By TLex Time was when even the mention of a gold watch would make me cringe; conjuring up images of middle aged men with too much cash, dubious types whose necks and fingers dripped with gold, or the shoddy gold watch given to some poor old codger who gave his life and soul to his company for 25years. I could never see myself ever considering a gold watch let alone buying one. Too much bling-bling! But times have changed and the way gold is being used in watch making has changed too.
Nowadays watchmakers are doing some fantastic things with gold. Brushed, satin and matte finishes take place of highly polished cases and diving bezels once studded with diamonds are now functional. And the grain of the metal is an aesthetic feature of the watch case.
Subtle, understated, industrial, toolish; not vocabulary usually associated with gold watch making. Gold is being used to compliment other materials such as steel, titanium, tantalum, carbon fiber or PVD and DLC coated metals. Shiny gold bracelets are giving way to sporty looking rubber or Kevlar straps.
When I think of sports watches gold doesn't immediately come to mind let alone dive watches but modern day watchmakers are pushing the boundaries of what is possible with this precious metal further and further and are now doing incredible and tasteful things with it.
There are dive watches like the BLANCPAIN 'Fifty Fathoms' that have a respectable 300m depth rating and the OMEGA Planet Ocean 'Red Gold' which is 600m rated, or more extreme divers such as the Bell & Ross BR02 'Gold Carbon' or Girard-Perregaux Seahawk II Pro that can withstand pressures from depths up to 1000m. All made from gold. So, does gold have a new image and are more people warming towards gold and its use in serious dive watch construction?
Whatever the answer may be. One thing about gold and watch making that has remained constant is the cost, it's still very expensive. So are the prices really justified? If gold were more affordable would more of us own a gold pieces? I know I would. What are the alternatives? Companies like ANONIMO are using bronze, which can give some of the look and feel of gold, but at a fraction of the prize of 18kt gold divers.
Here are a few of the very latest offerings in gold from some of the best watchmakers out there. I noticed that pink / rose gold seems to be favored. Enjoy . . .
MONTBLANC Sport Chronograph Tantalum Automatic
PAUL PICO Le Plongeur Chrono LE
VOLNA Typhoon Siberia SPGI
AQUANAUTIC Diving Tourbillon Monopusher
HARRY WINSTON Ocean Diver
MANGUSTA Supermeccanica Sottomarino
OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph
BLANCPAIN Fifty Fathoms
BALNCPAIN Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon
BELL & ROSS BR02
Girard-Perregaux SEAHAWK II Pro Tourbillon
PARMIGIANI Fleuer 'One One Five' Pershing Chronograph
VULCAIN Cricket Diver X-Treme
ULYSSE NARDIN Maxi Marine Diver Chronograph
ZENITH Defy Xtreme 'Stealth Elite' Open
ROGER DUBUIS Easy Diver Chronograph
JORG HYSEK Ocean Explorer