Gold. Throughout history, this shiny precious metal has held an undeniable fascination for mankind. Mythological legends and stories revolve around this element. From the Greek King Midas, who could turn anything into gold with a mere touch, to the Germanic Siegfried, who stole the gold of the Nibelungs from the dragon Fafnir, to the massive golden treasure of the fire dragon Smaug from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" – gold inevitably seems to cast a spell on us. Those who wear gold exude success and prestige. Even though other materials such as rose gold, silver and stainless steel have driven gold jewellery from its throne, this precious metal is currently experiencing a comeback. Let's take a look at a few of the most beautiful gold watches at Watchmaster that are suitable for any budget.
When is a gold watch considered a "solid" gold watch?
It is more difficult to define when a watch can be considered a "solid" gold watch than one might initially think. After all, even if a watch is only gold-plated, the gold used to make it is still real, and the watch will naturally appear golden. Nevertheless, what is commonly referred to as a solid gold watch are watches with a pure gold content of 14, 18 or 24 karat. The unit karat describes the proportion of purity of the gold content and can be remembered as follows: 1 karat stands for 1 part of 24 parts. This means that 24 karat gold is 99.99% pure gold, but too soft for jewellery. Karat ratings may also be known by other names that some might find more familiar. For example, 18 karat gold is also known as 750 gold (or 75% refined gold), 14 karat gold is known as 585 gold (or 58.5% refined gold), and 9 karat gold is known as 375 gold (i.e., 37.5% refined gold). These three types of gold are the most common and contain pure gold as well as copper, silver, palladium and other metals. Depending on the copper and silver content in the alloy, the colours yellow gold, white gold (which includes high palladium, platinum or silver content), red gold (as a result of high copper content) and rose gold (which contains lower copper content than red gold).
ROLEX DAY-DATE 18038 | OMEGA CONSTELLATION 368.1201
Gold and gold-plated: What is the difference?
We've now covered what constitutes a pure, gold watch and what the karat number means, but what does one mean when speaking of a gold-plated watch? For thousands of years, gold plating has been used to enhance the value of objects like relics and jewellery. There were various methods for this even in ancient times.
The best-known gilding process involves gold leaf, which is applied in wafer-thin layers to an object. Alternatively, there are also methods such as fire gilding, PVD coating, gold filling or gold plating. Each process has its advantages and disadvantages, but none comes close to "pure" gold, as gold-plated objects eventually show wear and will lose their original luster over time. Another cost-effective alternative to a solid gold watch are models made of vermeil. While this is also a type of gold plating, it involves gold-plated silver rather than any inexpensive metal. To be considered vermeil, a piece must be sterling silver, have a gold purity of 10 carats, and have a gold plating thickness of at least 2.5 microns. In that respect, a watch using vermeil is one of the best alternatives if you want something like genuine gold but is significantly more affordable. Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of various techniques used for gold plating in comparison with solid gold:
|Gold plating method||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Pure gold||Solid precious metal, stable value, stamped, timeless, rare||High cost, prone to scratching, heavy|
|Fire gilding||Very durable and resistant, various gold tones can be achieved||Requires use of mercury (method is no longer used today)|
|PVD coating||Most modern method of gold plating, very fine gold layer, even distribution, more economical than solid gold||No significant material value|
|Gold filling||Extremely durable, very old technique, still popular with watchmakers||Complex manufacturing process|
|Gold plating||Thin layer of pure gold, the most commonly used technique today||Not highly durable|
|Vermeil||Gold-plated silver, relatively thick gold layer of at least 10 karat, good alternative to solid gold||More expensive than other gilding methods|
|Gold leaf||Simplest method of gold plating, suitable for both metals and non-metals||Complex manufacturing process, rarely used today|
A selection of golden watches
Gold watches under €2,000
- For €1,350, you can put a Chopard Vintage (Ref. 1013) on your wrist. With a petite case diameter of 33 mm and a black leather strap, this gold Chopard is a perfect unisex watch and exudes the charm of the 70's thanks to its hand-wound movement, yellow gold case and champagne dial. Enter the world of the great Gatsby with the Chopard Vintage and leave the worries of everyday life behind!
- Take it up a notch with the Zenith Quartz (Ref. 63.0151.337). This beautiful 33 mm diameter ladies' watch costs €1,440 and features a yellow gold case, a tidy champagne dial with the traditional three hands and date window at 3 o'clock, as well as a yellow gold Milanese bracelet. With its precise quartz movement, this elegant timepiece is guaranteed not to let you down, so you'll shine in any situation in life.
