One of the enduring riddles of the watch world is the fact that certain sport watches in stainless steel fetch more—often much more—on the secondary market than their counterparts in gold (here’s looking at you, Rolex).
That, however, may soon change. Not since the 1980s have gold wristwatches been so fashionable. Some of that trendiness probably stems from the general flight to tangible assets that we’ve seen during the pandemic. But there’s another likely reason: Over the past six months, Swiss watchmakers have turned out some of their best work in the yellow metal.
Witness the parade of handsome timepieces decked out in yellow and rose gold for proof that the comeback is real. From A. Lange & Söhne’s serious—and seriously chic—Triple Split to Zenith’s sporty Chronomaster, the Swiss watch industry’s embrace of the precious metal is one of the stories that emerged over the course of the pandemic, and appears here to stay.
A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split
When the prestige German watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne introduced the Triple Split in 2018, the model was hailed as the “ultimate chronograph” for its ability to measure single and additive times, an unlimited number of intermediate and reference times, and two concurrently started events that last as long as 12 hours to an accuracy of one-sixth of a second. Earlier this year, at Watches and Wonders Geneva, the brand introduced a redux edition in a 43 mm pink gold case with a deep blue dial. The model’s feat of timekeeping—made possible by its triple split-seconds mechanism for seconds, minutes, and hours—is matched only by its striking good looks. The edition is limited to 100 pieces.
Omega Seamaster 300
The Seamaster is one of Omega’s most iconic sport watches. A dive watch introduced in 1957, it was originally intended for underwater professionals, but the recently revamped Seamaster 300 range works just as well on dry land, for a weekend beach retreat or a board meeting. The bronze gold edition released earlier this year—made of a unique bronze alloy developed for its soft pink hue—is a certified master chronometer powered by Omega’s signature coaxial calibre 8912.
Rolex Datejust 36
The classic starter Rolex—the Oyster Perpetual Datejust, introduced in 1945—now comes in a sophisticated yet sporty Oystersteel and yellow gold combination with an eye-catching golden dial. The 36 mm case, on Rolex’s signature Jubilee bracelet, is a perfect example of the two-tone trend that the Geneva maker went all in on this year. (Exhibit A: the updated Explorer, also encased in Oystersteel and yellow gold.)
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon
Unveiled in April, the new all-pink gold version of the Overseas Tourbillon (following on the heels of the 2019 steel edition) is a deluxe take on Vacheron Constantin’s theme for 2021: “classic with a twist.” Housed in a 42 mm case, the complicated timepiece has a fetching blue lacquered dial, an ultrathin mechanical self-winding movement with a tourbillon (calibre 2160 boasts a peripheral rotor and 80-hour power reserve), and three interchangeable bracelet/straps, including a glam pink gold bracelet, a dressy blue Mississippiensis alligator leather strap, and a sporty blue rubber option.
Zenith Chronomaster Sport
Zenith rolled out its new Chronomaster Sport collection in January, capitalizing on the name recognition and fame of the El Primero 3600 chronograph caliber that powers the timepieces. In May, the brand updated the line with a new execution in a 41 mm rose gold case paired with a black ceramic bezel and black calfskin strap. Sure, the watch has the ability to mark each passing one-tenth of a second, but it’s the model’s contemporary aesthetic that has us swooning.
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