I have been playing the Maltby DBM irons for 8 years, and you wouldnt know it, I dont take care of them, dont clean them , never had head covers and I have seen one year old clubs look worse. Not only does the black last, it makes them harder, bag chatter is non existent.
There is next to no chance that I will be replacing these soon, do yourself a favour and get them, you wont regret it.
Just last week a golfer was admiring my irons – who admires 8 yo irons normally?
It depends on the type of black finish. Our DBM finish is the most durable. Some irons are Black Chrome and they can show wear over time. QPQ (stands for Quench, Polish, Quench) is a process used by some and it too will show wear. We have used black Chrome and QPQ in the past and always felt that the finish did not hold up as well as we preferred. When DBM (Diamonized Black Metal) came along (we were the first to use it) it was a game changer. It penetrates the material and in my personal experience it holds up the best, by far. I played with our DBM Forged irons for 5 years and although it did show some wear on the face over time, overall it was far superior to the other finishes. And I will add, I hit a lot of golf balls during that time.