The CHRONEXT Guide to gold watches

by Nour Abraham


How have luxury gold watches evolved over time?

February 07. 2018 - by Nour Abraham

Yellow gold, 18k gold, rose gold, Sedna gold, plated gold – we could go on forever

Luxury watches & gold: A match made in heaven

It goes without saying that the luxury watch industry and gold timepieces simply go hand-in-hand. Fine timepieces have been produced in gold for as long as the human species has been able to document the history of Haute Horlogerie. In addition to the alloy having practical features such as a resistance to tarnish, the real reason timekeeping instruments have always been produced in gold is due to the precious value of the element, which represents class, wealth and status. Historically, timekeeping instruments have been something to cherish and pass on through the generations. Gold was (and still is) a valuable material that withstood the test of time. Today, watch lovers and enthusiasts still hold the same attitude towards gold watches. However, the way in which gold is utilised in watchmaking has advanced over time.


Are gold watches still relevant today?

Does gold still hold the same value and status that it used to? Some would argue that it does not. Our opinion: The idea of gold and its use in watchmaking has simply evolved.

A seismic shift towards gold timepieces occurred in the midst of the quartz crisis when the luxury watch industry was experiencing economic upheaval. In 1972, Audemars Piguet decided to launch one if its most iconic timepieces to date and change the meaning of luxury watches for good. Although the company was at the head of Swiss watchmaking at the time, it was looking for fresh new ideas to meet the demands of clientele. The result was the first of its kind: The Royal Oak.

The timepiece, while exhibiting most standard features of a luxury watch, was different in terms of its stainless steel composition. Up until that point, luxury watches were developed with traditionally opulent materials such as gold or platinum. The point of the Royal Oak was to produce a sporty stainless steel timepiece priced at that of a luxurious gold model. At the time, the industry could not fathom a luxury watch that was, in fact, not produced out of “luxury” materials.

While the stainless steel Royal Oak was ultimately a hit among watch fans and ironically enough, eventually manufactured in a wide range of gold alloys including yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold, the introduction of the model altered the attitude in the watch world. Gold was no longer the only definition of luxury. Today, while traditional gold still holds its prestigious status, manufacturers of fine timepieces are now open to mixing gold alloys with elements such as copper and palladium in order to circumvent some of the cons of gold, including its tendency to scratch. Thanks to this change in attitude, the industry now houses luxury watches comprised of a wide range of gold materials and gold alloys including 18k gold, Percheron 24k gold, rose gold, red gold,  Sedna, Cera and many more composites.

Here are our 5 favourite gold watches at CHRONEXT

Longines Conquest

First on our list of top 5 favourite watches is the Longines Conquest. This model is simply a classic thanks to its rose gold case, which is perfectly complemented with a fine brown crocodile leather bracelet. We can thank 19th century Imperial Russia for the introduction of what we now call Rose gold. Carl Fabergé, who was a  renowned jeweller to the Tzars was one of the first to mix precious yellow gold with copper in order to create a charming pink tone. Cartier is another prominent name that comes to one’s mind when thinking of Rose gold. The renowned jeweller began utilizing the alluring material as early as the 1920s. Evidently, Rose gold plays an important role in today’s watch industry – the Longines Conquest being a perfect example. The model measures a classic 39 mm in diameter and features a chronograph display along with a date display at the 12 o’clock marker.

  Shop the Longines Conquest

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

Manufactured in a traditional yellow gold, it goes without saying that the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso is a timeless watch that has remained relevant and elegant in over 8 decades of history. The model was originally introduced in 1931 for polo players, featuring an innovative design which allows its wearer to swivel the case out from its carrier and turn it over, thus protecting the watch dial and glass from any shocks or cracks during a polo match. Today, the Reverso can be worn by men and women alike. This beautiful model features a 20 mm case and is paired with an elegant black leather strap.

Shop the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

Glashütte Original Senator

Much like our previous pick, the Glashütte Original Senator is manufactured in a classic yellow gold. The timepiece features a distinctive craftsmanship and caters to the strictest quality standards. An interesting fact about Glashütte Original: the majority of the timepieces from the brand are manufactured in-house at up to 95%, which is rarely seen in the watchmaking world today. This beautiful pre-owned model features an exquisite moon phase and date indicator, while the bezel of the watch is forged in an impeccable coin-edged form.

Shop the Glashütte Original Senator

Omega Speedmaster

Evidently, we here at CHRONEXT are unable to forge any type of watch list without including the legendary Omega Speedmaster. The reference M0146 is comprised of a red gold, which is like Rose gold, but with a much higher copper content. While Omega knows how to stay true to its classic designs, the manufacture also places a great deal on continually improving quality, precision, and functionality to the highest standard. Perhaps that is why we can thank the manufacture for innovations such as Sedna and Cera gold. While the latter is a combination of ceramic and 18k gold, Sedna is a combination of gold, copper, and palladium.

  Shop the Omega Speedmaster

Rolex Datejust 41

The Rolex Datejust 41 is the perfect example of a contemporary gold watch in today’s luxury watch industry. The timepiece pairs stainless steel and white gold seamlessly in what Rolex has coined Rolesor. Features of the compound fuse the lustrous elements of 18k white gold with the robust and sturdy features of 904L stainless steel. The watch dial features a distinguishing date indicator and Cyclops lens window along with 18k white gold hour markers and a fluted bezel.

Shop the Rolex Datejust
Nour Abraham

by Nour Abraham

Nour is an enthusiastic watch lover who hails from the Canadian Rockies. She can spot a fine timepiece from miles away and identify it with the blink of an eye. Since moving to Germany and joining CHRONEXT, she has discovered a deep passion for Saxonian watchmaking and spends most of her time exploring the depths of the watch ocean.

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