There are lots of things you want to consider when buying a watch. Do you want a dress watch? Dive watch? Chronograph? Large or small? Automatic or quartz? And of course, gold or steel?
This brings us to the main purpose of this article. Should you have a gold or a steel watch?
The answer to that question is, just like with so much else, that it depends. But there are some guidelines and tips that can help you decide when and if you should wear a gold or steel watch. But before we begin, we have to point out that at the end of the day, the choice is all yours to make. If you enjoy gold watches, then that’s what you should wear. But you asked us, so we will answer. Let’s look at the factors that may decide if you should have gold or steel watch.
Gold or steel?
If you want to pay attention to some general guidelines before you decide, there are some things you want to take into consideration. One of the key considerations is the type of watch that you are getting and how you are going to wear it.
Purpose and type of watch
In general, gold watches are considered more elegant and classy than those that are made in stainless steel. With that said, gold watches are most closely associated with dress watches. If you dress up to be elegant, then you also want a watch to matches that.
On a side note, stainless steel is known as a more robust and sporty (and obviously more affordable) material than gold, and as such, it is more closely associated with sportiness and casualness. With this in mind, there are also, for example, sports watches that are made in gold. How should you regard these? Well, the fact of the matter is that the way we wear watches today has changed a lot, and today, many people wear their sports watches on formal occasions too. Just think about the Rolex Submariner, which happens to be one of the most popular (and versatile) timepieces, which also means that a lot of people wear them with suits as well.
On the same topic, the Rolex Submariner is also available in gold, and naturally, because it is in gold, it becomes more elegant and thus also slightly more appropriate for formal occasions. In other words, yes, you can also wear sports watches on formal occasions, but keep in mind that to bring your look to the next level, you may want to opt for gold, even if it is in the same sporty execution and model. Dress watches are no longer the only accepted type of watch to wear with a suit.
This is just a general rule, but if you stand between the choice of gold and steel, have as a starting point that gold is more elegant than steel, and then consider how you are planning to wear your watch.
Dress watches - gold or steel?
Now, if you are looking for a dress watch, the truth is that you can opt for either a gold or steel watch. Dress watches today are available both in gold and steel, - they are not just limited to gold. With this said, you’re not restricted to the fact that if you wear a dress watch, it should be gold, without any exceptions. This is not the case. At least not anymore.
Instead, if you want a dress watch, then you have other considerations to make when it comes to choosing the metal.
Think about your personality
A general perception of gold watches is that they are flashy, and to some extent, they are. Gold is much more visible than stainless steel as it shines bright on the wrist and is hard to miss.
If you ask us, gold watches have a place in a watch’s collector’s collection, but it’s not necessarily a watch that works anytime and anywhere. This is why we advise that if you only own one watch, our recommendation is that it is in steel.
If you have a collection, on the other hand, with a few pieces in different styles, then there is nothing wrong with owning a gold watch, because there are occasions when gold is the best alternative.
The ”issue” with gold watches is that they can be perceived as obnoxious if worn on the wrong occasions, and this can actually send negative signals to the people around you. Obviously, you should be able to wear exactly what you want when you want, but like it or not, you have to adapt to the reality around you, or at the very least, be aware of the signals you may be sending out and how it affects people’s views on you.
As an example, a common ”issue” if you are wearing a gold watch and are in a negotiation, it may be to your disadvantage, since it can give the impression that you already have a lot of money and therefore can afford to pay more, for example, in a contract. On the other hand, there are plenty of situations when wearing a gold watch may be to your advantage, for example if you are in negotiations with ”big dogs” who are also wearing gold watches, or perhaps if you have a meeting with a bank. The point is, you have to know the situation you are going to be in, and then consider how wearing a gold watch may hurt or help you.
If you conclude that a gold watch may hurt you, then opt to wear a steel, platinum, or white gold watch, which will remain stealthy and discreet. If you, on the other hand, conclude that a gold watch is appropriate, then go ahead and opt for a gold watch. Also, something to keep in mind is that if you wear a gold watch with a gold bracelet, it will stand out substantially more than if you wear a gold watch with a leather strap. With this said, in some situations, you may be able to wear a gold watch with a leather strap, but not with a full gold bracelet.
When choosing a gold watch, you also want to consider its style and size. A modern gold watch, for example, a Rolex Daytona, will stand out and catch people’s attention immediately, but a vintage gold watch, for example, a Rolex Day-Date, will be much more discreet. If you have an old watch, you could, if you have to explain yourself (it does happens sometimes, depending on the situation in which you wear it), you can simply say that you inherited it.
In other words, it’s not just a question of gold or steel, but it is also a question of the type of watch that is suitable for the occasion.
If your personality is a bit flashy, then people who know you will not be surprised to see you wear a gold watch. Just think of all the rappers who wear nothing else than gold watches.
Gold is more sensitive
It’s also worth mentioning that gold as a material is softer, and thus more sensitive than steel. As a result, it will acquire more scratches and dents compared to a steel watch. Therefore, consider how you plan to wear your watch. If you buy a gold watch and intent to wear it as a sports watch when performing all kinds of harsh and demanding activities, it may not be ideal. At least not if you want to keep it in good conditions.
Therefore, gold watches are generally not suitable for demanding occasions and sports.
What about the price?
If we are talking about watches made in real gold, there is a huge difference in price between steel and gold watches. But today, there are plenty of watches to choose from that have a gold finish but are not made in real gold. Therefore, anyone can enjoy the beauty of gold watches today without having to pay tens of thousands for one, so this isn’t necessarily an issue. Keep in mind, however, that if you want a watch from a premium manufacturer, you will likely not find one that isn’t made in real gold, and therefore it will be priced accordingly.
The bottom line is that gold watches are, in general, most suitable for formal occasions. Steel watches can work both for formal and casual occasions, but the opposite cannot always be said with gold. Maybe most importantly, think about the situation in which you are going to be in and how people may or may not react when you are wearing it. Will the gold watch harm or help you?
And remember, there is a huge difference between a loud and flashy gold watch such as a Rolex Submariner or Rolex Daytona, and a classic and elegant dress watch with a leather strap in gold, such as a Jaeger-LeCoultre or a Zenith. True dress watches are made to be discreet, elegant, and to complement your style, and therefore, these type of watches may work for any formal occasion and situation, simply because they are not obnoxious.