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TOP
Rolex Vintage Chrono pre Daytona ref. 4062 art. R1253
$24,024
Verified Dealer
355
IT
TOP
Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph Rose Gold Leather Strap...
$109,500
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
182
US
TOP
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Champagne Dial Steel and 18K Yellow
$19,689
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
1165
US
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm Rose Gold Brown...
$47,499
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
182
US
TOP
Corum 371.201.59/0F01 TR08
$69,990
Verified Dealer
19
US
TOP
Patek Philippe Complications World Time 5131J-001
$104,500
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
560
US
TOP
Rolex 18K Day Date 18248 Factory Onyx Serti Dial Box and Papers
$22,500
Verified Dealer
 
US
TOP
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712 White & Rose Gold 2014 UNWORN
$63,000
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
548
US
TOP
Patek Philippe 5146 Annual Calendar White Gold Automatic Mens...
$49,995
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
11
US
Girard Perregaux Vintage 1945 Chronograph Watch 25990.0.51.1151
$7,700
Verified Dealer
95
US
TOP
Ulysse Nardin : Freak II 28,800 : 020-88 : 18k White Gold
$28,790
Verified Dealer
396
US
Cartier W2020019 Santos 100 Flying Tourbillon XL in Rose Gold
$75,000
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
20
US
TOP
Patek Philippe 5524G Calatrava Pilot Travel Time
$42,500
Verified Dealer
223
US
TOP
Breguet Marine Tourbillon
$69,990
Verified Dealer
19
US
TOP
TAG Heuer Grand Carrera Tag Rose box/original receipt
$8,500
Verified Dealer
21
US
TOP
Rolex 18K Yellow Oyster Perpetual Day Date with Lapis Lazuli Dial
$26,250
Verified Dealer
 
US
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 44mm Rose Camo NEW 26401RO....
$51,500
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
548
US
TOP
Breguet Type XX Transatlantique
$14,995
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
263
US
TOP
Rolex Day-Date 36 President White Arabic Jubilee Dial Boxes Books
$18,780
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
52
US
TOP
Ulysse Nardin : GMT± Perpetual : 320-60/60 : 18k White Gold
$16,430
Verified Dealer
396
US
Breguet Classique Complications Tourbillon Chrono 3577 Yellow...
$48,000
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
20
US
Patek Philippe Ref 5117g 5117 18k White Gold Calatrava With...
$17,500
Verified Dealer
 
US
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph
$119,990
Verified Dealer
19
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
$37,400
Verified Dealer
 
US
TOP
Rolex Cellini
$9,250
Verified Dealer
 
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre LeCoultre Memovox 18k gold
$5,695
Free shipping
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US
TOP
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar
$38,995
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
263
US
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date Boxes Papers RARE 18kt Gold Blue Dial Bezel
$21,537
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
52
US
TOP
Rolex Date Just 6827
$6,300
Verified Dealer
6
UK
Roger Dubuis La Monegasque Limited Edition Casino Chronograph...
$16,500
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
20
US
Patek Philippe Ref 5117 J Calatrava 18k Yellow Gold Men's...
$16,900
Verified Dealer
 
US
Maitres Du Temps Chapter 2
$25,990
Verified Dealer
19
US
Breitling K56121.1
$18,500
Verified Dealer
5
US
TOP
Cartier Paris 18K Rose Gold Cintree Tonneau Dual Time Watch
$21,500
Verified Dealer
 
US
Seiko Brightz Cotton Club Chronograph LE
$3,000
Free shipping
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US
TOP
Patek Philippe World Time
$33,995
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
263
US
TOP
Rolex Day-Date 36 President Factory Champagne Diamond Dial Box...
$14,854
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
52
US
TOP
Patek Philippe LE Millennium – Ref 5100RG - 10 days power reserve
$33,995
Verified Dealer
84
US
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Rose Gold Like New
$16,750
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
20
US
Patek Philippe Ref 5110 J World Time 18k White Gold With Box...
$26,500
Verified Dealer
 
