AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW


The eternal allure of gold – in all its forms – continues to inspire watch design. contemporary watch collections are rich with yellow, rose, pink, red and white gold pieces. here are some of the finest gold wristwatches currently available at Watches of Switzerland
Words Robin Swithinbank Photography Mitch Payne
Jaeger-LeCoultre
Grande Reverso Lady Ultra Thin Duetto Duo
The principle behind Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Duetto is to have two sets of hands on two dials running independently off one movement. Only one of these dials is visible at any one time – the iconic Reverso case is engineered to flip so the wearer can choose between looks, and in this case between two time zones, as they please. This manually wound ladies’ model is cast in pink gold and set on an alligator strap. The ‘front-side’ dial has a silvered guilloché and sunray-brushed finish; the ‘reverse’ is mother-of-pearl. The eternal appeal of the Reverso design is in its flexible elegance. This ultra-thin example is a classic dress watch by day, and a delicate, perhaps even provocative gem by night.
Price: £16,300

Patek Philippe
Nautilus
Ref 5980/1R-001
The simmering 1970s cool of Patek’s Nautilus sports watch belongs in a sub-culture almost of its own – one that’s currently enjoying a revival. The original steel model came up for air in 1976 and was penned by the late Gérald Genta, whose reputation as one of the greatest of all watch designers continues to blossom two years after his death. Only in recent years has Patek started adding complications to the Nautilus beyond time and date. This new rose gold model has a chronograph, represented by a central seconds hand, and a lone sub-dial at 6 o’clock, which registers elapsed times up to 12 hours in length. Needless to say, it carries the Patek Philippe Seal, a hallmark that attests to the superlative quality standards applied to every aspect of the watch.
Price: £61,530

Omega
Constellation Sedna
Omega’s pursuit of advanced watchmaking materials has produced a number of significant innovations. The latest is Sedna, an 18-carat gold that’s actually a blend of gold, copper and palladium. While the copper gives the metal its rich, reddish colour, the palladium ensures it has a much longer-lasting lustre. The name Sedna comes from both a ‘trans-Neptunian’ object identified by astronomers, and a name given to an Inuit goddess said to live at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. Inside the 38mm case is Omega’s chronometer-certified Co-Axial 8501 calibre, which uses the brand’s low-friction, high-efficiency Si14 silicon balance wheel technology and has a 60-hour power reserve. The dial evokes the ‘pie-pan’ design of early Constellations, and the watch is limited to 1,952 pieces, in honour of the year the model was launched.
Price: £13,510

Audemars Piguet
Jules Audemars Small Seconds
As soon as new company boss François-Henry Bennahmias had got his feet under the Audemars Piguet table, he announced that the brand would be expanding its ladies’ collection. This, he said, was due in part to a rapid growth in global demand for ladies’ mechanical timepieces, but also to the continuing success of his brand’s existing collection, which includes mechanical beauties like this 18-carat pink gold 33mm Jules Audemars Small Seconds. While its diamond-set bezel and hour markers are hallmarks of a jewellery piece, it’s first and foremost a watch. At its heart is Audemars Piguet’s hand-finished Calibre 3090 Manufacture movement, a manually wound unit with a 48-hour power reserve that’s visible through
a sapphire crystal case back.
Price: £26,690
Breitling
Navitimer 01
In 1952, Breitling introduced the Navitimer, a watch that combined ‘the features of a chronograph with a pilot’s computer’. Breitling had always obsessed over chronographs, but the Navitimer added unprecedented functionality. Its slide-rule bezel could be used to calculate speed and flight times, and quickly became the
go-to instrument for pilots looking for a reliable wristwatch that would serve as much as a tool as an indicator of their style and masculinity. Of course, by association, it simultaneously became a cult symbol of derring-do, which is why it has endured for more than 60 years with only the slightest of design changes. This latest red gold model is equipped with Breitling Calibre 01, the brand’s state-of-the-art chronometer-certified chronograph.
Price: £17,200

Baume & Mercier
Clifton
The Clifton is one of this year’s big success stories. Its simple, round case and classic masculine looks were inspired by a 1950s original, but are very of their time, too. What’s more, the collection is very reasonably priced, offering mechanical movements and no-nonsense functionality in a very affordable package. This solid 18-carat gold version is a case in point. Its automatic, Swiss Made movement provides the watch with a central seconds hand and date indication, a sun satin-finished anthracite dial, gilt Arabic numerals and indexes, an alligator strap and a sapphire crystal case back – all at a scarcely believable price. On the wrist, its well-judged proportions (the case is 39mm in diameter and a slender 9.41mm thick) make it a practical everyday timepiece – just one with enormous class and charm.
Price: £4,400
Zenith
Pilot Montre D’Aéronef Type 20 Lady
Having teased watch aficionados with a limited, much-oversubscribed 57.5mm version of its pocket watch- inspired Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 wristwatch in 2012, Zenith has opened up the line for 2013. The collection now includes a 40mm automatic, with a number of executions aimed squarely at women. One of those is this rose gold 40mm model. The new piece’s design cues come from early Zenith pilot’s watches (Louis Blériot wore a Zenith when becoming the first man to fly over the English Channel in 1909), but it has a number of contemporary twists. The bezel is now set with diamonds totalling 0.95 carats, and the vintage Arabic numerals are cast in Super-LumiNova.
Price: £13,400

Rolex
Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona
The ‘standard’ Daytona, cast in steel or gold, is among the world’s most desirable watches, with waiting lists
said to stretch to a year and more. Special-edition pieces like this white gold ‘Rainbow’ model are rarer still. Much of this is down to nature. The stones used around the bezel (where normally you’d find a tachymeter) have to conform to very strict criteria in order to achieve the extraordinary blending effect. Although the watch isn’t limited to a preordained quantity, Rolex has said production will be limited by the availability of the right stones – 36 are required for each piece. Further details include diamond-set shoulders, diamond-set hour markers, Rolex’s in-house three-day-power-reserve calibre 4130 chronograph, and chronograph sub-dials decorated with ‘gold crystals’ – a material that creates an effect reminiscent of meteorite.
Price: £61,850

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