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The 8 Best Affordable Gold Coloured Watches (Buyers Guide)

Posted on November 21 2021

Best Affordable Gold Coloured Watches

Laurel and Hardy go together well. As do cheese and onion or rum and coke.

Do you know what doesn't go together well?

The words gold and affordable.

If you're a fan of gold watches and have a limited budget, you're going to be disappointed. A lot. For many of us, a steel Rolex is already out of reach. Make that iconic watch out of gold and we've no chance.

This is another great time to shop for an affordable alternative. A watch that isn't built of pure gold and isn't made by a Swiss luxury brand.

First, let's look a little at gold and gold coloured watches. Then I'll take you through eight inexpensive models.

Why Wear a Gold Watch?


Why gold? It's a fair question.

Watch fans are often attracted to watches with a history or a specific function. Rarely is the metal choice the priority (I'll make an exception for titanium). It's why I love Soviet-era Russian watches, military watches and those used in space exploration.

Somehow, gold seems too flashy.

Soldiers don't wear gold watches. And there's no functional advantage to a gold dive watch. Take Omega's steel moon watch. It's famous because of its use on lunar walks. If it was made of gold rather than steel it would still be the time on the moon's surface that inspired us.

Watches made of precious metals seem a little tacky and lacking in function. They're like something that a rapper or tasteless businessman would wear.

But maybe I'm being overly critical.

What if we could kill two birds with one stone?

How about if the watch isn't tacky and isn't made of real gold? The watch could be elegant and tasteful. It could also be a more realistic buy.

What are Gold Coloured Watches Made of?


There used to be two choices. Real gold or gold plating. You'll have seen gold plated watches before. They're the ones where the gold rubs off and shows the steel or brass beneath. It's not a good look.

Modern gold-tone watches are different.

They often have a gold PVD coating. Physical Vapor Deposition is a very durable coating that is more resilient than traditional gold plating. And because it doesn't use real gold, it's an inexpensive way to get the gold look.

The 8 Best Affordable Gold Coloured Watches


Gold watches usually fall into one of two camps. Either vulgar pieces that make real watch fans cringe or dress watches that were often presented as gifts. Neither are particularly inspiring to me.

So on my list, I've put together eight great gold-tone watches that don't fall into these two groups. I've highlighted my favourite affordable gold dive watches and military-styled pieces. I've also included a couple that are a little leftfield.

I'm confident that even if you're not a fan of gold watches you'll still find at least one watch here that hits the spot.

Timex Q Reissue Watch

This Timex reissue is a great place to start. It's a retro piece that recreates the era when affordable gold-plated watches were a big thing.

This is one of a number of models that come from Timex's own back catalogue. Other's include the military MK1 and their famous Snoopy collection.

But the Timex Q is among my favourite reissues. It's a mid-sized model that features an angular case and a variety of bold colour palettes.

The original diver’s watch was released at the tail-end of the 1970s and was made with the then-new Quartz technology. This distinctive piece was then re-released in 2019.

The design has proven popular with watch fans and it's easy to see why. This gold variant has a simple colour scheme - a blue dial and bezel that contrast with the gold case and bracelet.

True to the original, the reissue has a clear dial with Mercedes hands and a date/date window.

There are a couple of nice touches. The battery hatch on the rear - you unscrew it with a coin - is uncommon. I like it. It feels authentic to the era of the watches original release.

The rest is as expected. It has a reliable quartz movement, a mineral crystal and 50M of water resistance.

A gold-coloured retro watch. What's not to love about this inexpensive model?

Timex Q TW2U62000

  • 38mm Diameter
  • 11.5mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Quartz movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance

 

Undone Basecamp Gold Watch
The Undone Basecamp has a unique style that is hard to pin down. It’s a real eyecatcher and has a major selling point - Undone encourage you to customise your watch.

I’ve featured the brand a few times on the blog now because I enjoyed making my own watch.

Undone sent me a complimentary code that I used to make a vintage styled chronograph - check out my review of the process here.

As I noted in that piece, Undone believe that customisation is a sign of luxury. Not price or brand name. Luxury can be the process of having a product personalised.

As a watch fan, I found the process enthralling.

I spent an afternoon with a friend designing watches, then had my favourite made and shipped to me. I chose the main parts of my watch - case, dial, hands and strap. And then they put it together.

The Basecamp Vintage Gold is one of their standard models. I’d caution messing too much with this watches design. Look at it closely. What needs to be improved?

It’s an attractive mid-sized watch and clearly vintage-inspired. Despite the obvious dive watch aesthetics, it doesn't quite look like a vintage diver. Instead, the bezel is plain - although it is reminiscent of the old Bakelite bezels.

