The Best Gold Watches Project Power and Elegance

A gold watch will light up your wrist.
IMAGE Audemars Piguet, Rolex, Patek Philippe

You know what you’re doing when you wear a gold watch. A ticker hewn from the metal of kings tells the world who you are (or who you want to be): a man who is important, a man who is loaded, or a man who has enough balls to say that you are important and loaded.


The Yellow Gold Watch Is a Celebration of Triumph and Success

Why You Should Wear a Yellow Gold Watch Right Now

With a gold watch, you also say that you are a man of discernment because wearing one is tricky. A wrist band of incandescent light can make a carefully assembled outfit look lopsided or weird or gaudy. There are many dangers, really. The trick, of course, is choosing the right gold watch, one that projects power but keeps things safely within the vicinity of tastefulness.

Here, we survey the beloved designs of the most storied watch houses and consider, too, all manner of gold, including the mighty flash of yellow, the warmth of rose, and the soft power of pink, to come up with our picks for the best gold watches to wrap around your wrist.


Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40 in Yellow Gold


Photo by Rolex.

For many, a Rolex watch is a symbol of success, and what else can spell the triumph of, say, an Instagram cookie empire than a Rolex dressed in the unapologetic brilliance of yellow gold? To balance the flash, turn to the Day-Date, an understated model whose white face only tells the time plus the day (on top) and the date (at right). All other supporting elements are naturally refined, from the fluted bezel to the President bracelet. Yes.


Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1R in Rose Gold

Photo by Patek Philippe.

For a more patrician choice, there is the Nautilus, which comes from the watch house that believes you don’t actually own the watch you paid an arm and a leg for. “You merely look after it for the next generation,” explains Patek Philippe in its campaign. The rose gold Nautilus plays the part of beloved heirloom in this iteration marked by a gradated chocolate dial. It is as if the sports watch has been worn on many (expensive) sojourns to exotic locations for decades. But remember: You don’t own it!

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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in Yellow Gold 

Photo by Audemars Piguet.

In the pantheon of very gold watches, the Royal Oak fills a specific role. If the Rolex and Patek feel like they’re the watches of your great granddaddy, the one who built the fortune, the Royal Oak is the gold watch for you. With its eight-sided case and exposed screws, it is the modern choice and feels masculine, too. That strength is perfectly tempered with soft touches like the handsome blue dial and the romantic movement of the moon.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Calendar in Pink Gold

Photo by Jaeger-LeCoultre.


The only gold-on-gold model on the JLC website is the Duetto, which is for your wife. And so we turn to the Tribute Calendar, whose pink gold case is supported by a brown a leather strap. Now, there’s nothing wrong with not having an all-gold watch because a metal-and-skin combo, especially in these specific colors, still speaks of power, the kind that is rooted in surety. Also, this gold watch is a Reverso, the ingenious model that holds two faces. Flip it to reveal another time or a memory.  


Cartier Santos de Cartier in Yellow Gold

Photo by Cartier .

There’s nothing more to be said about the awesomeness of the Santos de Cartier, one of the first wristwatches in the world, so we’ll jump to the number one reason for including it in this list. You see, there’ll be days when you don’t want to shout and there’ll be days when you do want to stand out. This edition of the Santos accommodates fluctuations in mood by including the ability to quickly switch from a yellow gold bracelet to a brown alligator strap.



Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic in Rose Gold


Photo by Bulgari.

We really want to stop suggesting expensive things to you but we’d be remiss if we don’t mention the Octo Finissimo. The Finissimo is one of the thinnest watches around, not just for a gold watch, but for watches in general. Imagine wearing a delicate machine on your wrist. The seamless application of rose gold on the architectural case, the dial, and the band makes it feel even more lightweight.

Gucci Grip Gold in Yellow Gold PVD

Photo by Gucci.

And now, an unexpected choice. Sure, the Gucci Grip’s case is not real gold (this is PVD gold coating, which is more durable than regular gold plating) but it makes a statement as powerful as those made from the real deal. The Grip’s novel design does away with hands and markers, presenting information with two windows instead. This edition, a collaboration with Disney, ups the eccentricity even more with the addition of Mickey Mouse, who looks a little forlorn here. This Gucci watch is vibrant and joyful, and if your snobby friends snigger at the thought of wearing a gold watch that is not really gold, consider changing friends.


Ask Esquire: ‘Hey, should I wear a gold watch?’ 

Hear that? It’s your inner voice speaking. When you feel an occasion deserves a higher level of respect, don’t wear your solid gold watch. Another moment not to wear a gold watch is when it’s cues of wealth will be detrimental. So: At a funeral, it is not your time to shine. As well, in a business meeting where you're haggling for a discount, a simple appearance will serve you better 


The Yellow Gold Watch Is a Celebration of Triumph and Success

Why You Should Wear a Yellow Gold Watch Right Now

Or think of it this way: A gold watch is a bold statement so the question becomes, “Do you have the balls to wear a gold watch?” If you have even the smallest of doubts about strutting down the street with a flashlight on your wrist, then maybe you shouldn’t invest in one right now. However, if you think you deserve a gold watch because you worked so damned hard or you like living that baller life, then don’t even ask. Put it on and forget it. Make the gold watch part of your identity so that no one will question its brilliance. 

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Clifford Olanday
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