The 30 Best Yellow Gold Watches at European Watch Company

Yellow gold watches have long been synonymous with luxury. The material gives off an aura of prestige, quality, and desirability and for generations, has been revered for its wrist presence and visual beauty. Today, we are taking a look at 30 of our favorite yellow gold watches that have come through the doors of European Watch Company over the years. These pieces cover a wide range in price, style, and taste and we think there’s a little something for everyone here. Let’s get started.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5085/1J-001

When you imagine a Patek Philippe with an integrated bracelet, your mind probably goes right to the Nautilus. The reference 5085/1J-001, introduced in 1988, however, is another integrated bracelet design from Patek. While not as popular as the 5711 (or 5811), the 5085 is powered by the legendary Calibre 240 PS movement and offers a number of complications, including power reserve, moonphase, date window, and running seconds. Furthermore, this example comes fitted on a beautiful beads-of-rice style bracelet that is extremely supple and comfortable on the wrist. Compared to other solid gold Patek watches on bracelets, this reference offers great value, and is also quite rare. 

Patek Philippe World Time Cloisonne Enamel Dial Ref. 5231J

Next up is a personal favorite, the Patek Philippe World Time 5231J, a watch that doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention it deserves. The reference 5231 combines the famous Patek world time with a gorgeous (and I use that word sparingly) enamel dial. Referred to as a cloisonne enameling process, these dials are extremely labor intensive, combining hand-painted elements with applied gold. To get a wristwatch like this from Patek, you can’t simply put your name on a waitlist. You need pre-approval just to get on the waitlist! With only a few artisans capable of creating the dials of these masterpieces, Patek turns out very few examples each year. These watches are massively undervalued for their beauty and if you haven’t handled one in person, you are seriously missing out! 

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 3800J

The ultimate yellow gold timepiece of the 1980’s, the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 3800 with blue dial is the collectible gold sports watch of the era. This piece is perfectly sized for those that value slightly more reserved pieces. At 33mm x 37mm, the watch wears larger than its size might suggest because of the ‘ears’ on the case. It’s certainly a bit more modest than a contemporary Nautilus, but the solid gold case and bracelet ensure that you feel every link of gold on the wrist. The reference 3800 was introduced in 1981 as a slightly smaller version of the reference 3700 (which was released in 1976 as Patek’s first Nautilus). 

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5065J

Our next pick is another iconic sports watch from Patek, albeit a slightly more recent one. Inspired by the success of the Nautilus, Patek debuted the Aquanaut in 1997. Few would have guessed just how desirable the Aquanaut would become with demand driven in part by how difficult it has been to land a Nautilus in recent years. Ironically, Aquanauts have become just as hard to get! As with many of the extremely popular steel sports models from Patek, upgrading to precious metal doesn’t necessarily mean spending that much more, since steel variants are already so expensive. In this case, a reference 5065J in 18k yellow gold provides a 38mm Patek sports watch with an exhibition caseback and the model’s signature “tropic” rubber strap.

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 3940J

Perhaps the most famous perpetual calendar reference in Patek’s history, the Ref. 3940 was introduced in 1985. Considered by many to be a perfect watch, the 3940 got a lot right. It was sized at 36mm, introduced Patek’s three-register perpetual calendar layout, and utilized the legendary calibre 240Q micro-rotor movement that is still used in the modern collections! While the 3940 was made in many metals, the yellow gold model is the most classic and most popular. There’s a certain classy charm that the 3940 possesses that is unique to the model, and it’s for this reason that collectors worldwide regard the 3940 as one of the most important watches in Patek’s archive. 

Patek Philippe Chronograph Ref. 5170J

The final Patek Philippe on our list is one that pays homage to the brand’s heritage in the manually-wound chronograph category. Sized beautifully at 39mm, the reference 5170 is a modern favorite among lovers of dress chronographs. The model was influenced by earlier vintage Patek chronographs and “wears” those details extremely well, including a stunning white dial, and mixed Roman and stick index dial coupled with a pulsometer scale that brings a vintage aura to the modern piece. Inside, you get a beautifully-finished Patek caliber CH 29-535 PS visible through the sapphire caseback. There’s a lot to love about this reference.  

A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Ref. 403.041 “Yellowjacker” 

Within the world of A. Lange & Sohne, the ref. 403.041 Datograph “Yellowjacket” is a true grail. The Lange Datograph is one of the brand’s most significant watches and was the first serially produced in-house manually-wound chronograph movement from a premier brand when it was introduced. The Datograph turned the industry upside-down when it was launched in 1999. Most commonly produced in platinum or pink gold, the yellow gold “Yellowjacket” seen here is the rarest and most collectible variant, produced off-catalog for only 2 years total and in extremely limited numbers. For the discerning Lange collector (or just an admirer of the look), this is a gem.