The simple bezel complements the gold case and the spartan dial layout. Taken together, you get a versatile vintage-looking piece that doesn't mimic any single watch. It's finished off well with a distressed leather strap.

That works for me.

The angular crown is nice too. As is the exhibition case back.

Through that clear back, you can see Seiko’s reliable NH35A automatic movement - the microbrand's favourite.

This gold coloured model is a quirky looking watch. The hands, logo and bezel all catch the eye. As does the date window repositioned at 4 o'clock.

You won't see this watch on anyone else's wrist. Particularly if you do customise yours. This is great for fans of niche brands and bespoke watches.

Undone Basecamp Vintage

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Lexan Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance

 


Glycine Combat Sub Gold Watch
The Glycine Combat Sub is a popular Swiss-made dive watch that gives you a great bang-for-buck.

It's a slim automatic that ticks most of the boxes that you'd expect for a Swiss-made entry-level diver. And they do a gold-coloured variation.

Glycine made its name in the watch world when it supplied US Air Force pilots with its Airman watch during the Vietnam War. It was a functional aviation piece that is loved by watch aficionados.

Since the 1960s Glycine has also produced a ‘Combat’ collection. Currently, this includes the Classic, Vintage, Chrono and Sub lines.

Glycine’s Combat line was created after the Airman, with the first dive watch released in 1967. So this watch does have some real heritage.

It's not a Submariner clone and has a style that is unique to Glycine. Normally I'd tell you about the Combat Sub's slim profile and design. But this gold-coloured model is a beefed-up variation. It comes in at 46mm wide - that could a deal breaker for some.

So it's a bold piece.

The gold colouring is uncommon on a dive watch, but Glycine has pulled it off well. Partly they've achieved this by keeping the colour scheme simple. Just gold and black.

The size and the rubber strap mean that this is a sporty model. It's not a desk diver. And with 300M of water resistance, why not take this in the water with you?

And then there are those two words at the foot of the dial. This watch is Swiss-made and is powered by a Swiss automatic movement. Believe me, this is one of the most affordable ways to get a Swiss-made diver.

Glycine Combat Sub GL0292

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 13mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance



Seiko 5 Gold Watch SRPE74

My 17-year-old rapper son will only wear bling watches.

He naturally wants his watches to be gold. If I had to buy a teenager a gold-coloured model, I'd start here.

This watch from Seiko ticks a lot of his boxes and is an inexpensive automatic model. As noted on the dial, it’s a part of Seiko’s 5 collection.

If you're on a budget, the Seiko 5 line often comes to the rescue. Seiko's concept for this collection is simple. Well made and affordable mechanical watches, with the design emphasis on a young demographic.

What has that meant in practical terms?

The 5 series of watches are built with Japanese in-house movements. The watches often take design cues from other, more expensive, Seiko designs.

Since its launch in 1963, the Seiko 5 line has stuck to this ethos. The five core features are still in use today. Each Seiko 5 model includes:

  • An Automatic Movement
  • Day/date displayed in a single window
  • Water resistance
  • Crown at the 4 o’clock position
  • Durable case and bracelet

With that in mind, this is a well made functional watch, designed to provide good value for money. And it's the most bling watch in the collection.

The gold colour is by far the standout feature.

But don't let that distract you from the watches design. This is recognisable as a Seiko dive watch. The crown at 4 o’clock is unusual and part of the DNA of the Seiko 5 style - it adds a cool little quirk to this watch. And it's a reminder of the now-discontinued SKX007.

The SRPE74 is a mid-sized model with a chunky 43mm case. Powered by Seiko’s own automatic movement, it is built to be durable and has 100M of water resistance.

This is gold colouring at its most outrageous. Gold case, gold dial and gold bracelet. There's no subtly here.

That's why this would make a brilliant first automatic watch for a younger buyer.

Seiko 5 SRPE74K1

  • 43mm Diameter
  • 13mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Hardlex Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


Ingersoll Bateman Gold Automatic Watch

The Bateman is a large automatic watch that has a strong military or aviation aesthetic. It's a strong look that emphasises this American brand's long history.

In one form or another, Ingersoll has been continuously producing watches since the late 1880s. They’re best known for their innovation around the mass production of watches. You might have also seen their licencing deals with Disney and their association with Timex.

The styling for the Bateman could have come from Ingersoll’s own back catalogue. It’s reminiscent of a classic military watch, albeit with a larger, modern 45mm case.

The hands hint at an aviation style and the gold-tone case gives the watch an aged appearance. In keeping with the military ethos, the dial layout is simple and legible.

And that is where this watch wins.

