NiCrO ceramic-metal composites (i.e. cermets) exhibit not only oxidation and moisture resistances, which are very important for industrial applications, but also remarkable solar selective absorption properties. In order to reach the best optical performances with only one coating layer, tuning of the magnetron sputtering process parameters (O flow rate, pressure and deposition time) was performed systematically. The process window turned out to be very narrow implying a critical tuning of the parameters. The optimal operating point was determined for a single layer coating of NiCrO on an aluminium substrate, leading to a spectrally integrated solar absorption as high as 78%. Among various material properties, the focus was put on the optical reflectance of the coating/substrate system, which was measured by UV-vis-NIR spectrophotometry. Using complex refractive index data from the literature, the theoretical reflectance spectra were calculated and found to be in good agreement with the measurements. Chemical analysis combined with scanning electronic and atomic force microscopies suggested a cermet structure consisting of metallic Ni particles and a compound matrix made of a mixture of chromium oxide, nickel oxide and nickel hydroxide.