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Gold watches: Solid metal vs. plated

Is it better for a watch to be solid gold or just gold plated?


Techniques for plating watch cases and bracelets have improved over the years, though their main objective has been to reduce the cost of the gold required to achieve the desired coating.


Modern processes such as PVD plating have improved the gold’s adhering to the base metal and only require an extremely thin layer of gold.


Older plated watches such as “rolled gold” and “gold filled” cases had to use so much more gold to successfully plate the case.

The positive consequence of this was there was more gold that would need wearing away before the base metal would be exposed.


Without the ability to spread the gold as thinly as they would have liked, older plated watches have managed to keep their good looks for longer.


Pros of a solid gold case/bracelet:

  1. Colour never fades and looks great when polished.

  2. Scratches can be refurbished, unlike plated metal that would have base metal core exposed.


Pros of a gold plated case/bracelet:

  1. Lighter weight and greater variety of options for base metal for an often stronger build.

  2. Cheaper to manufacturer and watches cost much less to buy than solid gold watches.

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