated base metal. Keystone Watch Case Co. (Company) Has a history of manufacturing cases dating back to the 1885. From 1904 esp. during WWI they were one of the largest case manufacturers for American trench watches. They had many other brands under their umbrella which they acquired back in 1904, including Philadelphia Watch Case Co, Bates & Bacon, and Cresent. They were also a major case supplier of American watch companies during WWII as well along with Star and Wadsworth.
 

svenedin

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If you really want to know, find someone with a hand held spectrometer. They are relatively cheap these days and will identify the metal elements in your case. However, if plated you’ll just get a reading for the top layer.
 

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