Platinum Watches Platinium: A Rare Metal for Exceptional Watches
While platinum may look similar to white gold, its rarity singles it out for the most exclusive watches
Rare and expensive, the most noble of the noble metals, platinum is reserved for the pinnacle of watchmaking, whether limited editions or grandes complications. It presides over a world of tourbillons, world timers, minute repeaters and perpetual calendars.
Référence 5230P et Royal Oak Jumbo © Patek Philippe et Audemars Piguet
The largest platinum deposits are in South Africa, Russia and North America. Ten tonnes of ore are needed to yield 30 grammes of this most precious metal, which is 11 per cent denser than gold. This density makes machining and polishing platinum more difficult, often requiring specially made tools. Because of this, the production process is more labour-intensive and time-consuming which drives up production costs, compounded by the fluctuating price of platinum compared with gold, whose relative stability makes it a safe haven for investors.
Santos-Dumont et L.U.C Full Strike © Cartier et Chopard
Most of us would be hard pressed to distinguish between platinum and white gold. As well as feeling heavier on the wrist, a platinum watch has a naturally bright, light grey hue whereas white gold owes its shine to rhodium plating.
Rare, precious and beautiful: platinum’s qualities haven’t escaped watchmakers. That it is inoxidizable in the air as well as hypoallergenic only adds to its appeal. This perennial favourite made its horological debut in the 1930s and has been a star ever since. Platinum watches feature in the catalogues of the most prestigious names.
Tambour Moon mystérieuse © Louis Vuitton
Because the physical similarities between the two metals could lead to confusion, certain brands choose not to produce the same model in white gold and platinum versions. Other manufacturers have found ways to differentiate between these non-identical twins, providing reassurance for collectors and speculators.
Oyster Perpetual Day-Date © Rolex
Since 1999 Patek Phillipe has set a diamond at 6 o’clock between the lugs of its platinum watches. Rolex, meanwhile, reserves its Ice Blue dial for platinum models. As an additional anti-counterfeiting measure, it also puts a dot under the coronet on the winding crown. Vacheron Constantin groups its platinum watches into the Excellence Platine collection of only limited editions. Some boast a salmon dial: a new signature for a brand synonymous with exclusivity and ultimate luxury.
Master Grande Tradition © Jaeger-LeCoultre
In the wonderful world of fine watches, platinum surpasses white gold. It is the ultimate metal for the ultimate mechanisms.
Traditionnelle © Vacheron Constantin
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