They sometimes seem to be on the brink of extinction, and I was almost ready to write their obituary (see The Death of the Dress Watch: Is It Time to Write an Obituary?): Gold Dress Watches. And when I sometimes observe today’s society, so do classic gentlemen!
But there is a silver lining (no pun intended) because some of the world’s most esteemed watch brands still have a gold-cased mechanical watch or two, tucked away somewhere in their collections.
For those who prefer not to spend their time looking for them, I present here four gold dress watches for the modern and classic gentleman.
While Jaeger-LeCoultre actually has quite a few options when it comes to gold dress watches, I personally consider the Master Ultra Thin Small Second to be ahead of the pack.
The reason is that the watch is actually so perfect that it gets all the details. Its pink gold case is 38.5 mm in diameter: not 38 mm. Pitch 39mm. But 38.5mm. And it’s big enough to be contemporary, but small enough not to seem cocky. And at just 7.58mm tall, it’s considered ultra-thin: wearing it almost feels like wearing nothing but the tiniest sliver of gold below the wrist.
This size also helps to show off that beautiful eggshell color of the dial, which goes so well with the rose gold case. The dial is pure with dauphine hands, discreet triangular hour markers and an absolute minimum of text. This makes this watch such a powerful creation because there is a real synergy between all the details.
It’s only when you flip the Master Ultra Thin Small Second that it loses some of its reserve as Jaeger-LeCoultre felt the need to show why it’s one of the most respected names in the industry by installing a sapphire crystal case to admire the manufacture movement.
Rightly because a true gentleman can be modest but also know how to use his talents. So why not expect the same from your watch?
For more information, please visit www.jaeger-lecoultre.com.
For gentlemen more inclined to the Teutonic spirit, A. Lange & Söhne offers the beautiful 1815.
This watch also features subsidiary seconds but is more classic in its design approach than the Jaeger-LeCoultre, including black Arabic numerals, blued hands and a rail track to indicate the minutes.
It’s a watch that boils down to the essence, which is what A. Lange & Söhne is surprisingly good at. Yes, it’s the brand’s perpetual calendars and multiple split-seconds chronographs that usually grab the headlines, but underneath it all is a stable, stable collection of well-made classic dress watches.
This watch is 1.22mm taller than the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin, and it’s not even an automatic! But before you judge, take a moment to admire what the Germans have done with the extra space: a look at the untreated German silver three-quarter plate adorned with bright red rubies bearing jewels set in silver chatons. or secured to the plate by screws should make you more than willing to forgive the extra height. And if that doesn’t work, the hand-engraved balance cock might do the trick!
For more information, please visit www.alange-soehne.com.
Although I am personally not a fan of dress watches with date function, I cannot deny their practical use even in today’s society.
If you’re going for a dress watch with a date window, the Patek Philippe Calatrava Reference 5227J is the one you should definitely consider. Besides the date function and the fact that it’s a Patek Philippe, there are two reasons to buy it: the first is the way the lugs ‘merge’ with the case; there’s nothing quite like it, especially not in the dress watch world where most of the lugs are attached to the case, but not part of it.
The second reason is the lacquered dial. Like the coat of paint on your (of course) vintage Rolls-Royce, Patek Philippe’s dial maker applied 12 (!) coats of lacquer to give it the deepest, most beautiful sheen you could imagine.
One of the features I admire the most about the reference 5227 is the invisible hinged hunter caseback, which hides the movement until you want to see it. Patek Philippe opted for a more understated finish on the movement itself: beneath the full-size 21-karat gold rotor that winds the caliber 324 SC, there are no hand-engraved balance cocks or blued screws. , but you find a Gyromax balance wheel and a Spiromax hairspring for optimal timekeeping.
A true gentleman will appreciate this sense of understatement, however, as the movement of this Patek Philippe is actually even thinner than that of the Jaeger-LeCoultre, but the brand – true to its style – has not felt the need to amplify that fact in the name of the watch or anywhere else.
For more information, please visit www.patek.com.
Can you imagine that the Villeret line was actually created when Jean-Claude Biver was co-owner of Blancpain? The man obviously knew what suited the brand as the Villeret line became a classic – and also the very first gold dress watch I ever bought myself.
Blancpain also showed a knack for keeping the Villeret collection fresh and exciting, and that included this version with retrograde seconds. While this may raise an eyebrow for some, even gentlemen like to have fun and will most certainly appreciate this little touch on a perfectly proportioned gold dress watch.
Of the rest of this distinctive, if not elite, group of watches, the Blancpain is the only one to favor a stamped guilloché dial in an opaline tone, which pairs particularly well with the red gold case. The result is a slightly richer look than the Jaeger-LeCoultre, which tends towards the same color palette.
Blancpain calls the movement of this Villeret, Caliber 7663, an “ultra thin” (“ultraflat”), and it is, but at a height of 4.6 millimeters it is actually on par with the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 as being the thickest in this rarefied group.
However, this Blancpain features a full-sized winding rotor, and the retrograde seconds display is also a space-consuming complication. Blancpain has incorporated two spring barrels inside the movement to provide it with a generous 65-hour power reserve, so the discerning man can comfortably wear a different watch over the weekend. . . maybe Fiona Krüger’s Chaos for something completely different?
For more information, please visit www.blancpain.com.
Quick Facts Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Small Second
Case: 38.5 x 7.58 mm, rose gold
Movement: automatic manufacture caliber 896/1, 28,800 vph, 3.98 mm high, frequency 4 Hz/28,800 vph
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds
Year of introduction: 2014
Quick Facts A. Lange & Swhereest 1815
Case: 38.5 x 8.8 mm, rose gold
Movement: hand-wound Manufacture caliber L051.1, frequency 3 Hz/21,600 vibrations/hour, height 4.6 mm, power reserve of 55 hours
Functions: hours, minutes, hacking small seconds
Year of introduction: 2014
Quick Facts Patek Philippe Calatrava Reference 5227J
Case: 39 x 9.24 mm, yellow gold, officer background
Movement: automatic manufacture caliber 324 SC, frequency 4 Hz/28,800 vibrations/hour, height 3.3 mm, Gyromax balance, Spiromax hairspring, Patek Philippe seal, 45-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; Date
Year of introduction: 2013
Quick Facts Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate Reference 6653-3642-55B
Case: 40 x 10.68 mm, red gold
Movement: automatic manufacture caliber 7663, height 4.6 mm, double barrel, 65-hour power reserve, silicon free balance wheel with gold regulating screws,
Functions: hours, minutes, retrograde small seconds
Year of introduction: 2015
Price: 20,500 Swiss francs (VAT included)
* This article was first published on October 5, 2018 on Four Gold Dress Watches For The Classic Gentleman: Yes, They Still Exist! (Gold watches, that is, true gentlemen, are even rarer).
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