Pre-Owned Spotlight: Gold Watches For The Holidays — Starting At Under $1,000
I know it seems early, but it will be December before you know it. If you wait too long, you might be too late to get something in time for the holidays. In this installment of Pre-Owned Spotlight, I’ve made a selection of pre-owned vintage and modern gold watches with a nod to the holidays. And why is that, you might ask? Well, I believe — but feel free to disagree — that the holidays are an excellent reason (or excuse) to wear a gold watch. It brings some shine to the days when it gets dark early, and gold goes hand in hand with the Christmas festivities.
My colleague Ignacio triggered my search for gold watches this weekend. He was wearing a beautiful Tissot in 14K gold, featuring the 1950s Tissot logo on the dial with the beautiful long “T.” You can find it on his Instagram account here. On top of that, I went to see the Tissot manufacture in Le Locle last week with my colleague Timo, and I saw some similar beauties in the brand’s amazing archives.
Anyway, in this article, you will read about several gold beauties in different price segments. Gold never comes cheap, but I found a beautiful Tissot Seastar Seven from 1964 in solid 14K gold for under a grand. All the watches that I selected for this article are made of solid gold, as I am not a fan of plated/capped/gold-filled cases.
A mid-’60s Tissot Seastar Seven
Slightly newer than the one that my colleague Ignacio wears, this 14K gold Tissot is from 1964. It’s a Visodate Seastar Seven with the self-winding caliber 784. It may look simple, but it has some great details, such as the beautifully shaped date window and the large applied Tissot logo. This Tissot ref. 44524-11 has a solid 14K gold case, which, as you can see below, uses a monobloc design. As such, the movement, dial, and hands go in and out via the front crystal.
On the inside of the case, you will find the old Tissot logo with the long “T”. The gold hallmarks are also on the inside of the case and on one of the lugs. On the back of the case, you will find the Seastar Seven logo engraved. Interestingly, in those days, some brands liked to indicate which kind of watchmaker’s tool you needed to open the watch. As you can see, Tissot did here as well. This 34mm watch appears to be in nice condition despite some wear on the case back, which is from wearing the watch rather than (over)polishing. According to the seller, the dial is authentic and original (not restored). The price of €850 (~$900) is negotiable according to the seller from Munich, Germany. You can find the offer here.
Ebel 1911 El Primero Chronograph
Did you know that Ebel was one of the first watch brands with proper product placements in a TV show? Well, it was, and with nothing less than the original Miami Vice series in the 1980s. That’s right, Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs were sporting Ebel watches in the series after they ditched the fake Day-Date that Crockett was wearing in the earlier shows. Sonny Crockett was sporting the two-tone Ebel 1911 Chronograph, though, while the one I have here is a solid 18K gold version. This means that for less than €5,000, you can be cooler than Sonny Crockett. Or at least your watch will be cooler than his, but that’s just a small detail.
Anyway, Ebel used caliber 134 for these 1911 Chronographs from the 1980s through the 1990s (this one is from 1995). This movement was based on the high-beat Zenith El Primero caliber. Zenith used to supply various other brands with these now-legendary chronograph movements, including Rolex, Panerai, Movado, and Ebel. This beautiful Ebel 1911 Chronograph is offered on Chrono24 for €4,990 (~$5,300). It comes on a black leather strap with the original Ebel folding clasp in 18K gold. Ebel doesn’t make watches like this anymore, sadly. You can find the offer here.
Rolex Day-Date 1803
Perhaps one of the most coveted gold watches on the planet is the Rolex Day-Date. I found this beautiful reference 1803 from 1974, featuring a Spanish day disc. This 36mm 18K gold watch has an acrylic crystal and a pie-pan dial, ensuring it will have that vintage look and feel on your wrist. Its robust caliber 1556 ensures a worry-free mechanism as long as you have it serviced periodically. The black strap that comes with this gold watch makes it look extra classy, and therefore on point during the upcoming holidays.
This Rolex Day-Date 1803 seems to be in very nice condition. The case and fluted bezel still look beefy and sharp for their age, the dial is the original tritium one, and the hands have been replaced with Super-LumiNova ones during service. At least you can now read the time in the dark. Bulang & Sons, a Dutch specialist in vintage watches, is offering this watch for €9,900 (~$11,000) on Chrono24 or via their own website. This Rolex Day-Date 1803 with champagne pie-pan dial is a looker and the perfect companion for a formal occasion.
Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Anniversary
Last but certainly not least on this list is the Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Anniversary from 2019. Thanks to @hairspringwatches on Instagram, I saw that this watch is on offer via the London-based Subdial company. This watch probably needs no introduction, and you can see on my personal IG account that I wear mine a lot. For me, it’s the best Speedmaster that Omega has ever made, and there is no Speedmaster I would rather own. Sounds like it is my grail watch, and believe me, it is.
I have said it before, and I will say it again: like The Godfather Part II, this re-edition of the original 1969 Speedmaster Professional 145.022 in gold is even better than the original. There are a lot of wonderful details on this watch, such as the solid-gold dial with its dual-faceted onyx hour markers or the case back with a piece of lunar meteorite material. The caliber 3861 used inside this watch even has a Moonshine Gold finish, perfectly matching the case and bracelet. You can find an in-depth article on this watch here.
The “Nixon” bracelet tapers from 20mm to a very narrow 14mm but wears incredibly comfortably. Later on, this bracelet style was reintroduced in stainless steel again for the current version of the Moonwatch. The burgundy ceramic bezel is beautifully done and is very similar to the 1969 original’s red bezel, which was an aluminum inlay. This watch is made of 18K Moonshine Gold, which is Omega’s proprietary yellow gold alloy, and it weighs approx 220g on a full bracelet. Subdial is currently offering this watch for £34,250 (~€39,400 / $40,700). Click here for the offer.
Let us know what you think of these pre-owned gold watches in the comments. Also, feel free to clue us in on any watches that have caught your eye lately!