Fratello Classics: My Top 5 Gold Watches


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak - goldYou may have noticed that our “Fratello” articles focus mainly on watches with stainless steel or titanium cases – and a select few with more exotic case materials such as forged carbon and bronze — and that we rarely cover gold watches. Not only can gold watches come off as too “flashy” for some, but they are also, of course, relatively expensive compared to their stainless-steel cousins. 

From where I’m writing this, in the Netherlands, a gold watch might look odd on a wrist of a young or “young-ish” person. We get a lot of cloudy days here, resulting in a relatively pale skin tone throughout the year, and we all know that pale skin and gold watches are not a good combination. All that said, I do have a list of favorite gold watches, for when I am finally ready for one — meaning the right age or the right amount of tan.

1. Omega Speedmaster Professional in Gold

I’d love to own one of these vintage gold Omega Speedmaster Pro commemorative Apollo XI models with the hand-wound, Lemania-based Caliber 861 movement. Only 1,014 have been made and the first 40 pieces went to NASA astronauts and members of the White House. More information can be found here.

Omega Speedmaster Professional - gold - on wrist

2. Rolex Day-Date

Perhaps the most famous gold watch ever? The Rolex Day-Date might be just that. It was quite surprising when Rolex introduced a couple of new 36-mm Day-Date models with straps last year at Baselworld (click here), but I would opt for one with the famous “President” bracelet.

 

Rolex Day-Date - gold

 

3. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in Gold

Although Audemars Piguet’s original idea (as brought to life by watch designer Gérald Genta) was to create a luxury sports watch in stainless steel, the company eventually decided to also make them in gold. Its slim and iconic case design looks particularly sophisticated when crafted from gold. Click here for a small collection of Génta-designed watches that joined me during a gathering of watch fans.

 

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak - gold

 

4. A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1

This coming October, the Lange 1 will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. I did not realize this until recently, but it makes the Lange 1 one of the youngest “iconic” watches around. Except for a very small batch of Lange 1 watches that were made in steel almost 20 years ago, the Lange 1 is normally available only in precious metals. I love the Lange 1 in gold, as pictured. A beautiful, clean, German-built watch that comes close to perfection.

 

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 - gold - on wrist

 

5. Breva Genie 01

I called the Breva Génie collection mechanical smart watches, as they do many intelligent things besides indicating time. Basically, the Breva Génie 01 is a mechanical weather station on the wrist. The Génie 01 in rose gold is one of the most interesting watches I experienced during my recent Baselworld visits.

 

Breva Genie 01- rose gold

What do you think? Is the combination of “sporty” and “gold” ever advisable on a watch? Let me know what you think in the comments section below, and we’ll see you next Fratello Friday!

This article was originally posted on March 7, 2014 and has been updated with new content.

22 Responses to “Fratello Classics: My Top 5 Gold Watches”

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  1. George Grossberg

    The Breguet Transatlantique in Rose Gold with gold band and black dial is extremely attractive.

    Reply
  2. Given a gold, yet contemporary, I quite like the Panerai 598, what is your opinion?

    Reply
  3. Larry S.

    Looked at Patek, GP, Rolex, Lange….Chose a JLC Master Calendar in Rose Gold. Nice watch, understated with fine movement, great reputation and better value, not as nice finishing but it makes me happy. (Not buying it as an investment) …My one gold watch.

    Reply
  4. Ancon Harpy

    When I hear “gold watch” I picture one with a gold bracelet. I would have included the Omega DeVille on your list as well as the other “dress” Rolex; the equally iconic Datejust with the Jubilee bracelet. I realize that lots of folfs have issues with the brand and for various reasons. That the Day-Date and Datejust may be common, over priced, “old man” watches to many people but seldom are accused of being ugly. I have always liked the Royal Oak but AP should offer a greater variety of dial colors and hour markers. Like the guys in Geneva do.

    Reply
  5. Iwan tarmat

    Feeling happy wear 50th anniversary gmt master 2 all gold green bezel bought on July 2014 while doing my job as a professional Bell 412 EP offshore helicopter pilot

    Reply
  6. Wow Tim sure has lousy taste in watches.

    All are boring and forgettable watches.

    I don’t know what Tim means when he says “reasonable priced” but from his list he probably means “cheap” instead of “good value for the price paid”.

    Good luck to Tim if wants to start his own blog or website coz he has no taste can probably can’t take the same criticism he dishes out.

    Reply
  7. Rajnikanth

    A watch buyer re-seller near my residence has a Gold strapped Audemars Piguet on sale for $ 8,000. No case or certificate of authenticity and hence claims he is selling it for 1/3 of what it would go for. Looks very similar to the AP watch profiled here. Is it worth buying?