A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Ref. 101.001 First Series

Another piece from A. Lange & Sohne, the Lange 1 reference 101.001, was the watch that started it all for the modern Lange brand. Following the rebirth of the manufacture in the 1990s, Lange presented four watches in its inaugural collection in 1994, the most impactful of which was the Lange 1. Prized for its unique dial and bold aesthetics, the Lange 1 today is a symbol of the German watchmaking industry as a whole. This first series Lange 1 has a closed caseback, a rare feature for a Lange timepiece (especially given the exceptional finishing of all Lange movements!) and occupies a special and significant place in the brand’s catalog. While unassuming and nearly indistinguishable from a modern Lange 1, this is an extremely important watch that will be collectible for years to come. 

A. Lange & Sohne Cabaret Ref. 107.021

The final Lange reference on our list, the ref. 107.021 Cabaret, stands out from pretty much everything else in the brand’s catalog. Lange rarely does anything outside of the traditional circular case shape, but the Cabaret features an eccentric tank-style. While the piece never enjoyed the popularity of many of the brand’s other pieces, it nonetheless brings a distinctly German twist to a rectangular watch, with diamond and Roman indexes, the iconic big date, sword hands, and of course, a beautiful manually-wound movement with Lange’s impeccable finishing and craftsmanship. The movement is also rectangular and designed specifically for the case (which isn’t always the norm!) If you like the aesthetic of a rectangular watch, this piece is a fantastic value and deserves a second look.  

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duoface Ref. Q270154 

In the world of classic dress watches, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso has always been a great value. Even when cased in precious metal, you get an excellent watch for the price of many steel watches without sacrificing quality. The reference Q270154 features a full yellow gold case and is a Duoface Reverso, meaning that the watch has two dials that display two distinct timezones, one on the front and one on the reverse side of the case. As with many Reversos, this reference features beautiful multi-textured guilloché dials and attractive finishes. This is a great piece that checks lots of boxes– recognizable design, precious metal case, great brand and movement, all at an attractive price. That’s a winning formula in our book!

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre a Chronographe Ref. Q6011420 

Another JLC that (in my mind) is so cheap it’s a crime is the Duometre a Chronographe. This unique piece features a distinctive and extremely complicated chronograph mechanism fueled by twin mainsprings. The watch is so complicated, it wouldn’t be a surprise if it came with a six figure price tag. The watch features two distinct mechanisms within the movement, one for the timing and the other for the chronograph (note that the chrono counts down to 1/6th of a second!), and features a sapphire caseback to show off the dizzying collection of hand finished components. These watches are special, and if you want a truly complicated watch for the price of many time-only Pateks, look no further than the Duometre collection. Plus, this example is one of just 300 made. The value here is insane and would be an impressive watch at 3 times the price!

Breguet La Tradition Ref. 7027BA/11/9V6

Breguet is one of the oldest and most storied watch brands in the industry, and while they have continuously innovated since the brand’s founding in 1775, they have stayed true to their heritage. The Tradition collection, first introduced in 2005, is a great example of this. The line was created to honor the early “souscription” pocket watches Breguet manufactured in its earliest days and the connection is obvious. All Tradition watches manage to be both modern and classic in appearance, and are some of Breguet’s most popular pieces in their current collection. The 7027BA takes the standard Breguet Tradition DNA and constructs it entirely from yellow gold. While the watch is all gold, it doesn’t look over the top. As a great dress piece and an excellent foray into the world of Breguet, the Tradition 7027 is one of our favorite yellow gold watches, period. 

Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar Ref. 3050BA 

If you’re looking for a more traditional Breguet, consider the Classique Perpetual Calendar ref. 3050BA. This beautiful perpetual calendar is as classic as it gets. Razor thin, yellow gold, 36mm, automatic winding, with a stunning guilloché dial and an alligator strap, what’s not to like? This watch also costs about half of what the equivalent Patek would, providing another excellent value proposition. This piece captures the essence of Breguet as a brand and is an excellent option for any dress watch lover. 

Cartier Pebble Limited Edition Ref. WGPB0003

Cartier Pebble Limited Edition Yellow Gold 2023 Ref. WGPB0003

A fan favorite in the EWC office, the limited edition Cartier Pebble is a serious gem in the Cartier collection. Cartier is well known for its unique case designs (models like the Crash have shaken the traditional approach to watch aesthetics for decades), and auctions in the 2020s drew attention to a relatively forgotten Cartier piece from the 1970’s, the Pebble. A round and domed case containing an off-kilter diamond-shaped dial, it’s a funky, retro piece that piqued collector interest over the last few years. Cartier decided to create a 150 piece limited edition recreation in 2022 and if you strap this fantastic yellow gold watch to your wrist, it is sure to turn the heads of those in the know. 

