Trends become popular and then fade away. However, some faded ones somehow find their way into fashion and our lives more robust than ever. In our opinion, two-tone watches are among those trends. Undeniable vintage aesthetics and charming warm tones make this category an instant win.
Two-tone watches are referred to as timepieces that combine two different metals, such as a white-gold case with a rose or yellow-gold bezel. This mix of metals comes with stainless steel and gold plating in the more modern and affordable duo-tone versions. According to an article by Martin Green of Quill and Pad, the two-tone watch lovers consider them the perfect mix between a sporty-looking watch and a dress watch. Danny Milton of Hodinkee says stainless steel is a safe choice, and gold is a safe choice. But both require a commitment to one kind of material. You must choose. Two-tone doesn't make you choose. It's the best of both worlds.
Thanks to Rolex, two-tone wristwatches were popularized in the late 1920s when Rolex started producing watches with a mix of colors on the cases and bracelets. This was the Art Deco era where untraditional elegance and luxuriousness entered the fashion, style, and culture of people and became a symbol of wealth and sophistication. Following Rolex, other major brands adopted the two-tone concept and produced anti-traditional timepieces that blended various metals together. Vacheron Constantine, the master of unusual cases and lugs, is the most noteworthy name that offered two-tone watches.
Like any other industry, watch industry trends are not immune to mortality. When it comes to watches, certain styles rise and then fall. For the duo-tone timepieces, the first era was short due to the Great Depression and World War II, where glamour and a glitzy lifestyle were subdued and gave place to a more conservative lifestyle. As a result, yellow gold jewelry and timepieces started to be seen much less in men. However, that was not end of the story. According to an article by A Collected Man, this watch category saw a massive boom in the 1980s. The fame returned, and two-tone watches became sought-after again when houses, such as Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Rolex, issued their most popular lines in combo metals.
Two-tone elements don’t necessarily have to be the bezel, crown, or bracelet. They can also be seen only on the indices and hands of the dial. In this type of duo-tone timepiece, the case is fully stainless steel and the indices of the dial that can be stick markers, Arabic or Roman numerals, are in rose or yellow gold. In the more affordable sector, the contrasting metal is usually gold-plated brass or steel, which is still as beautiful as real gold, just much more accessible. Omega and Longines vintage timepieces offered some of the most beautiful two-tone timepieces where only the dial’s elements are in a different tone than the case.
There is a certain vintage feel and charm to these types of dials. The gold-colored indices and hands create a pleasant harmony against the steel case, giving the watch a distinct warmth, especially on darker dials, such as this green dial with rose gold applied indices. The two-tone watches are certainly less common than all steel watches, but their charm, sexiness, and elegance are undeniable.