CHOPARD GENEVE 1061
Gold on your wrist for less than €5,000
- Acquire a radiant yellow gold ladies' watch that more than lives up to the image of the Geneva-based top dog with the Rolex Cellini (Ref. 3810). A subtle 24 mm case is fastened to the wrist by means of a delicate bracelet made of countless fine yellow gold links. This bracelet has the appearance of a layer of gold leaf encircling your arm. This timepiece has an asking price of €3,510.
- While perhaps less playful, the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony (Ref. 44001) is of an equivalent level of quality. This unisex watch comes with a slim 35 mm yellow gold case, a gold dial featuring Roman indices, date window at 3 o'clock and an elegant black leather strap. You can call this timeless everyday companion your own right now for less than €4,000.
Gold luxury watches for under €10,000
- Enter the world of the most popular and prestigious brands of Haute Horlogerie with the Patek Philippe Ellipse d'Or (Ref. 4464/4). Paired with a slender bracelet, this golden ladies' watch, with a case diameter measuring only 20 mm, will sit discretely on your wrist. Priced at €5,650, this piece of jewellery can soon be yours.
- In comparison, the Omega Constellation (Ref. 368.1201) is a bit more sporty. The yellow gold bracelet seems to flow naturally into the contours of the 35 mm wide case, giving the impression of a modern work of art. The white dial gently stands out from the rest of the timepiece and features a date window at 3 o'clock in addition to the traditional three hands. A pre-owned model asks for a price of €8,600.
- The Cartier Pasha (Ref. 13531) lives up to its name with its glamorous design and further impresses with its sporty chronograph function. This model's bracelet and case are made of yellow gold. This second-hand Cartier Pasha costs about €9,500.
OMEGA CONSTELLATION 368.1201
Golden watches for less than €15,000
- Put the queen of wristwatches on your wrist with the Rolex Day-Date (Ref. 18238). This Day-Date in solid yellow gold has earned a reputation as the watch of presidents and popes. The President bracelet is reserved at Rolex exclusively for the models in the Day-Date Collection and is rounded off with a hidden folding clasp. With a case diameter of 36 mm and the eponymous weekday display, this model is priced at €12,760.
- If you want to reach for one of the more uncharacteristic collections from the Rolex range, then be sure to take a look at the King Midas. This wristwatch is named after the aforementioned king from Greek mythology and was the manufacturer's most expensive watch at the time of its launch. Moreover, with a model from this series, you are joining a very select circle of owners: both Elvis Presley and John Wayne each owned a model from this unusual collection. However, for a model from the King Midas Series like the Ref. 3580, you will definitely have to budget for prices in excess of €10,000.
- Sporty, sportier, Royal Oak. From the pen of Gérald Genta, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has sneaked straight into the hearts of many watch lovers without a detour. The yellow gold model with the Reference number 56175BA.O.0789BA.01 features a case diameter of 34 mm and the sporty, avant-garde design that has been the signature of the Royal Oak series from the very beginning. While this Royal Oak sports a price tag of €15,000, you can also pick up a ladies' version with a case diameter measuring a mere 27 mm with a diamond-set bezel for under €8,500. Don't just get any gold wristwatch, get a piece of design and watch history!
ROLEX DAY-DATE 18038
Golden luxury starting from €15,000
- The gold Rolex Daytona (Ref. 16528) is considerably more expensive, but more than worth its price. This nearly 22-year-old Cosmograph has matured over time like a bottle of fine champagne and still shines with an undeniable lustre today. With a case diameter of 40 mm, a tachymeter scale on the yellow gold bezel, a small second and chronograph function, this archetype of a sports watch represents a solid investment at just under €35,800.
- The Patek Philippe Nautilus (Ref. 3800) is another example of a sporty timepiece. This 33 mm timepiece boasts the iconic Nautilus design, shines in warm yellow gold and is rounded off by an anthracite dial. Since the Nautilus is such a highly sought-after model, you'll need to budget at least €34,000 for a pre-owned watch.
ROLEX DAYTONA 16528
As with so much in life, there is no upper limit to a price in the world of luxury watches. In the Watchmaster shop, we offer numerous other models in gold, from which you are bound to find the right one for you – and whether or not you want a gold bracelet is entirely up to you.
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