Are Yellow Gold Rolex Watches Gaudy?

July 19, 2016

In the past few decades, fashion trends have made white gold jewelry and watches more popular than their yellow gold counterparts as far as precious metal configurations go. This has prompted many to refer to yellow gold wristwatches as gaudy in comparison. However, it is interesting to note that yellow gold Rolex configurations are actually priced lower than white gold configurations, making those who refer to them as gaudy seem misinformed. After all, the term gaudy denotes extravagance, so it would make more sense to refer to platinum or white gold configurations as such based on the empirical evidence. 
Photo of Yellow Gold Rolex GMT-Master II (photo: Rolex)
Yellow Gold Rolex GMT-Master II (photo: Rolex)
The reason people seem to have an issue with yellow gold watches could be attributed to the fact that they stand out more so than white gold configurations due to their vibrant hue. Even though a white gold watch has a bigger price tag, a yellow gold watch demands more attention - something that makes many people uncomfortable. While I would agree that a yellow gold watch could be considered more flashy than a stainless steel or white gold watch based on its color, I wouldn't conflate that with a desire for ostentation.

Another contributing factor to people preferring white gold over yellow gold has to do with the fact that interior design trends have also favored cool tones over warm tones in the modern era. Our eyes are more accustomed to seeing cool metallic tones in luxury, well-appointed environments, making yellow gold seem tacky by comparison. However, it would be difficult to make the claim that using yellow gold is in poor taste when you experience the majestic beauty of the interiors at the Palace at Versailles and St. Peter's Basilica or look at the golden treasures of ancient Egypt at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The use of yellow gold for jewelry dates back several millennia. The element was considered a product of the gods by the Aztecs in North America and has been found in ancient artifacts from Europe, Africa and Asia. It may have fallen out of favor in the western world over the past few years, but its historical and cultural significance should not be overlooked.

It's completely acceptable to say that you prefer white gold over yellow gold based on personal aesthetic. We are all entitled to our own opinions, after all. However, to refer to yellow gold watches as gaudy or tacky just because you don't like them is divisive and unnecessary. For many people, yellow gold watches represent the splendor and traditions of antiquity and hold sentimental value that goes beyond current trends. They may not be for everybody, but they aren't anymore gaudy than gold watches of any other color.


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