US
Dewitt Academia Minute Repeater
$59,990
Verified Dealer
19
US
Panerai Special Editions
$19,800
Verified Dealer
5
US
TOP
Rolex 18028 Day-Date President with Factory Onyx Dial
$21,500
Verified Dealer
 
US
Corum 15g 24k Ingot Manual Wind Collectible
$2,900
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
 
US
TOP
Richard Mille RM 030
$149,995
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
263
US
TOP
Rolex Day-Date 36 President Morellis Blue Diamond Dial Box Papers
$13,858
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
52
US
Rolex Datejust 116189 MOP
$12,500
Verified Dealer
67
US
Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars "Equation of Time" (26003OR.00....
$45,000
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
20
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 18k Rose Gold Ref 25940ok.o...
$25,500
Verified Dealer
 
US
BADOLLET Tourbillon Chronograph
$49,900
Verified Dealer
19
US
Panerai Radiomir 8 Days
$20,500
Verified Dealer
5
US
TOP
Rolex Daytona Gold FullSet NOS (C24-123)
$46,800
Verified Dealer
9
US
Omega Seamaster DeVille Tiffany & Co
$2,160
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
 
US
TOP
Ball Trainmaster One Hundred Twenty
$4,495
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
263
US
TOP
Rolex Lady-President DateJust 26 Factory Diamond Dial Bezel Boxes
$9,861
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
52
US
Breguet Classique Retrograde Seconds 5207BB/12/9V6
$11,500
Verified Dealer
67
US
Cartier BALLON BLEU DE CARTIER 36MM ROSE GOLD DIAMOND BEZEL...
$23,900
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
20
US
Patek Philippe Ref 5230 G / 5230g-001 World Time 18k White...
$37,500
Verified Dealer
 
US
BADOLLET TOURBILLON SINGLE BUTTON CHRONOGRAPH
$49,900
Verified Dealer
19
US
IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar
$19,400
Verified Dealer
5
US
TOP
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Stainless Steel / MOP Diamonds -...
$25,279
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
1165
US
Longines Vintage
$1,895
Free shipping
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US
TOP
Bulgari Diagono
$3,995
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
263
US
Fabergé Faberge Agathon Limited Edition to 25
$11,950
Verified Dealer
74
US
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Gold Watches: Elegant and Valuable

A gold watch is the epitome of luxury. For thousands of years, this precious metal has been a symbol of permanence and wealth. Most gold watches are elegant dress watches, though some have a sportier design.

Features

  • 18-karat or 750 gold indicates it's 75% gold
  • 14-karat gold or 585 gold is less common
  • Many gold-electroplated vintage watches
  • Watches with modern PVD coating are in the lower price range
  • Some manufacturers offer their own alloys such as Everose or Sedna gold

Gold Cases: The Mixture Makes the Difference

When gold comes to mind, people most often think of yellow gold. However, many types of gold are used in the watch industry, such as white, pink, and red gold . There are also in-house alloys made by manufacturers like Omega's Sedna gold and Rolex's Everose, both red gold alloys. A unique alloy is Hublot's Magic Gold, which combines yellow gold and ceramic, making it extremely scratch resistant.

Technically, a timepiece can only be considered a gold watch if the case is made of solid gold . However, you can count watches in a lower price range as well, as their cases are made of stainless steel which is then coated in gold.

A gold watch is almost always produced from an metal alloy. Pure gold, which you find in the form of coins or bars available for purchase, is used to plate the surfaces of cases made of a different material. As it's relatively soft, some manufacturers mix it with other metals in-house in order to make it harder and more scratch resistant or to give it another hue.

A value of one karat means that the material is composed of 1/24th gold. Pure gold is thus 24 karat. Watch cases with the highest percentage of gold are 18-karat cases , a value equal to 750 gold. The 750 represents the percentage of pure gold out of 1,000. In a 750 alloy, 75% of the material is pure gold, while the rest consists of other metals. Silver and copper are mixed together with yellow gold. The amount varies, however, in order to slightly change the tone of the yellow gold.

