Understated Luxury: White Gold Watches

Understated Luxury: White Gold Watches

| 05.27.24

Maybe you’ve had your fill of stainless steel tool watches. Maybe you need something more elegant to pair with a suit or tie — or even a tuxedo. Maybe it’s time for a gold watch.

But wait. You don’t wanna be that guy, do you? The guy in the gold watch? Isn’t that a little…Pulp Fiction? A little…old manish? To be fair, we don’t think so — but we understand completely if you do. Which is why we urge you to consider the type of watch that doesn’t look like gold, but certainly feels like it. It’s why we think you should be checking out white gold.

Patek Philippe Nautilus - IN THE SHOP

Unlike a yellow gold watch, a white gold timepiece doesn’t immediately smack of wealth and luxury, and doesn’t call attention to itself. And unlike pink or rose gold, it doesn’t say, “I’m hip enough not to be wearing yellow gold…but I still want you to know I’m wearing gold!” White gold doesn’t do those things. Sure, it’s got a slightly different sheen than steel, hitting your eye with a brighter, more biting edge, but from afar, it’s moderately indistinguishable from that most utilitarian of metals. 

So why wear white gold when it doesn’t look luxurious? For the same reason that you’d wear, say, cashmere instead of another, more pedestrian wool — for its feel. White gold certainly feels distinct from steel on the wrist, and while this is certainly due to its weight, it’s also inherent in the types of watches that are generally cast from it: dressy, svelte pieces that work well in more formal settings. But unlike other types of gold, white gold can also be dressed down and worn every day. And that, my friends, is its own type of utility. (And this is to say nothing of the enjoyment of simply wearing something made of gold.)

We carry plenty of white gold watches at A:S, and while many are dressier pieces, some are more modern luxury sports watches, chronographs, and more. Come on in to our showroom and try some of these more understated, luxurious pieces on for yourself — you’re sure to leave convinced of their special qualities and unique appeal. 

Glycine 'Jump Hour' 18k Two-Tone ($7,800)

Glycine 'Jump Hour' 18k Two-Tone - IN THE SHOP

Dating to the 1930s, this vintage Glycine has several notable features: Firstly, its two-tone white and yellow gold rectangular case is both rare and highly idiosyncratic. Secondly, this is a jump hour watch: its baguette-shaped, manually-wound movement features an hour window at 12 o’clock, with minutes and running seconds windows below. Thirdly, it comes on a stainless steel ‘Bonklip’-style bracelet from none other than Gay Frères. Stunning! 

Franck Muller Chronograph ($8,990)

Frank Muller Chronograph - IN THE SHOP

A Franck Muller chronograph for less than $10,000, you say? How could this be?! Well, this beautiful, vintage-inspired piece — while it features the hallmarks of master watchmaker Muller’s design — is powered by an automatic Valjoux 7750, keeping it in much more affordable territory. The barrel pushers, silver sector dial, triple-register display, and white gold construction hearken back to the golden age of chronograph construction in the 1940s. 

Piaget White Gold 'Onyx' Dress Watch ($9,350)

Piaget White Gold 'Onyx' Dress Watch - IN THE SHOP

Once again, the 1970s provide ample instances of horological creativity. To wit, this incredible Piaget dress watch. Housed in a 23mm white gold case with an integrated, matching bracelet in a ‘bark’ finish, it features a black onyx dial with a white gold pencil handset and a hand-wound Piaget movement. Delicate and beautiful, it’s the perfect accompaniment to formalwear during a black-tie affair…or to everyday indulgences in luxury!  

Vacheron Constantin White Gold Diamond Bezel ($10,500)

Vacheron Constantin White Gold Diamond Bezel - IN THE SHOP

What better way to accentuate white gold than with diamonds? Housed in a 33mm, ultra-thin case, this beautiful dress piece from Vacheron Constantin features a factory-set diamond bezel surrounding a sunburst silver dial with applied gold indices and a ‘pencil’ handset. Hand-wound, it’s paired to an integrated, white gold woven bracelet. Svelte and understated despite its precious-metal accents, it’s the picture of simple elegance. 

Cartier Tank Louis ($14,750)

 Cartier Tank Louis - IN THE SHOP

While most undoubtedly picture a yellow-gold watch when the words “Cartier Tank” comes to mind, this white-gold version is perhaps even more remarkable. Dating to the 1980s and measuring 23mm in diameter, it features all the beloved hallmarks of this most celebrated model: A blue sapphire cabochon crown, a ‘Roman’ dial with a blued steel handset, and a hand-wound movement. What more could you ask for in a dress watch?

Lange & Söhne Saxonia Moonphase ($23,950)

Lange & Söhne Saxonia Moonphase - IN THE SHOP

If the average offering from A. Lange & Söhne is too complicated, too thick, too Teutonic — try this on for size: The white gold Saxonia Moonphase pairs a satin black dial with applied, white gold indices and a ‘lance’ handset to an outsize date complication at 12 o’clock and a poetic moon phase complication at 6 o’clock. Powered by the Lange Calibre L086.5 automatic movement, it’s an excellent candidate for both formal and everyday wear. 

Breguet Classique 'Snail Dial' Chronograph ($26,000)

Breguet Classique 'Snail Dial' Chronograph - IN THE SHOP

This incredible piece from Breguet brings together classical watchmaking tropes, 20th-century chronograph design, and modern touches in an incredible, white gold package: Clocking in at 39mm, it features a signature Breguet coin-edge case design with a stunning, silver guilloché dial, printed ‘Roman’ indices, a red ‘snail’ telemeter scale, a dual-register chronograph layout, and a ‘Breguet’ handset. Manually-wound, it’s a steal considering its feature set.

IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar ($28,000)

IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar - IN THE SHOP

Slap a different name on the dial, and a watch with this description would cost six times the price: Housed in a 44.2mm white gold case, the IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar boasts a satin blue dial with Arabic indices; a recessed subsidiary registers with day, date, power reserve, running seconds, month, moonphase, and year apertures; and a matching ‘feuille’ handset. Mechanically programmed for a whopping 577 years, it’s an awesome feat of micro-engineering.

Patek Philippe Nautilus 'Jumbo' White Gold ($253,350)

Patek Philippe Nautilus 'Jumbo' White Gold - IN THE SHOP

There’s just something about a white gold, Gérald Genta-penned luxury sports watch that gets collectors’ hearts racing. At 42mm in precious metal, this Nautilus ‘Jumbo’ is no slouch, but its signature brushed and polished bezel, integrated bracelet, and blue gradient ‘teak’ dial, once worn, will be difficult to separate from your wrist. A Reference 3711/1G from the 2000s, this is the white gold Patek sports watch to retire on.