I’m not sure whether you can really call gold watches a passing trend. After all, Girard-Perregaux made the first solid gold wristwatch for then-German Emperor William I all the way back in 1879. Even so, there has been a sudden uptick in the number of manufacturers offering gold timepieces of late, probably due to rising demand for the precious metal. But as you well know, not all that glitters is gold. Sometimes, it’s something even better, i.e., a beautiful modern gold alloy.
While some see solid gold watches as investments that can be passed on to the next generation, others see them as fashion statements. The latter group is often satisfied with a gold-plated watch. Of course, others opt for specific gold alloys because they are intrigued by the optics or processing technology behind them.
Gold has almost always been used in alloy form in the watch industry in order to achieve the robustness necessary for a timepiece; however, in recent years, there has been a surge in manufacturer’s offering their own proprietary gold alloys. These metals are as unique as the watches themselves, and they appeal to fans due to their unique tones or extreme hardness. We aren’t talking about your average old-fashioned gold watch here. No, these are innovative timepieces made from materials fit for the modern era. Let’s dive in and discover some of the most intriguing gold alloys on the market today.
Rolex Everose Gold
Chances are if you’re interested in watches, you’ve already heard of Everose gold, Rolex‘s famous rose gold alloy. But do you know the story behind the name and why the manufacturer decided to produce it in the first place? Rose gold has long been a popular choice for watch cases. However, traditional rose gold contains a high percentage of copper, which oxidizes easily, leading to discoloration. If rose gold is exposed to salt water, sunlight, or even sweat, the copper can react in unpredictable ways. Thus, Rolex developed Everose gold, an alloy of gold, copper, and platinum. The latter component works as a binding agent and protects the alloy from discoloration. Moreover, it gives Everose gold a particular shine that lasts well, forever.
You can find Everose gold watches in several of Rolex’s model lines. Some highlights include the two-tone Datejust, the GMT II “Rootbeer,” and the Everose gold Daytona with a meteorite and black dial. The use of Everose gold adds a fresh element to each of these models. My personal favorite is the Everose gold Yacht-Master on a rubber strap. The alloy offers a beautiful contrast to the otherwise black watch. It’s the perfect combination of sporty and elegant – precisely what I love about the brand as a whole.
Omega: Sedna Gold
Omega has been using their own rose gold alloy, Sedna gold, since 2013. The alloy is also used by Blancpain, a sibling watchmaker who is likewise part of the Swatch Group. Again, the basic composition of this alloy is gold and copper, to which Omega adds palladium to boost the material’s durability. This combination of metals creates an elegant shine and is also very practical, but I think the real genius is in the name. The term “Sedna” proves just how much time and energy is put into marketing each element of a luxury timepiece.
Sedna is the name of the Inuit goddess of the sea, and thus, a quasi-patron saint of the Seamaster collection. But Sedna is also the name that was given to a dwarf planet that, according to images, has a pink hue reminiscent of the alloy itself. This link to space ties in with one of Omega’s most famous models, the Speedmaster Moonwatch, which is incidentally my favorite Sedna gold watch from the brand. The Omega Speedmaster Sedna Moonwatch blends the history of the classic Moonwatch with the intrigue of newly discovered celestial bodies. Combined with the watch’s black features, the alloy shines like a star in the night sky, begging to be admired by all. What more could you ask for from a Moonwatch?
Hublot Magic Gold
When it comes to the development of new materials, there’s no brand quite like Hublot. It’s therefore unsurprising that Hublot can count a very unique gold alloy to its name: Magic Gold. The creation of Magic Gold had very little to do with magic, however, and everything to do with two full years of intensive research and development. The results, on the other hand, are arguably pretty magical. Magic Gold is a highly scratch-resistant 18K gold alloy. It is made from a combination of gold and ceramic powder, or boron carbide to be precise. This same material is used to make bulletproof vests and armor. Fusing these two materials is made possible by a unique and extremely complex manufacturing process, meaning there are only a few hundred Magic Gold watches produced each year.
In light of this, the material is often used on special releases like the Big Bang Sang Bleu II. Created in collaboration with a famous Swiss tattoo artist, this highly coveted collector’s item is really more sculpture than watch. I’m not sure whether the near copper-colored gold alloy or the unique design stands out more, but there is no doubt that this timepiece is the perfect combination of innovative materials, beauty, and extravagance.
Hublot King Gold
Of course, there is also a rose gold alloy from Hublot, namely King Gold. Similar to Rolex, Hublot combines gold, copper, and platinum to form this alloy. According to the manufacturer, this material combination not only achieves a warmer tone, but is also ideal for creating both polished and satin-brushed finishes. This may just sound like yet another rose gold alloy, but here you really have to see it to believe it. King Gold is simply stunning! Hublot has managed to create a vibrant, fiery red hue that perfectly suits the overall brand image. The watchmaker is known for redefining the status quo, and nothing better exemplifies that than timepieces like the Classic Fusion Orlinski in King Gold.
So, has any brand come up with a rose gold alloy specifically made for diving? Why of course! Panerai’s Goldtech proves that you can combine sporty and elegance in equal measure. Their proprietary alloy is made by adding more copper than is traditionally found in rose gold. Again, platinum is also present to ensure material stability and color fastness. The resulting hue is warm, like a sunset over the open ocean. Paired with a black dial and strap, the alloy casts a classic, elegant glow. Unfortunately, there are very few models made of Goldtech in the Panerai collection at present. However, watches like the Panerai Luminor Marina Goldtech certainly leave you wanting more.
A. Lange & Söhne Honeygold
The high-end luxury watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne has been producing timepieces in Honeygold since 2010. As its name suggests, the tone of this alloy is more reminiscent of honey than traditional rose gold. That being said, it is almost a textbook example of why working with your own alloys is so difficult. There is only one foundry that is able to produce this specific alloy, and it requires a minimum order of 50 kg! If you consider that a single watch case weighs roughly 80 g, and A. Lange & Söhne only produce some 5,000 watches a year, the figures seem a bit iffy. Plus, Honeygold is even harder than pure platinum, meaning it isn’t the easiest material to work with. All things considered, it’s not surprising that this exclusive alloy is only used in a few select lines. Thankfully for all of us watch lovers out there, A. Lange & Söhne has persisted and given us stunning models like the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold. This timepiece not only represents the highest level of watchmaking art, but also the latest in materials processing. It is truly a timepiece made to last a lifetime and beyond.
Roger Dubuis EON Gold
Manufacturer Roger Dubuis is yet another player in the gold alloy game. Similar to other alloys, EON Gold from Dubuis retains its color better and shines longer than traditional golds. This doesn’t exactly make the alloy itself unique, but every watch made of EON Gold is certainly something special: They have all been awarded the Geneva Seal! A particular highlight is the Excalibur MT EON with a flying tourbillon – it’s truly second to none. I can’t even come up with words to do this watch justice; you’ll just have to gaze upon its skeletonized beauty for yourself!