Tacky, showy, outdated, in questionable taste – not so long ago gold watches used to be all of these things and more. However watch design has evolved to the point where, while still a bold statement, sporting a gold timepiece can be a next-level style move.
"It is interesting to note that before the 1970s, almost all timepieces were only produced in gold," David Lee, General Manager of Watches at StockX, the live bid/ask luxury marketplace backed by Eminem and Mark Wahlberg, tells us. "But with advances in stainless steel production and milling methods, that became the go-to case metal for many watch wearers."
The rise of hip-hop "kept the dream of gold watches alive," and gradually they found their way to the mainstream, especially as rose gold with its more subtle coloring came into fashion.
"Gold watches are no longer perceived as too old, too flashy or too gaudy," Lee says. "As the perceptions of luxury and fashion have shifted, the popularity of gold watches has grown in leaps and bounds."
Here Lee and Maxim's own Keith Gordon give us their top picks:
1. Bell & Ross BR-X1 Tourbillon Rose Gold
Gordon calls this watchmaking tour de force "a stunning example of engineering brilliance" in Maxim's latest issue. "At a price of $188,000, it’s just as much an investment as a luxury item, but unlike your 401(k) or a piece of artwork, the BR-X1 Tourbillon offers as much style as substance."
2. Hublot Big Bang Meca-10 Full Magic Gold
Gordon notes this Hublot Big Bang is "attention-grabbing from a distance and mesmerizing up close, with its face allowing a look at the internal mechanisms that operate this wrist-bound stunner." And with only 200 units being produced, "it’s not only beautiful and functional, it’s a collectors’ item" as well at $34K.
3. Rolex Daytona Ref. 116515 Rose Gold
The Daytona is of course the holy grail of sports watches. It's much rarer and more fashion-forward in rose gold, though this reference which retains the ceramic bezel and has a rubber strap to boot gives it a rugged edge as well, which makes it one of Lee's faves. Expect to pay at least $25,000 for one.
4. IWC Portuguese Chronograph
This rather conservative offering from IWC gets a major upgrade in gold, set off beautifully by the brown alligator strap and making it one of Lee's go-tos. The least ostentatious watch on the list, it exudes a subtle air of wealth and success but retains the model's practical origins. Low asks start at $16,940.
5. AP Royal Oak Rose Gold
The likes of Jay-Z and LeBron James are gold Royal Oak wearers, and there's something attractively old school about the design which hasn't been altered much from the '70s, earning it a spot on Lee's list. Low asks for this model on StockX start at just over $18,000, but it's definitely a solid investment for serious collectors.