Finding the best gold watches can be a challenge, but this guide should help you navigate the labyrinth of gold types, carats, and various luxury brands.
Watches can be manufactured using several materials, including:
- Stainless steel
Some watches use a combination of materials or pair a contrasting strap and case combo. A watch with a gold case and leather strap can be just as appealing as one with a gold bracelet.
Other materials are commonly used in watchmaking for durable components and dials.
Never Going Out Of Style: Gold Watches
The use of gold in watches has typically been for aesthetic purposes.
The first gold watches date back to between 1533 and 1603 and were created for Queen Elizabeth I. They were adorned with emeralds, pearls, and other precious stones.
Because golden watches have always been considered a status symbol, they are eternally popular.
Gold was originally used in wristwatches for its resistance to corrosion, which made it a popular choice for marine chronometers.
The desirability of materials also began to make gold more popular, and a watch made of gold became synonymous with prosperity and style.
The introduction of other materials gave consumers a greater choice in the luxury watch market. It may have seemed that gold’s popularity was waning, but it was just that the choice of stylish materials was getting broader. Other popular materials used in high-end watch-making include:
The increasing price of gold in the 1980s and the ground-breaking technology of the digital age saw the demand for golden watches decline.
Even during these times, however, gold watches remained popular among some watch enthusiasts and never dropped off completely.
As discerning enthusiasts explore the new and vintage watch markets, gold is proving to be as popular as ever.
What You Need To Know About The Gold In Gold Watches
The type of gold used for a watch will determine its value. The various golds used include:
Yellow gold is typically created using zinc, copper, and silver and is the closest gold color to pure gold.
Yellow gold seemed to be losing its appeal but appeared to be bursting back on the scene. Once seen as too bold and garish, the distinctive color is set to make a strong comeback in 2023.
Rose gold is a mixture of copper and pure gold. The copper used gives it a slight red hue, hence the name.
RC watches Investment guides, Rose gold is also sometimes known as red or pink gold. The amount of copper in the gold affects the colour and determines how red the metal is.
This type of gold was particularly popular in the 19th century in Russia, and also used to be known as Russian gold.
White gold is typically created by mixing gold with a combination of silver, palladium, and nickel. The proportions of these additional materials have different effects on the gold; a higher nickel content makes the alloy stronger, for example.
According to RC Watches Investment, to create a softer metal that is better for setting gemstones, a higher proportion of palladium would be suitable.
Rhodium plating is typically used on white gold items to give them colour and additional protection.
Gold-plated watches are made from different materials that are coated in a thin layer of gold. A gold-plated watch is an affordable alternative to a more expensive timepiece – the stylish appearance of a gold accessory with a less intimidating price tag.
Exclusive watch brands don’t use gold plating, as it is not a long-lasting, high-quality production method.
Gold-filled watches use the same concept as gold-plated options. The main difference is that gold-filled watches typically have a thicker layer of gold.
Bi-colour watches combine gold with other materials, like titanium or stainless steel. White gold and yellow gold can be used to create contrast in a timepiece’s case.
Solid gold watches are the real deal. While there are many great alternatives, a solid gold accessory is the most costly option you can buy.
The quality of gold is determined by its carat count, but don’t be fooled by thinking the higher the carat, the better the watch.
A carat is a ratio that determines the gold proportion in an alloy. This proportion is rated out of 24 and the purest form of gold is 24ct.
According to RC Watches Investment, Lower proportions can be better suited to watchmaking, as gold is a relatively soft metal that can be easily damaged.
18ct gold watches signify an alloy ratio of 18 parts gold out of 24. They are more durable than pure gold alternatives but still contain a high gold ratio.
The most commonly used carat ratios in watch-making are 18ct, 22ct, and 24ct.
Other Materials Used for Luxury Gold Watches
Watch manufacturers use other precious materials to make different components of their devices stand out. Diamonds and gems are often used for decorative purposes and give a watch an even greater elegance.
The use of coloured gemstones can create a huge demand. Rolex Rainbow watches, for example, use coloured sapphires for an incredible ombré effect. Because it is extremely difficult to get the perfect colour gemstones, these watches are incredibly rare and sought after.
Other precious metals, such as platinum or titanium, are used in bi-coloured watches to add contrast to a design.
Are Luxury Gold Watches a Good Investment?
Purchasing a classic, high-end watch can be a great investment, but it’s crucial to pick the right brand and model.
Reputable brands include:
- Patek Philippe
- F.P Journe
- Richard Mille
- Audemars Piguet
A watch’s condition makes a significant difference to the value of your investment.
One of the main benefits of using these accessories as investments is that the value of the material will typically remain high. The rarity of a specific timepiece and particular brand adds value, says RC Watches Investment.
Apart from the brand and materials, a watch’s worth also depends on the movement (or calibre). From a practical point of view, the general consensus is that quartz is more accurate, but most luxury watches are mechanical; either automatic or manual.
Which Brands Are Renowned for Their Gold Watches?
One way to purchase your ideal watch is to explore manufacturers’ back catalogues and join waiting lists for new releases from top brands.
Here is a breakdown of some of the top brands and their best gold watches:
Patek Philippe, founded in 1839, is recognised as being one of the best and oldest watch manufacturers in the world.
Their great selection of watches has found its way onto the wrists of royalty and dignitaries.
Patek Philippe primarily uses rose gold in their watches and haven’t produced a yellow-gold Aquanaut or Nautilus model for some time.
In 2022, the brand discontinued its 7511 Nautilus, much to the dismay of their customers. It is possible to get your hands on one of these rarities, but the waiting list is more than eight years.