Red and pink gold have a much larger percentage of copper than silver, which gives the gold its reddish-pinkish hue. White gold, on the other hand, has more silver than copper. Particularly valuable 18-karat white gold watches are made with an alloy containing platinum or palladium.

Cases made of 14-karat gold (585 gold) can also be found, although most manufacturers offer 18-karat gold watches today. This applies to watches in both mid and upper price ranges, such as those from Longines, Maurice Lacroix, and Tissot.

Some manufacturers use gold-colored coatings that resemble gold, but are actually something else entirely. The most common of these methods uses a PVD (physical vapor deposition) coating. During this process, the coating is applied via vacuum deposition. PVD coatings can also be made of gold and are regarded as very scratch resistant.

An alternative is electroplating gold on stainless steel cases. The gold layer is very thin; 20 microns is the norm. One micron is 1/1,000th of a millimeter. The gold plating is either 18 or 24-karat gold and prone to scratches, but can be redone if necessary. The PVD method has grown in popularity in recent years, so you will most frequently encounter electroplated watches in the vintage market.

Buying Advice

If you want to buy a gold watch, then you should pay attention to the karats. An 18-karat gold watch is an 18-karat gold watch, regardless of the manufacturer.

The price difference between gold and stainless steel versions of the same watch can be quite considerable. A stainless steel Rolex Submariner with a date display costs about 7,000 euros new, while a yellow gold version in the same condition costs 21,000 euros.

The price and value of an 18-karat gold watch also depends on the price of gold. The market price varies, but has usually been over $1,000 for one troy ounce (31 grams) of gold over the last few years. In the summer of 2011, it shot up to around $1,900. It is unlikely that the price will drop below $1,000. The price of gold watches has gone up simply due to their material worth. In the 1990s, the price was still oscillating between $300 and $400. Since gold also functions as a replacement currency in crisis situations, gold watches are a relatively secure investment. In the worst case, the watch retains value based on the weight of its gold. For this to be the case, however, one should imagine that times are tough and the gold price is thus very high.

Normally, the collector's value and the manufacturer's reputation play a deciding role in determining the price of a timepiece. Gold watches from an independent manufacturer powered by in-house calibers cost the most. Rolex's Submariner isn't the only expensive gold watch they offer. Other series have gold models, such as the Daytona or the Day-Date. The Day-Date is offered with a white gold, yellow gold, or Everose alloy, and the cases are available in many different sizes.

The story is similar with Omega. Their diving watch Seamaster is available in 18-karat gold, and the company offers a large selection of gold watches in their De Ville collection.

Patek Philippe is the ultimate manufacturer of gold watches. No other renowned Swiss manufacturer relies so much on the precious metal like the Genevan family business. The Calatrava is Patek Philippe's most classic series.

Patek Philippe is one of the few manufacturers who doesn't only make the case out of gold, but important parts of the movement as well. A good example is the rotor of an automatic movement, which is often decorated with engravings. Rolex also uses white gold indices - even on the models with a stainless steel case. Not just for aesthetic reasons, either: Gold doesn't tarnish.

Swiss Dominance

According to tradition, the first solid gold wristwatch was made by Girad-Perregaux and was delivered to the German Emperor William I in 1879. Now, around 500,000 gold watches are produced each year, with 90% of them being made in Switzerland. Rolex plays a prominent role in this, as they alone produce 200,000 of these gold watches. In one year, Rolex produces around 800,000 watches, making gold watches a quarter of their total production. The company produces cases in their own foundry. Gold plays an even more important role for the luxury manufacturer Patek Philippe, however. Gold watches dominate Patek's portfolio; there are only a few stainless steel models available. Usually, it's the other way around. Gold remains an expensive exception for most companies. A popular compromise is to create a bicolor watch, where parts of the case and bracelet are made of stainless steel and others of gold. Rolex calls this Rolesor.