A material used in the most demanding environments such as in aircraft components, missiles, and formula one vehicles, Titanium has been around for the last two centuries, but it was only with the Kroll process in the 1930s that Titanium could be extracted in industrial amounts. Over the past decade, it has began to slowly penetrate many luxury markets. Today we discuss the unique properties of Titanium, as well as share some of our favourite Titanium luxury creations.
When you think of Titanium, three terms should come to mind: Strength, Lightness and Exclusivity. With Titanium having a strength of around 1000 MPa, or five times stronger than that of ordinary steels, Grade 5 Titanium has been called upon in the production of formula one frames and engines, due to its unique strength and fracture toughness. However, it is in its lightness that Titanium truly puts most other materials to sleep. About half the weight of steel for the same volume, holding a piece of Titanium is truly an experience in itself. It was the extraordinary lightness and toughness of Titanium that lent itself for use in the Concorde project, the British-French supersonic passenger airliner. It has also been used in the US Airforce SR-71 Blackbird, the world's fastest supersonic plane during the Cold War, with over 85% of the plane's body being made of Titanium.
Despite these incredible properties, Titanium has not found its way into most commercial applications, due to its exclusivity and high price. While materials such as Aluminium are abundant in the Earth's crust, Titanium is far less common, and its ability to react with oxygen means that it cannot be found naturally in its pure form. Rather, it has to be extracted from mineral ores using a series of costly and intricate chemical reactions. As a result, Titanium production is extremely expensive, and can cost over 50 times that of a plain carbon steel.
Richard Mille RM029
Featuring a baseplate and bridges in sandblasted Grade 5 Titanium as well as a rotor in Grade 2 Titanium, the RM029 brought out the best of the material in a luxury watch.
Machined out of a solid block of Grade 5 Titanium, the Advent Titanium edition was engineered with a mechanically textured finish that is impossible to be reproduced by hand, and undergoes a series of strength and rigidity tests to ensure perfection.
Costing 2.5million euros, the world's first Titanium car was designed to be the only one of its kind, requiring over 10,000 hours of hand-crafted work.