White gold is the new steel for Rolex watch collectors


Within the secondary watch market, the tremors of a global recession are beginning to be felt.

While market values are dropping for many brands and styles as demand wanes, a select few are experiencing an uplift and there are rich seams of demand in certain new materials.

Danny Shahid, owner of secondary market specialist DWL in London, explains why white gold is becoming the collector’s construction of choice.


White gold is the new steel

Often overlooked because of its resemblance to tough and inexpensive stainless steel, white gold sits in the middle ground between the opulence of yellow and rose gold and the sense of understated luxury offered by platinum.

High end white gold timepieces are typically denoted by subtle stylistic markers that only collectors would recognize.

These can include unique dial variants, unusual movement setups and slightly altered constructions.

White gold flies under the radar but carries an impressive weight on the wrist.

Those in the know are beginning to make the most of the recent drop in prices to snap up white gold watches that once carried high secondary market premiums, to the point where their deflated prices are beginning to rise again.

There is no brand where this is more apparent than Rolex.

Among Rolex’s catalog of iconic timepieces, few have enjoyed a swell in demand more than the white gold variants of the Daytona and the GMT-Master II.

With the stainless steel models of these watches still multiples of their original retail values, their white gold counterparts are comparatively better value as their secondary price remains closer to their retail price.

Stretching one’s budget slightly to acquire a white gold variant makes economic sense.

Not only is their value sustained by supply and demand (as with stainless steel), but their precious metal construction adds intrinsic value.

Aiding this even further is their lesser supply and a wider selection of dial variants.

White gold Rolex Daytona

Rolex Daytona white gold blue dial ref.116509.

One of the most sought-after white gold Daytona variants over the last few years has been the blue dial ref. 116509.

Marrying one of watchmaking’s favorite dial colors with one of its most popular timepieces has undoubtedly been a success and has paid dividends for Rolex as the stainless steel Daytona is offered only with either a white or black dial.

Rolex Daytona white gold grey dial ref.116519LN.

The 2017 launch of the grey dial ref. 116519 Daytona on the Oysterflex bracelet has also been successful, taking the model into the domain of casual versatility dominated since the late 1990s by rubber strapped watches including the Royal Oak Offshore and Patek Philippe Aquanaut.

White gold Rolex GMT-Master II

Both of the GMT-Master II’s white gold variants have begun to benefit from fresh demand for white gold timepieces.

GMT-Master II white gold blue dial ref.126719BLRO.

The blue dialed GMT-Master II combines one of watchmaking’s favorite dial colors with one of its most sought-after materials, while the other 18kt white gold GMT-Master II variant’s unique factor is that it boasts an unusual meteorite dial.

GMT-Master II white gold meteorite dial 126719BLRO.

Launched in 2019, the meteorite GMT-Master II has begun to make its mark on the market as collectors frenzy over its understated monochromatic aesthetic that epitomizes the “if you know, you know” appeal that its white gold construction already speaks to.

Recovery or individual trend?

While we seem a long way from economic recovery, the emergence of trends within the upper echelons of the watch market bode well.

Collectors’ tastes are simply changing in line with what makes more economic sense and, from that point of view, white gold is a no-brainer.

Danny Shahid.

Danny Shahid’s flagship DWL shop is in Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade, the home of luxury boutiques. DWL has more than 15 years’ experience in sourcing rare and big name watches, some of which are subject to lengthy waiting lists elsewhere. Staff are often asked for their expert opinion by fellow jewellers and retailers. The luxury watch experts’ stock is constantly changing but they have immediate access to more than one hundred exquisite models, most worth between £10,000 and £40,000 but some with a value of up to £500,000.

For more information about DWL, please visit www.diamondwatcheslondon.com and to find out more about Danny Shahid, follow @excellencebydanny on Instagram.

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