The nitro on my '08 DGT will neither green, nor shatter.
This is where some better information should be given by PRS because I bet most people think of guitars like a Les Paul as having a Nitro finish which will shatter/crack/check as well as known for being a 'softer' finish that wears relatively easy compared to the Finish we have become accustomed to from PRS in the past. It doesn't seem to take much to wear off the finish on the back of a Les Paul down to the bare wood and compare that buckle rash to a PRS that looks like new until you look close and see little dents/scratches but it looks like the finish and guitars have been protected by a very hard layer.
Forgetting about the feel and any tonal qualities, the one thing everyone assumes is that Nitro wears and the reason these older guitars look like 'relics' and Poly (whether either of these terms are accurate or not), does not wear at all and can look like new (bar any serious dings that may have caused chipping). I know Poly can be seen as the lesser of the two finishes with numerous low budget guitars having a very thick coating of 'Poly' and, I think, also highlighted by Epiphone and Gibson.
I think Poly, certainly the finish that PRS has been using and refining over years, is not necessarily worse and its a lack of information and education by Luthiers as led to a lot of misinformation. I never found the 'poly' neck of a PRS to be sticky but, if you rub Nitro so it warms up, that becomes sticky - that's one way to tell a nitro finish is to rub it hard and see if it becomes sticky (oo-er missus
). What I like about PRS guitars is I know that my guitars can still look as good as new in 30+yrs time - assuming I don't accidentally drop or bang into something and don't wear belts/zips when playing - because that finish is exceptionally hard wearing, but do the same on a Gibson Les Paul and chances are, it will show much more sign of wear.
Whether this is to be expected with the 'Nitro' finish that PRS will be using or not, I don't know and that is part of the problem. Much like 'Poly' is misunderstood and likened to the 'thick' poly coated cheap import guitars regardless of whether it is different or just applied a lot thinner, Nitro too will be assumed to have the attributes that Nitro finishes have - much softer, not hard wearing, yellows with age and more susceptible to rapid temperature checking/cracking. I don't know at all whether or not the new PRS guitars will end up looking like relics with their beautiful finishes wearing through to bare wood but I would rather buy older/used PRS guitars with the hard 'Poly' finishes we associate with PRS because I don't want my guitars to look like relics in need of restoration. I know others will feel differently and have their own preference.
Without being educated by the Builders, we tend to see guitars either finished in 'Poly' or 'Nitro'. I know there are a few alternatives but I am sure that not all Poly or all Nitro finishes are the same and that the generalisations that are often attributed to each may not be the case for all. For all I know, the Nitro finish that PRS are using for their 2020 models could be something entirely 'new' - some ingredient added that makes the guitars have the feel and tonal quality associated with Nitro but also the extremely hard wearing and protective qualities associated with PRS's 'poly' finish without the risk of checking or yellowing either - not saying it is like this but as not all Poly finishes are the same, not all Nitro finishes maybe the same too so it would be great to hear what these changes mean and what the benefits to the changes are - not just in the short term either...