While demand for two-tone watches (sometimes referred to as “bicolor” watches) is surging in many parts of the world, not all two-tone watches are created equal. Even amid the ongoing Rolex price explosion, two-tone Rolexes are underperforming their brethren. In fact, you can buy several two-tone models for their list prices on Chrono24; this is highly unusual in the Rolex universe. Nevertheless, let’s broaden our field of view and explore some of the most attractive gold and steel watches available now. After all, there are plenty of great options out there. Are you ready to change your mind about steel and gold? Let’s hope so!
Best Two-Tone Watches No. 1: Rolex Datejust
Any list of two-tone watches wouldn’t be complete without the Rolex Datejust. This is the watch that most people think of when they hear “gold and steel.” The Rolex Datejust is the perfect two-tone statement piece, especially variants equipped with a fluted bezel on a Jubilee bracelet – that combo is hard to beat. It’s classy, refined, and perfect as a daily wearer. The Datejust became the archetypical two-tone watch in the late 1970s and 1980s. You could spot it on the wrists of a wide array of people. It also appears on the wrist of crazed Wall Street banker Patrick Bateman in the movie American Psycho.
You simply cannot go wrong with a two-tone Rolex Datejust. The only question you have to answer is: What size? Personally, I would go for the classic 36 mm because it has that typical 80s charm that the larger 41-mm Datejust lacks. However, if the 36-mm option is too small for your wrist, there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing the bigger size. Both are great two-tone watches. I would even go as far as to say that your watch collection is not complete without a Rolex Datejust in steel and gold. You just need one! Both sizes sell for around their list prices: roughly $12,000 for the 36 mm and $13,000 for the 41 mm.
Best Two-Tone Watch No. 2: Tissot PRX
If you like the style and charm of the Rolex Datejust but aren’t willing to spend more than $10,000 on a two-tone watch, there is a perfect, more affordable option for you. Tissot recently released their of watches. They have been very well-received by fans and critics alike. The Tissot PRX has the same 70s charm as the Rolex Oysterquartz and, of course, the late-70s Tissot model it was based on. The PRX is an excellent retro sports watch that comes with the choice of a quartz or mechanical movement.
I think it’s a no-brainer to pick the mechanical version, which comes equipped with the Swatch Group’s automatic Powermatic movement.
The automatic models also feature a tapisserie dial like the one we know and love from the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, adding a level of refinement over the sunburst dial on the quartz model. There are several different two-tone mechanical models on offer. The first is a steel watch with a white dial and gold-colored bezel, hands, and indices. Tissot also recently released a version with a brown dial and gold fluted bezel, hands, and indices. The final option is the one to go for if you want a true steel and gold watch but prefer a white dial. What’s more, at $750, this third version is an absolute bargain. The brown dial version is available for $2,200 – still a steal for a two-tone watch.
Best Two-Tone Watch No. 3: Cartier Santos
Another iconic steel and gold watch is the Cartier Santos. Blessed with the aura of decadence that characterized the 1980s, the two-tone Cartier Santos has become an industry classic. Originally introduced in 1978, the Santos rose to popularity in the 1980s with the crowd that liked to show off their wealth with a classic Cartier look. The combination of gold and steel paired with the white dial, Roman numerals, and characteristic bezel is truly unique. Add the steel bracelet with its gold screws, and you have something one of a kind.
In 2018, Cartier introduced their latest update of the Santos line, including a new bezel shape. The Santos once exclusively featured an iconic square bezel, but the latest Santos links the bezel and the bracelet. This changes the design to some extent, but the iconic two-tone look remains untouched. If you want that typical 1980s Santos style, it can be yours for $11,000.
Best Two-Tone Watch No. 4: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Another classic that looks amazing in steel and gold is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Currently, the brand offers a two-tone rose gold and steel automatic version of their most famous model in 37 mm and 34 mm with a white dial. The 37-mm option is the perfect two-tone statement piece for men. Women can opt for either version, depending on their wrist size. Women also have the option of a 33-mm quartz edition with a striking gold tapisserie dial or a white tapisserie dial and diamond-set bezel.
It’s obvious that the Royal Oak design works well in any material. It doesn’t matter whether it’s platinum, ceramic, titanium, steel, gold, or a combination of steel and gold. The 37-mm Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding is available for $30,000, while the 34-mm version goes for $26,000. If you are unable to find one through an Audemars Piguet boutique, you will find that these models currently sell for slightly over list price on the secondary market. That being said, prices are nowhere near as crazy as those for steel models. Buying a two-tone watch is a great way to purchase a Royal Oak for less money.
Best Two-Tone Watch No.5: Omega Seamaster Professional 300M Diver
The last watch on our list is a steel and gold diving watch. While a two-tone design might not align with the utilitarian character of this watch category, what a glorious fashion statement it is! The two-tone Omega Seamaster Professional 300M debuted in 2018 as part of the latest series of Seamaster Professional 300M divers. From the get-go, the combination of Omega’s proprietary Sedna gold, stainless steel, and black stood out as the most stylish option among its peers. The watch comes with a stainless steel case and a Sedna gold crown, helium escape valve, and bezel accents. The black ceramic bezel and dial with its laser-etched wave pattern contrast nicely with the lighter elements.
The watch comes on a rubber strap, giving it the versatility to adapt to a variety of situations flawlessly. It is perfect for casual occasions as well as more formal situations that require a suit and tie. While the current Omega Seamaster Professional 300M Diver “No Time To Die” is a brilliant Bond watch, this could have also been the perfect pick for Bond. It will be interesting to see what the new Bond wears in the next 007 movie. I know this would be my pick at $7,500. It is, without question, my favorite two-tone watch currently available.
Obviously, there are a lot more than five watches that perfectly demonstrate the brilliance of steel and gold. I’ll quickly mention a few other options. If you are looking for a two-tone watch, be sure to also check out the Tudor Black Bay Chrono S&G, the recent Rolex Explorer in steel and gold, the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 in rose gold and steel, the Rolex GMT-Master Root Beer, the standard Tudor Black Bay S&G, the two-tone version of the Longines HydroConquest, and the Bell & Ross BR05 in steel and gold. In short, there are plenty of options out there. So, if you are in the market for a steel and gold watch, happy hunting!