White gold has long been my favorite precious metal used in watches. Why, you ask? Mostly because you can’t really tell. To the untrained eye, your watch looks like it’s made of stainless steel, or possibly, silver, but only you and your accountant know the truth. Compare this to a solid yellow gold watch which just screams “HEY, LOOK AT ME, I WEAR GOLD WATCHES, I’M VERY SUCCESSFUL” (we chose the most extreme example above) or, even worse, a rose gold watch, where you can tack on “I’M VERY SUCCESSFUL AND SENSITIVE TO TRENDS” (let’s pretend it’s 2007). I wear my watches for my own sake. Yet, it’s sometime fun to throw a bit of gold into the mix instead of the usual tool watch steel that feature heavily on my wrist.
However, white gold watches can be just as tacky as anything. This is why we’ve gone through the JamesList inventory and picked five of our favorite white gold timepieces.
First off is the PAM 00200 from Panerai. We seldom see gold offerings from Panerai, and when we do, it’s usually rose gold behemoths that might or might not be all that wearable. This GMT baby comes with a 8 day power reserve powered by their own inhouse P.2002 movement, all neatly packaged in a Radiomir white gold case. Obviously, you can never justify calling a Panny low-key, but this is getting close. Price is being withheld, but expect to pony up quite a bit.
The next watch comes from a company you’d rarely think of as tasteful. However, there are quite a number of Franck Mullers that we’d wear in a heartbeat, specifically his takes on the roarin’ twenties (we even fell in love with a yellow gold watch of his last winter). Whenever he’s put on a lead, the man has his strokes of brilliance. This art deco vintage-y calender Curvex with an almost pinkish dial is more than enough to charm even the most brand biased watch enthusiast. You’re looking at just over €10,000.
Next up is somewhat of a modern classic. The #116619 Submariner came along as Rolex introduced the GMTIIc along with the new, super-sized Day Date models a while back and featured roughly some of the “improvements” that the new GMT was treated with: a new rock-hard ceramic bezel, the new supercase, polished center links and the branded “ROLEX” chapter ring. Guess which ones we could’ve done without? All in all, it’s still a nice effort, especially considering our stance on contemporary Rolexes. Submariners are literally a dime a dozen, so this sparkling smurf is something that we’d love wearing. This one’s $24,000.
Next up is this Jules Audemars Tourbillon from Audemars Piguet. We picked this one not only because it’s lovely (open-heart without going overboard, an uncharacteristic feat of restraint coming from AP), but because it reminds us that AP actually makes watches that aren’t the Royal Oak. Not to say we aren’t RO fans, but it’s good to remember that AP really is one of the masters, horologically speaking (we’re talking Patek territory here). This one’s just over $100,000.
Finally, as always, we have a Patek piece, and it’s not particularly original either. But who cares? We chose this low-key Calatrava as it essentially is the antithesis to the screaming stereotype in the introduction. No date, no bracelet, no second hand, no nothing. It will always be tasteful and it will never go out of style. Your grandfather wore one, your father wore one and your children will wear theirs. Just perfect. At $13,900, it’s as close to a great investman you can make with a watch.