Roll out the red carpet for these luxurious gold timepieces.
In ancient Rome and medieval Europe, sumptuary laws (enacted to regulate excessive spending) prohibited people from going overboard with wearing gold. Those who weren’t part of the noble family couldn’t even think about wrapping their wrist in gold, as it was reserved for those born with a silver spoon in their mouth—the elite and royalty. The inherent value of gold makes it synonymous with luxury and prestige.
Back in the day, before stainless steel entered the scene, gold reigned supreme in the world of watches with its gorgeous color and resistance to corrosion. It’s no wonder, then, that gold continues to play a starring role in luxury timepieces. Leading luxury watch brands, including Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, Rolex, Cartier and Chopard, are serving up some of the most coveted gold watches in the world that money can buy.
If you’re on the hunt for a gold timepiece, you’re in the right place, as you’re about to meet three top-notch gold wristwatches that will truly make heads turn.
Cartier Tank Louis Cartier in yellow gold ref. WGTA0091
Image courtesy of Cartier
First created by Louis Cartier in 1917, the Tank Louis Cartier watch made a comeback in Cartier’s releases for Watches and Wonders 2022. Among the five new Tanks on the scene, including three precious-metal Tank Louis Cartier and two Tank Must models, the one in yellow gold and black is stealing the show and making waves in the lineup.
This iconic timepiece meticulously marries three opulent shades—gold, black and sapphire. As a large model, the watch sports a 33.7 mm x 25.5 mm case crafted from exquisite 18K yellow gold. The lustrous yellow gold artfully frames the black lacquer dial, where the golden-finish steel sword-shaped hands claim the spotlight. Adding a touch of elegance, the timepiece boasts a beaded crown adorned with sapphire. Beneath the surface, the watch is powered by the tonneau-shaped 1917 MC mechanical movement with manual winding. With a slim profile of under 3 mm in thickness, the movement can keep the watch ticking for 38 hours on full wind.
Now, ditching the hour markers adds a touch of minimalism to the watch, but it makes reading the exact time a bit of a guessing game. So, if you’re in a line of work where every tick and tock counts, the Tank Louis Cartier watch might not be for you.
The Tank Louis Cartier watch is currently listed at US$12,800.
Patek Philippe Calatrava in yellow gold ref. 5227J-001
Image courtesy of Patek Philippe
When it comes to the world of dress watches, there’s no denying that Patek Philippe’s Calatrava is a cut above the rest. Sporting a 39 mm case, this wristwatch boasts a cream 12-layered lacquer dial that serves as the ideal canvas to showcase the time in all its glory, with a date window perched at the 3 o’clock position. Enclosing a sapphire case back protected by a hinged gold dustcover, the integrated Officer’s Style case back can be opened to reveal the heart of the watch—the automatic caliber 324 SC movement. The inside of the dustcover featured the iconic “Patek Philippe” and PP Hallmark engraving in the first series, but now they’ve stepped aside to make room for customers to leave their own mark.
Comprised of 238 parts in total, the 324 SC movement is decked out with a Gyromax balance wheel and Spiromax balance spring, optimizing the rate of the movement and contributing to the watch’s accuracy, respectively. With a wavering weight produced from 21K gold, the timepiece can keep ticking for 45 hours.
The Calatrava watch is currently listed at US$40,220.
Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 ref. 4200H/222J-B935
Image courtesy of Vacheron Constantin
At long last, we’ve arrived at the final timepiece on our roster—the one that truly highlights gold in every sense of the word. Debuted in 1977 as the predecessor to the Historiques 222, the 222 was crafted to celebrate Vacheron Constantin’s 222nd anniversary. The celebratory timepiece was discontinued seven years later, in 1984. Meanwhile, the timeless design of the 222 was given a new lease on life when it was adapted for another sports watch model under the brand, the Overseas, in 1996. What caught Vacheron Constantin’s fans off guard is that the brand unveiled the Historiques 222 at Watches and Wonders 2022—a meticulous re-creation of the vintage 222 model.
The Historiques 222 isn’t just making a comeback but leveling up with some subtle yet substantial upgrades to both its bracelet and dial. The distinctive, hexagonal-link integrated bracelet has become more ergonomic, while the dial has been graced with a touch of gold, which makes the 18K yellow gold hour markers and hands, and the date window more prominent. The major difference between the revamped Historiques 222 and the original is the movement. The original model adopted the ultra-thin caliber 1121 (technically known as Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 920)—present in both Patek Philippe’s Nautilus and Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak. Vacheron Constantin has pulled out all the stops and ultimately integrated its in-house caliber 2455/2 into the Historiques 222, which is 3.6 mm thick and boasts a 40-hour power reserve.
The Historiques 222 is available only at Vacheron Constantin boutiques and is listed at US$69,000.
Owning gold watches is not only a dream come true for many, but their rarity compared to stainless steel ones also ensures they are worth their weight in gold down the road. Of course, when it comes to luxury watch investments, there are other options to choose from on the market, such as Rolex GMT-Master II (ref. 16710), IWC Ingenieur SL “Jumbo” (ref. 1832) and Cartier Santos (ref. W2SA0006), to name a few. All things considered, if you’re considering adding some gold timepieces to your horological ensemble, you can’t go wrong with any of the options we’ve noted above.
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