The Return of the Gold Wristwatch



Whether the fall of 2020 is the right time in history to sport a gold wristwatch depends on whom you ask. The marketplace just welcomed three new models encased in the metal—two in yellow gold and one in pink—suggesting that the Swiss are channeling 1980s style, current events be damned.

Below, we profile the newest editions, all decidedly more dapper and contemporary than their retro predecessors in large part due to their sleek rubber or quasi-rubber straps.

Rolex Sky-Dweller

 

Rolex Sky Dweller 2020
Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller in 42 mm 18k gold case, $40,000

Rolex’s hotly anticipated 2020 collection of new Oyster Perpetual watches includes a subtle update to the snazzy Sky-Dweller, the Geneva watchmaker’s most complicated piece. Now available on an Oysterflex bracelet, which features an Oysterclasp and the easy-to-resize Rolex Glidelock extension system, the 42 mm model comes in 18k yellow gold as well as the brand’s proprietary Everose gold.

True to the brand’s long-standing reputation for evolution over revolution, the updated Sky-Dweller is equipped with the same movement that was introduced in 2012, the in-house caliber 9001, which features both dual time and annual calendar functionality.

“While a ‘strap change’ might not seem like the most thrilling thing in the world, these new watches look very cool,” Hodinkee’s Danny Milton wrote in a review of the watch. No doubt, Rolex’s legions of fans would agree.

Hublot Classic Fusion 40 Years Anniversary

Hublot Classic Fusion 40th anniversary gold watch
Classic Fusion 40 Years Anniversary in 45 mm 18k gold case, $25,200

Forty years ago, the Italian entrepreneur Carlo Crocco founded the Swiss watch brand Hublot on a daring vision: His first model was a luxury gold timepiece on a natural rubber strap.

Initially derided by the Swiss establishment, the watch went on to build an elite following (King Juan Carlos of Spain was an early fan) and pave the way for the brand’s signature marriage of disparate materials, aptly named the “Art of Fusion.”

Now, the brand is paying homage to that pivotal design with trio of 40th-anniversary models in titanium, black ceramic, and, naturally, 18k yellow gold.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Self-Winding

Vacheron Constantin Overseas gold bracelet watch
Overseas Self-Winding in 41 mm pink gold case, $46,200

Vacheron Constantin’s long-running Overseas collection owes its existence to the mania for luxury sports watches that kicked off in the 1970s, beginning with the 1972 introduction of the game-changing Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet. In 1977, Vacheron introduced the 222, named for the brand’s founding 222 years prior. Relaunched in 1996 as the Overseas, and redesigned in 2016, the line continues to expand with new references, including the Overseas Self-Winding, a three-hand model with a blue dial that premiered at Watches & Wonders Shanghai earlier this month.

Now offered on a full pink gold bracelet in addition to the alligator leather and blue rubber straps that come with its interchangeable strap system, the self-winding model comes in a 41 mm case and features a blue-lacquered dial with a date window at 3 o’clock.

Top: The original gold and rubber Hublot model, circa 1980

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JCK Magazine Editor