Audemars Piguet Quantieme Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5548BA

Our next pick is an underrated piece from Audemars Piguet. While AP is universally known for the Royal Oak, the brand’s more distant history lies not in the sports watch realm but rather in dress complications. This ref. 5548BA Quantieme Perpetual Calendar pays homage to this legacy. Produced in the 80s, this unassuming yellow gold perpetual follows a similar formula to the Breguet Classique 3050BA highlighted above. A thin 36mm precious metal case housing an automatic winding movement, these watches represent a different era of Audemars Piguet when the brand was making dress watches to rival Patek and Vacheron. 

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra Thin Ref. 16202BA.OO.1240BA.02

Moving towards the core of the Audemars Piguet brand in the modern era, the Royal Oak ref. 16202BA presents the classic Royal Oak design of 1972 with a distinctly modern twist. Sized at 39mm and with an extra thin profile, this piece is accented by its statement dial which features the classic petit-tapisserie pattern with an ombre gold finish that fades outward to black. This adds a flash of contrast to the dial and makes the watch less monochromatic than a typical pure gold piece with a champagne dial. This is definitely a future classic.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Ref. 79018V

While Tudor is best known for its vintage-inspired steel sports pieces, the brand has also branched out to offer more alternative metals and editions. When cased in silver or bronze, watches like the Black Bay possess a completely different spirit than their standard steel brethren. In the case of the ref. 79018V seen here, when the design is paired with yellow gold and an olive green dial and bezel, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight takes on a unique personality. Plus, you’d be hard pressed to find a full gold sports piece for a better price. This is an excellent all-gold dive watch to consider for your collection. 

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch “Moonshine” Ref. 310. 

Continuing with the theme of classic watches in unique configurations, next up is the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional in “Moonshine” yellow gold. Per Omega, “Moonshine” gold has a paler hue than traditional 18k yellow gold and high resistance to the fading of color and lustre over time. One of the few points of criticism for the modern Speedmaster is that the bracelet feels light compared to the watch. Executed in yellow gold, however, the watch has a much more solid presence on the wrist and feels better balanced. Beyond the case and bracelet metal, this edition also comes with a green dial which helps this model stick out even more from more conventional Speedmasters. We’re pretty sure we’ll never see one of these stepping out of a lunar lander, but the gold and green complement one another beautifully and look right at home down here on Earth.

Rolex Daytona “John Mayer” Ref. 116508

The Rolex Daytona Ref. 116508 is one of our favorite Daytonas that you can buy today. Nicknamed the “John Mayer” Daytona, the musician (and serious watch collector) mentioned in a Hodinkee interview that it was one of his favorite pieces. Like the Speedmaster above, this Daytona also pairs a yellow gold case and bracelet with a green dial. Perhaps more important, however, is the fact that Rolex used an all-gold bezel instead of the ceramic found on many modern references. The metal-bezeled Daytonas feel a bit more consistent with the history of the Daytona, and perhaps for this reason, they remain a popular favorite for Rolex collectors. That being said, good luck getting your hands on the reference 116508! These are quite hard to come by.  Thanks Mayer…

Rolex Yacht-Master Ref. 226658

Released in 1992 specifically to be Rolex’s most luxurious sports watch, the Yacht-Master has gone through quite an evolution over the years. The reference 226658 seen here represents the modern end of the Yacht-Master model line. Cased in 42mm of solid yellow gold, this piece is extremely comfortable on the wrist in spite of its size thanks in part to the rubber Oysterflex strap. The matte ceramic bezel insert with polished minute indicators is a nice touch as well and produces a stealthy look that is extremely unique. Not everyone loves it, but what good watch is universally appreciated by everyone?

Rolex Day-Date President Ref. 228238

When people think of the ultimate “old man” watch, they typically think of a vintage yellow gold Rolex Day-Date with a President bracelet. In the here and now, Rolex has taken the DNA of the model and modernized it to make the Day-Date collection look anything but dated. The reference 228238 is a solid watch on the wrist and with a full gold bracelet and case, you will feel the presence of the piece when you wear it. That said, that’s a big part of the gold watch experience. If you want something light, stick with titanium. Looking for a statement piece that looks just at home on the wrist of your grandfather as it does on yours? Opt for the Rolex Day Date ref. 228238. 

Rolex GMT Master II Ref. 126718

The look of a solid gold Rolex sports watch is one of the classic images of the luxury watch industry as a whole. Once a practical tool watch, Rolex sports pieces are now perceived as symbols of achievement and accomplishment. In a modern context, the yellow gold GMT-Master II ref. 126718 is one of the flagship watches of this kind. Maintaining the DNA of early GMT Masters that helped put Rolex on the map, this piece features updated materials such as ceramic on the bezel, and a fully revamped movement architecture. These watches follow a successful formula that Rolex has stuck to since 1905, and we only expect to see the brand continue to build on this for the next 100 years. 

