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  • Gold-Tone Stainless Steel

    What exactly is "gold-tone stainless steel"? Does the color go all the way through the metal or is it only on the surface and thus will eventually wear? The context of this question is watches (such as Citizen and Seiko). If I want a watch that will keep its finish for a very long time, is silver-colored solid stainless steel the best (or only) way to go? (I am talking about relatively inexpensive watches here - not solid gold or solid platinum watches in the five-figure price range.)

    NOTE: Yes, I tried Googling this - but the results are vague at best.
    Last edited by Menschenstimme; 12-01-2012, 03:53 PM.

  • #2
    I believe it is stainless steel with a coating of gold plate. If that is the case it would definitely fade eventually. I've never heard of nor seen (that I know of) stainless steel looking like anything other than stainless steel. SS is a very hard material, useful in jewelry because it will last though many would feel that gold, silver, or platinum look much nicer. SS will not tarnish anywhere nearly as quick as silver will.
    When I become dictator, those who preach intolerance will not be tolerated.

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    • #3
      Yes, it is gold plating on stainless steel. I have a Seiko watch with this on the watch and band. It gradually wears, especially on high spots and edges and becomes less attractive. I wear the same watch every day and the wear became noticeable in couple of years. This is not horribly fast, but it shows up in much less than the lifetime of the watch.

      Another inexpensive metal that looks good and wears well is titanium. It is generally a little gray in color, all the way through, and does not tarnish.

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      • #4
        Thank you, both!
        I like the idea of titanium - but they do not seem to make titanium watches in the styles that I prefer.

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        • #5
          FOLLOW UP: I spoke with a knowledgable person at one of the larger watch sellers on the internet and she very honestly confirmed that there is no such thing as stainless steel that is gold-colored all the way through. I commented that I wondered if it was possible to mix up a batch of stainless steel with copper added to make it look like gold and she said that while that would be nice, she was not away of any such thing.

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          • #6
            If you want a watch that will look as good ten years from now, then stainless steel is the way the go, especially these days when stainless steel is all the rage: my fridge, stove, dishwasher, coffee maker, toaster, pots and pans, cultlery . . .

            After comparing the cost of a gold watch to a stainless instrument, I have learned to love stainless steel as the preferred option with a passion. A stainless steel watch will keep time just as accurately as a $2,000 gold watch.

            I have had really bad experiences with Seiko stuff, with the numbers falling off the face, hands falling off within the first week. My experience with Citizen watchs has been excellent.

            I don't know what the gold-coloured stuff is on some watches, but it certainly isn't gold! Nor does it's appearance last.
            2008: Phoenix III/44

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            • #7
              Thanks, Clarion!

              I just ordered a Seiko stainless steel watch - it is one of their newer "Solar" light-powered ones and is also one of their less expensive models that tells you only what time it is - which is fine with me. The same (sic) watch by Citizen is slightly more than twice the price. I hope I have better luck with my Seiko than you did with yours, Clarion.

              That same nice lady that was so honest and straightfoward about the gold plating/coloring more or less confirmed my suspicions that Citizen and Seiko are of similar quality and technology. Her company sells many watches in all price ranges, including just about every Citizen and Seiko model. Thus, it appears that Seiko may provide the same (sic) watch for half the price.

              Another related tidbit: There is another large internet watch seller who carries just about every watch brand there is from under $100 to well into the five-figure range. But they do not carry Citizen. My guess (and this is only speculation on my part) is that this may be because Citizen will not allow them to apply their substantial discounts that they do with their other watches(?).

              Don't get me wrong - if someone gave me a Citizen watch, I would love it. If they gave me a solid-gold Swiss dress watch, I would love it even more!

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              • #8
                Menschenstimme,

                I think you have to pay big bucks to get a watch with a good solid case that doesn't look weather beaten after wearing it for a year. I have had several stainless steel case and band watches, only to have the crown go bad. I think my sweat reacts with the base metal on the crown and just eats it away.

                In my experience watches last anywhere from 3 to 10 years. I usually spend $70-$100 for one. My current one is a Pulsar, cost me about $85. It is just a plain tell the time watch, a white face, black numbers and black hands. Also has a date on it.

                I have found that digital watches, at least from reputable manufacturers keep accurate time.

                Mine is good, that I only have to change the time when going to and away from Daylight Saving time.

                AV
                Last edited by arie v; 12-03-2012, 05:13 PM. Reason: correction

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                • #9
                  Thanks, Arie!

                  I have been to Hawaii twice in my life - both times over 30 years ago. I wore a nice watch during my first visit and ruined it because I did not realize how much I would be perspiring from the humidity. It was a Bulova watch purchased from an authorized jeweler and they were kind enough to repair it for free, since I had it less than a year when the damage was done. I still have that watch and never wear it anywhere where I think I might be warm. I have noticed that many people these days use other electronic devices that they carry on their person as their clock rather than wearing a watch. Sometimes, as a last resort, if I really need a watch with me and I fear that I will overheat, I carry it in my pocket instead of wearing it. Whatever . . .

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Menschenstimme View Post
                    I just ordered a Seiko stainless steel watch - it is one of their newer "Solar" light-powered ones and is also one of their less expensive models that tells you only what time it is - which is fine with me.
                    Having a watch that shows the date as well as day of the week is absolutely essential for me, or I become completely disoriented. Having been retired for the past 20 years, I have come to depend upon my GPS and day/date watch to keep everything operational. If I lose the service of one of these reference devices, I really feel uncomfortably disoriented.

                    Originally posted by Menschenstimme View Post
                    Another related tidbit: There is another large internet watch seller who carries just about every watch brand there is from under $100 to well into the five-figure range. But they do not carry Citizen. My guess (and this is only speculation on my part) is that this may be because Citizen will not allow them to apply their substantial discounts that they do with their other watches(?).
                    I have started to use ebay more and more in recent years; and my experience has been uniformly positive. One of my favourites was buying replacement batteries for our five wireless phones home phones. A replacement battery would cost $20 at WalMart; and a mere $1.85 including shipping from China! After a year+ using these batteries, they are every bit as good as the OEM batteries.
                    2008: Phoenix III/44

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Menschenstimme View Post
                      FOLLOW UP: I spoke with a knowledgable person at one of the larger watch sellers on the internet and she very honestly confirmed that there is no such thing as stainless steel that is gold-colored all the way through. I commented that I wondered if it was possible to mix up a batch of stainless steel with copper added to make it look like gold and she said that while that would be nice, she was not away of any such thing.
                      It wouldn't be so stainless anymore. The copper in it would just tarnish. The closest gold lookalike is probably brass which can be polished to a mirror finish, but that tarnishes too.
                      1970 Hammond T422 (for me)
                      1966 Hammond L112 (for my daughter)
                      1980 Kimball M75 Temptation (parts only), 1980 Kimball M70 Temptation (parts only)
                      1965 Hammond L112 (probably for parts), Magnus Chord Organ (for kicks)

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