It's a straightforward model that looks functional.

Overall, this is a style of watch that I find satisfying. There’s a mixture of military and field watch design points that work well for an informal piece. With the chunky case, mineral crystal and 100M water resistance, it should be a robust watch. It’s certainly a substantial one.

I noted that gold coloured watches are often tacky and too ornate. The Bateman is a brilliant example of gold used on a practical and masculine watch design.

Ingersoll Bateman I01803

  • 45mm Diameter
  • 16mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


Invicta Gold Pro Diver Watch

Invicta also makes big watches. And this colourful dive watch is no exception. But if you're here for a big and bold piece, the Pro Diver could be the watch for you.

It's a straightforward watch that borrows heavily from Rolex's Submariner DNA. It has the basics that you'll need in a divers watch. Water resistance, a rotating bezel and a clean, legible dial.

The bezel is distinctive and is reminiscent of a Rolex Root Beer. It's paired with a simple black dial and large white markers. The markers are circles - like a Rolex - and they match the Mercedes hands.

This Invicta is powered by a trusty Japanese automatic movement. It's both affordable and reliable.

Remember, you can pick up this watch for around £100. So you'd be forgiven for thinking that you'd not get great specs. But you might be pleasantly surprised.

As well as 100M of water resistance, the Pro Diver also has Invicta's flame fusion crystal.

Invicta can be a brand that is difficult to warm to. Their watches are often too big and too gaudy. And at 47mm wide this is a large watch.

But it also shows what the brand does best. Durable and affordable dive watches.

Invicta Pro Diver 35153

  • 47mm Diameter
  • 14mm Thick
  • 24mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Flame Fusion Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 


Mido Ocean Star Gold Watch

This watch from Mido hits a sweet spot. It's a modern dive watch that is neither too modern nor vintage-inspired. It's not a Rolex clone either.

Like some of the other brands here, Mido has some real heritage, with the Ocean Star line making its first appearance at the tail end of the 1950s.

The big innovation of the Ocean Star was the development of a single-piece case. The watches also included Mido’s Aquadura crown system. This used cork to help seal the watch and had been used by the brand since the 1930s.

The current iteration of the Ocean Star is a more contemporary watch, powered by Mido's Caliber 80 automatic movement. It has an 80hr power reserve and is built from a Swiss-made ETA base.

The design is tasteful and sporty. Where many of the Ocean Star line leans more towards being desk divers, this Rose Gold PVD coated model feels like a true dive watch. This is enhanced by the black rubber strap and functional dial.

The Ocean Star is an obvious competitor to the Glycine. Both are entry-level Swiss divers with ETA based movements and good water resistance.

But the size difference is notable.

At 42mm wide this is the more comfortable of the two. The dial layout is less complicated too. Overall, that makes for a compelling watch. An affordable diver with a durable rose-gold case and a Swiss-made mechanical movement.

Mido Ocean Star M026.430.37.051.00

  • 42.5mm Diameter
  • 11.8mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

 


Seiko Alpinist Gold
The Seiko Alpinist is a favourite of mine. It's a mid-sized Japanese watch that harks back to a watch originally released in 1961.

This modern interpretation features the signature inner compass dial and corresponding second crown. It's a distinctive look that makes the Alpinist range instantly recognisable.

The gold-coloured variation is even more vintage-looking than the other models in the line. That theme continues with the cathedral style hands and gilt numerals.

Like the Undone model, the Alpinist uses a leather strap to reinforce this aesthetic.

The result is stunning.

And the specs don't disappoint either. Like all Seiko watches, the Alpinist features a Seiko in-house movement. In this case, that means an automatic movement. The beautiful dial is protected by a sapphire crystal, and in keeping with the sports ethos of the original Alpinist, there is 200M of water resistance.

It's a bold look - unapologetically vintage. And it won't be for everyone. But, if like me, you've been a big fan of the Alpinist line, then this watch is one of the best examples.

If you want gold and you want Japanese innovation, this is an obvious choice.

Seiko Alpinist SPB210J1

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 13mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

 


Conclusion


Gold is bold. Often that's not a good thing. It's too attention-seeking and bright. It's like you're deliberately trying to draw attention to your wrist.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

I hope that my list has shown you that gold-coloured watches can be both affordable and well designed. That with a bit of thought brands - even Invicta - can do gold tastefully.

More than that, they can create watches that are masculine and rugged. Or elegant and functional.

As ever, I've tried to include a range of brands, styles and prices. From inexpensive watches like the Invicta, to entry-level Swiss models from Mido and Glycine.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you wear gold-tone watches? If so, why? And what are your favourite models?

 


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