    I have a collection of TITAN watches – including their automatic watches which are quite appealing but priced at a fraction of the Swiss watches. I do have a Rose Gold plated Mercedes and a Tiger Woods autograph engraved Golf Link Lim Ed as part of my collection. :)!

    Reply
  8. Anthony

    I knew the Rolex Day date would be in the top 5 who does not like a Day date. I have a had few gold watches but always found i go back to a Day date.

    The Watch-Collector

    Reply
  9. Robert Harper

    A gold Rolex Day Date is nothing new. I bought my first Rolex Day Date in Toronto in 1968 with a brown alligator band. I didn’t buy the President’s band because I couldn’t afford both at the time. The cost of the band was equal to the cost of the watch. A year or so later I added the band. I still wear the watch daily and enjoy it. Interestingly the cleaning/service. costs over the years have greatly exceeded the original cost of the watch and band. Still, I love it and never tire of it even though I have a half-dozen other watches.

    Reply
  10. Amintas

    Nice article Robert.
    Maybe another interesting + challenging one would be your Top 5 Two Tone Watches

    Reply
  11. As a scuba diver growing up In Miami Beach, Fla. I bought a Rolex Submariner when It was only $250.00. Now I dive off Miami Beach, the Bahamas & the Fla. Keys Now I wear a Gold Rolex Submariner with the Blue face & It’s awesome! I wear It diving, with Jeans or Black tie. I get great comments all the time. If I wern’t a Diver, I’d wear a Patek, but I wouldn’t take that watch down 100 feet. People can say bad things about Rolex, but for a watch you wear around the Ocean, you can’t beat Rolex.

    Reply
  12. Chronoswiss Imperia black dial rose gold case should have read -beautiful Art Dco elegance withOUT being over the top.
    The Oris surprisingly has a Moonphase, Day and Date sub dials and second time zone sub dial.
    Amazing value.

    Reply
  13. Why do you always seem to pick the same boring brands. There are hundreds of other equally good brands and they never seem to get a mention. Rolex for me is an uninspiring brand chosen by the majority of people who have little knowledge of horology . The pimps brand.
    Sorry ,but let’s have a bit more imagination.

    Reply
    • Hello Tim,

      You are absolutely right. These are the brands and models that I would consider when buying a gold watch. What about your personal Top 5? Feel free to share. Again, this is my personal top 5 so I could put a lot of brands in there for the sake of putting less familiar brands in there but it would not reflect my personal taste. Hundreds of equally good brands to Patek and Audemars? Well, I am not sure if I’d agree on that but it makes me very curious about your personal picks. I also think it is a bit strange that you see Linde Werdelin as a boring brand.

      In any case, I’d like to see your personal top 5 when it comes to buying a gold watch.

      RJ

      Reply
      • First, I think Linde Werdelin is not a boring brand, but a bit over designed and unnecessarily messy. The kind of watch you could be wowed when first acquired bet quickly falls out of favour. Not much lasting power. Not my cup of tea.
        First watch –
        Chronoswiss Imperia black dial with rose gold case. Beatiful art deco elegance with being over the top.

        Girrard Peregaux Vintage 1945 white 2 way curved dial with moonphase. Classic case shape, lasting quality design.

        Kobold Soaraway diver with blue dial and rose gold case. An unlikely diver design that really works in gold.

        Van der Gang rose gold moon phase chronograph with stunning blue dial. Simply wow!!

        Last but not least Oris Big Crown Complication white dial bi metal case with rose gold bezel and dial details. Very classy and a lot of watch for your money. Black dial equally good

        That’s my choice keeping the price reasonably restrained and a couple budget bargains.

        Reply
        • Tim, I don’t know what kind of watches you own? I have owned many Rolexes including day date , Submariner, datejust, GMT etc. Every time I sell one of these watches I only lost very little money on them and I have enjoyed them very much. I m a high income executive and not a pimp. I have many friends that are professional like dentists and doctors and Rolex is their favorite watch and I m sure they can afford other brands.

          Reply
  14. Neil Kirby

    Gold really doesn’t work with sports chronographs, in my opinion, and not only because a gold watch is the last thing you should be wearing in any outdoor activity, due to its propensity to damage.

    Reply
    • Absolutely right, that is why I do ask that question in the introduction text. It scratches easily and also for the sake of the cost of such a watch. However, a gold chronograph can perfectly being used to time your cooking or to time travel times (for example). But for sports, I would not recommend that either.

      Reply
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