I’m always intrigued by this question, because it makes me believe that people don’t really understand what gold plating is.
Do watches that are gold plated lose their gold coloring?
Do they lose their gold plating, peel and wear off?
Does the band fade?
Yes, yes, yes, it fades.
Without a doubt, the answer to all those questions is yes.
That’s the nature of gold plating. It wears down, rubs off, fades and exposes the white base metal beneath. Plating is basically just an outside layer or shell of gold overlay that covers up your watch (or any gold plated jewelry).
And, almost all yellow watches are plated.
Gold plated watches are very popular. In fact, 95% of all yellow tone watches sold are plated. People love the look of gold, but as you would guess, they don’t like paying for them. Solid gold watches are extremely expensive, so watch manufacturers do the next best thing… They gold plate their watches so they look like solid gold, but aren’t. It works fine. It fills the customer’s need for yellow gold, and they sell like hot cakes.
Gold plated watches can sell for just a couple bucks, or a couple of hundred bucks. Generally speaking, the more expensive the watch is, the thicker the gold plating probably is. The thicker the plating, the longer that color will last.
With watches in the upper price range (usually a hundred and up) you’ll actually get a decent looking watch that will last you for many years of use to come.
Most watches have a life span of 3-7 years.
Usually after that, people will either tire of their watch, the watch band will break, or the plating will wear off and start to look nasty, old and whitish (or silver, whatever the base metal color is). Then it’s time to invest in a new watch. Not a big deal.
Upgrade your watch:
You could always upgrade and get a solid gold watch that will never fade or turn colors. But it’s all up to your pocket book. Some gold watches could run you into the thousands (the normal is $500+). It all depends on the brand you choose, and if it actually has diamonds in it as well.
Most people are comfortable spending a hundred or two on a gold plated watch. And if you have a couple watches, you can switch between them, and you’ll actually get twice as much use from them.
There’s nothing wrong with gold plated watches, as long as you know they’re plated.
What about wear and tear?
Now as far as the wear and tear on these watches, normally the part of the watch that wears down the fastest is the clasp area. That’s the spot that always gets beat up and scratched, banged, peeled, chipped, or worn down. That’s where you’ll notice it turning white first (the edges of your links turn white second. Then around the hinges and bezel of the watch third).
Keep in mind, when the gold plating wears down and exposes the base metal beneath, there’s not much you can do. Gold plated watches cannot be replated. Plus, the worn plating may cause an allergic reaction to your skin. Some people are allergic to base metals because of the nickel involved. It breaks them out in red, bumpy rashes. Ouch!
If that’s the case, you may want to look into a solid gold wrist watch, or just do what a lot of people do… They switch watch colors and get a stainless steel watch instead (or a titanium watch). That may be the best cure for gold plated watches yet.
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Author Richard Scott. Certified Diamontologist\Gemologist. 30 years of experience.
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