While both the industry and the watch enthusiasts’ prefer the stainless steel models as their first choice, the solid gold and gold/stainless steel combo models continue to decorate the stores’ windows. Well, which one is the right style for you?
You may have already noticed that I don’t see any meaningful reason for Purists always praising the stainless steel versions, finding the solid gold watches over-flashy and especially labeling the Two-Tone models as “the choice of non-watch enthusiasts”. Particularly for the Two-Tone models, I don’t understand those people’s problem with such a stylish and versatile combination.
Rolex Yacht Master 40 116621
There may be people who concern about the commercial part of the deal. When it comes to luxury watches, talking about the investment situation or at least “depreciation” is inevitable. However, as a watch enthusiast owned/owning many solid gold and Two-Tone timepieces, I can say that it is very unlikely to face a great loss of value if the deal has been done with right terms and conditions at the first place. In the meantime, I believe there is no one unaware of the gold Rolex watches which have been sold for record breaking figures at auctions lately.
Rolex REF. 6062 ‘BAO DAI
Well, let's say you've left your prejudices aside, you've created a certain budget, or you simply want a "gold" watch like me. Excellent... But which one?
It is a fact that gold is not a cheap material ... It never was and obviously it will never be... So if you have a limited budget, I can say that Two-Tone models are perfect for you. It is possible to come across many brands with these models which offer a wide spectrum of usage. Often, you can choose this combination with yellow or pink gold, which offers the privilege of adapting to your shorts as much as your suit. Personally, I'm still not very used to the pink gold tone. My favorite is the yellow gold which is as old as the history of mankind. And when it comes to two-tone models, the metal bracelet has always been more stylish to me than leather or rubber strap versions.
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Open 42
In the meantime, let’s talk about the gold applications in the watchmaking industry. First of all, (assuming you are not that tight with the budget) it’ll be a wise move to stay away from the plated watches. The coating techniques of today are much more successful than the past examples. With methods such as PVD and DLC, it is possible to make highly durable gold coatings, but it seems to me that there is still a problem with the gold tone. Let me add that I find it extremely annoying to see the inner part of the bracelets left un-coated on Two-Tone models. And there are many major brands that are still doing this.
I believe, you have heard the terms Gold-Capped, Gold-Filled or Gold-Wrapped. These terms represent alternative coating methods. What distinguishes these techniques from PVD or DLC is that the parts are actually pressed with very thin plates of gold. Although we do not see that a lot in these days, it is worth noting that this technique was used in the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Two-Tone model which was introduced at the Baselworld fair this year. It may be a budget-friendly choice to go with gold capped models as they offer a much longer-lasting use of wear resistance than standard coating methods.Tudor Heritage Black Bay Two-Tone
And now, solid gold watches… I love solid gold watches. Besides being naturally expensive, many people think that they are too flashy or they are not easy to wear in terms of versatility. But I have witnessed many people changing their minds about those timepieces when they saw them in person.
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar 18K Red Gold IW502628
To me, solid gold models should be preferred as yellow or pink gold. I have never been interested in white gold, due to its extremely similar color tone with stainless steel. Of course there are Purists that would tell me that there is a huge difference between steel and white gold in terms of color, but I think there isn’t. For some users, wearing a watch that do not attract attention or gets recognized by watch enthusiasts mostly may be reasons for preference. For example, the 18K white gold Rolex Daytona models come with a different bezel design and dials exclusive to those versions. Someone who is not aware of this information may think that it is a stainless steel Daytona. Same goes for the Day-Date models as they have never been produced in stainless steel but there are white gold (and platinum) versions.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 228235
Although the yellow gold tone has not changed much for thousands of years, it is not possible to say the same thing for the very young pink gold. I believe that the popularity of pink gold, which has different color tones with different brands' patented alloys (such as Everose, King Gold, Magic Gold, Sedna Gold, Honey Gold) will continue, but I do not think that it can beat yellow gold.
Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu 18k King Gold
Finally, I believe matt finished models look way better than mirror polished ones. The shiny surfaces reflect the light a lot causing the lines of the watch cannot be seen clearly. However, matt finished models reveal every design detail almost in any occasion. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak models and Bulgari Octo and Diagono collections are my all time favorites regarding matt finished solid gold watches.
Bulgari Octo Retrograde
If you've decided to get a solid gold or Two-Tone watch, what you should do first is to try the models that you like. Then you can set a budget and start researching in that direction as you have a very large portfolio from gold capped models to solid gold watches or from vintage models to second-hand options.