Cartier Santos Medium Ref. WGSA0030

While typically not associated with sports pieces, the Cartier Santos was initially designed as an aviation piece for legendary pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont. In the years since its introduction, the Santos collection has been a pillar of the Cartier watch family. On its surface, it would make far more sense for a task-oriented watch to be constructed out of a durable, task-oriented material like steel. It might seem odd to give a sports watch like the Santos the full gold treatment, but using 18k yellow gold underscores the fact that luxury watches aren’t just about utility. They are also about aesthetics and emotions. That’s what matters, and that’s why a yellow gold GMT or Santos is regarded as a benchmark of modern luxury. Plus, they’re just way cooler!

Cartier Santos Dumont Ultra Thin Ref. 1576

If you like the Santos look but want something dressier, consider the ref. 1576 Santos Dumont Ultra Thin. This piece preserves the same thin profile, exposed screws, square case, and beautiful Roman dial, but wears much smaller on its leather strap. Plus, if you take a closer look at the dial, you’ll notice a beautiful guilloche finish. Where the Santos Medium mentioned above is a modern sporty luxury piece, this is the reserved dress version with all of the same DNA. It’s the same look for different collectors and in our mind, you can’t go wrong with either one. 

Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 Ref. 4200H/222J-B935 

The Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 that was introduced in 2022 reimagined the iconic 1977 reference 222 that was issued to celebrate the brand’s 222nd anniversary. Everyone knows that integrated bracelet sports watches have been on trend, but until recently the Historiques seemed to attract less attention. At the same time, the model has always been popular in a subset of the watch community that appreciates vintage designs. With the rerelease of the ref. 4200H in 2022, the 222 is now getting love from a completely new generation of watch collectors. And even though it is hard to get and commands a premium similar to that of a Nautilus or Royal Oak, it’s a worthy competitior to both of those pieces. Now we just hope it is released in stainless steel sometime soon.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Ref. 82035/000J-9717

Another incredibly unique Vacheron Constantin timepiece is the the ref. 82035 Historiques American 1921. This piece is characterized by its distinctive off-kilter dial that was designed with drivers in mind. The design is further elevated by a textured dial, unique numerals and hands, and a funky cushion case. This particular variant in yellow gold is a limited edition of only 64 examples made for the New York Vacheron boutique. You don’t typically find these pieces in yellow gold with most of the regular production pieces cased in rose gold or platinum. This piece is a standout and provides an experience you aren’t likely to find elsewhere. 

Zenith El Primero G381 Revival Ref. 30.G381.400/21.C807

The Zenith El-Primero is one of the industry’s most significant watches. Part of the battle to create the first automatic-winding chronograph, the El-Primero played an important role in the development of many modern sport watches including the Rolex Daytona. Released to celebrate 50 years of the El-Primero movement, this limited edition Zenith G381 Revival is one of only 50 pieces that commemorates the legacy of the El-Primero in an all-gold package. This is the perfect pick for a lover of the El-Primero collection or merely an admirer of the iconic design!

Urwerk UR-100V Electrum

Urwerk is famous for its “out there” avant-garde design language, and the UR-100V Electrum is the perfect example. Limited to only 25 pieces, the UR-100V Electrum features a grooved yellow gold case that contains a wandering hours complication beneath a domed sapphire crystal. Looking almost like a spaceship or a UFO, the UR-100V demonstrates why the brand has attained such a strong following. Urwerk designs watches differently, and for this, they deserve the respect they receive from the industry and collectors alike. Their watches are a bit polarizing, but for those that like it, nothing else compares. 

H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Concept Ref. 321.503

Prized first and foremost for its dials, H. Moser & Cie watches need to be experienced in person to be fully appreciated. This Endeavour Concept in yellow gold is no exception. Its beautiful black guilloche dial contrasts dramatically with the yellow gold case and makes for a wholly modern dress piece. Flip the watch over and you’ll see the equally beautiful hand-finished calibre HMC 321.503 movement beneath the sapphire display back. While all Moser watches are relatively rare given the fact that the brand only produces a small number each year, this specific reference is one of only 10 in the world. 

De Bethune DB5 Ref. DB5YT 

Hailing from the early days of De Bethune, the DB5 looks just like any other classy dress watch. Over the years, De Bethune has gone through a design evolution, shifting away from a relatively reserved aesthetic to a much more modern design language. This DB5, however, shows off the early aesthetics that helped the brand take off. In addition to the unique lugs, this watch also features a guilloche dial, Breguet hands, and blue Roman numerals, all details that are regularly found on a traditional dress watch. Buy these while they are still affordable as De Bethune’s reputation continues to grow within the watch industry and we can expect these rare early references to quickly pass into the realm of unobtanium. 

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