The world of watches is no stranger to trends. Often, the latest trend is something as simple and recognizable as a new dial color. Another common trend is the revival of a specific watch style or model. For instance, we’ve recently seen an uptick in 1970s-inspired stainless steel sports watches. Yet another trend is the use of certain materials, but that can be harder to spot. The watch industry has a long tradition of pushing the boundaries when it comes to materials in order to make watches even lighter and more robust. The use of ceramic, carbon fiber, and titanium are definitely not new, but the number of watches that utilize one or more of these materials and/or a composite made of traditional and new materials is something we have been seeing a lot of over the last couple of years. You could definitely call it a trend, though, it’s a long-term one. But what if a trend is harder to recognize because at its core it’s always been there?
Spotting the Gold Trend
I recognize that I’m speaking in riddles now, but what I’m pointing to is the fact that a lot of notable new watch releases have used yellow gold and rose gold for their cases and bracelets. Have you also noticed this? Obviously, both types of gold have been used for centuries in the watch industry, so their presence is nothing out of the ordinary. That’s what makes it harder to spot this current “trend” of gold watches, but when we started analyzing some of this year’s best releases, we quickly noticed a lot of them were gold. By best releases, we mean the watches that have gotten universal praise from both journalists and fans alike.
Moreover, we analyzed data from the Chrono24 marketplace. Here, we discovered that sales of gold watches have been on the rise since around the start of the year. To top it off, gold watches don’t seem to be suffering from the price drops experienced by some popular stainless-steel models over the last couple of months. So, it’s safe to say that there is a definite trend: Gold watches are gaining in popularity. Therefore, we decided to create a list of the most remarkable gold releases of the year. Some of these have been out for a while now, and others were only introduced this week at Geneva Watch Days. It looks like this trend is far from over. Let’s find out more about the best releases.
Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222
The first watch on our list was the hottest new release from Watches & Wonders 2022. The glorious Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 is a great reissue of the brand’s classic 222 from the 1970s. The original 222 is often mentioned in the same breath as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus. For a long time, the 222 was believed to have been designed by the legendary Gérald Genta, but as it turned out, the young watch designer Jörg Hysek was behind this 1970s icon. Vacheron Constantin decided to reintroduce the watch in 18K yellow gold instead of stainless steel, making the impact of the release even more grand. The brand stayed very true to the original design, but updated the movement. The more modern in-house automatic caliber 2455/2 has the advantage of a contemporary frequency of 28,800 vph and comes with a quick-set date. Bar those modifications, Vacheron Constantin reintroduced the 222 in all its iconic glory.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo in Rose Gold
Bulgari gave us a series of new gold releases during Geneva Watch Days 2022. In my book, the most important is the duo of gold Octo Finissimo Automatic models that demonstrate the iconic power of the model. That said, the technically more savvy release, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days, was also released in rose gold. While the brand has previously introduced their technically-stunning new additions in titanium, this time the top watch was presented in rose gold. The new Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT was also released in rose gold. So why do I think the Octo Finissimo Automatic is the most significant of the bunch? As you may well know, Bulgari already released a rose gold version of the Octo Finissimo a couple of years ago. The watch features a sandblasted rose gold case and bracelet paired with a rose gold dial, which perfectly suited the monochromatic look the brand was going for in the early days of the model. In the years since, the brand has mixed up the dial colors for various models, and that’s exactly what they did for the new gold models. Both the unlimited rose gold Octo Finissimo and the limited-edition yellow gold version feature a chocolate brown dial that gives each of these watches an incredibly classy appearance. These two timepieces truly represent gold watches at their very best.
Moser & Cie. Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack
Another great release from this year’s Geneva Watch Days is the brilliant H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack. The Streamliner has become a successful collection for H. Moser & Cie., and we have seen a variety of different models released over the last few years. The most striking past novelties have been the Streamliner Centre Seconds and the Streamliner Flyback Chronograph, but the new red gold tourbillon version of the Streamliner can certainly hold its own. As if the rose gold look wasn’t already enough, the brand equipped the watch with a Vantablack dial. This so-called “darkest of all materials” adds another dimension that makes the watch even more interesting, adding a depth to the watch that is simply stunning. To top things off, you can catch a glimpse of the impressive HMC804 tourbillon movement at the 6 o’clock position. This combination of materials and technical innovation makes the Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack one of this year’s most spectacular releases.
Omega Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch” in Moonshine Gold
Next up is not one, but a pair of Omega Speedmaster Moonwatches in Moonshine Gold. Omega has been slowly introducing new gold versions of their famous Moonwatch over time. In the past, the brand only ever created a very small number of Speedmaster Professional models in precious metals, which makes sense when you consider that the Moonwatch is the ultimate tool watch. This year, however, Omega decided to add two more models to the series in the brand’s proprietary Moonshine Gold. The first comes with a dark green dial and bezel, and the second features a gold dial and black bezel. While each of the watches has a completely unique look, both are equally stunning. I personally love the version with the gold dial and black bezel. The watch looks absolutely gorgeous, both on the black rubber strap and gold bracelet. With these precious metal releases, Omega has been gradually maneuvering to take the Moonwatch collection to the next level. The series now includes two new Moonshine Gold models, a Sedna Gold version with a black dial and bezel, and the brilliant Canopus Gold (white gold) version with a silver dial and black bezel. While the latter is still my absolute favorite, the new Moonshine Gold versions are also very beautiful.
Cartier Santos Dumont in Rose Gold
Another stunner of a gold release came courtesy of Cartier. Historically, we’ve been used to seeing Cartier release its watches predominantly in precious metals, but in recent times, there has been a significant focus on stainless steel models. Solid proof that the brand’s watches are most breathtaking in gold came during Watches & Wonders 2022, in the form of the rose gold Cartier Santos Dumont with a beige lacquered bezel and lugs. The hue of the bezel and lugs perfectly matches the beige dial with its very fine, almost pyramid-like pattern. The watch has a great overall presence, and it could easily be mistaken for an understated gold watch on the wrist; understated is not something that yellow and rose gold watches are particularly known for. While the brand also released two similar models in different colors, the rose gold version with the beige dial and bezel is the most attractive of the three. Combined with the green leather strap, it is truly amazing. This limited-edition watch with a run of 200 pieces proves once again that Cartier looks best in precious metal.
Rolex Yacht-Master 42 in Yellow Gold
For me, the best new Rolex release of this year is the 18K yellow gold version of the beautiful Rolex Yacht-Master 42. The combination of the 42-mm yellow gold case and the black Oysterflex bracelet works miracles on the Yacht-Master. The new watch follows the recipe of the 40-mm Everose gold version that also comes with a black Oysterflex bracelet. It truly is a golden combination. Other than the case and bracelet combo, there is nothing really new about this Yacht-Master. It is still powered by the caliber 3235, still has the familiar 42-mm case that was previously available in white gold, and still comes on the brilliant and incredibly comfortable Oysterflex bracelet. But seeing the yellow gold case against the black bezel, dial, and bracelet is enough to make this a captivating new release.
Zenith Chronomaster Sport in Rose Gold
Zenith’s focus this year was primarily aimed at the Chronomaster Open, but a lot of people agree that the rose gold versions of the brand’s Chronomaster Sport are some of the best watches the brand has released in recent times. The Chronomaster Sport clearly has a Daytona influence, but that hasn’t bothered fans at all. The stainless-steel versions have been incredibly popular, so it makes sense that Zenith would also introduce gold and two-tone models – and that’s exactly what Zenith have done. The rose gold Chronomaster Sport variants work wonders by pairing the precious metal with a white or black dial featuring the model’s iconic colorful subdials. I adore the rose gold version with a black dial. Together with the gray and blue subdials, you get something absolutely mesmerizing that many people seemed to love at Watches & Wonders.
There you have it! Our list of some of the most spectacular gold watches released in 2022. As you can see, there are some serious heavy hitters here that prove there’s definitely something going on when it comes to gold watches. And this is just the tip of the iceberg – there are many more great gold releases. The gold standard is being redefined, and it just keeps getting better and better!