In the 1980s, two-tone watches were a status symbol. In fact, many “yuppies,” or young urban professionals who were good with their money, favored these bi-color timepieces. Two-tone watches were the go-to watch for collectors and casual wearers alike because of their showy and rich appearance. Although the word two-tone refers to a watch composed of two metals of different hues, stainless steel and yellow or rose gold are the most common metals associated with two-tone watches.
In recent years, the trend has seen a comeback.
Many reputable watchmakers have introduced new two-tone watches. In addition to Rolex, the brand who leads this niche, other reputable watchmakers have managed to come up with some visually appealing two-tone watches. And at more affordable rates. Check them below…
Are Two-Tone Watches Still Popular In 2022?
Although the popularity of two-tone watches waned in the 1990s, they are now regaining popularity among watch aficionados, particularly among younger generations. These watches are perfect for folks with a greater budget who want something spectacular and elegant. With so many manufacturers creating superb two-tone watches today, there’s no question that the popularity of these famous mixed-metal timepieces will only grow.
In recent times, Rolex models, for example, the Datejust 36 and 41 have become increasingly difficult to find.
While stainless steel Rolex watches have been in low supply for a while now, two-tone Rolex models have been increasingly popular and difficult to come by as well. So good luck finding a two-tone Rolex on the gray market at a reasonable price.
Rotary Henley Two-Tone
The Rotary watch brand, founded in La Chaux de Fonds, the heart of Swiss watchmaking industry, has been around since 1895. Throughout the years, the Swiss watchmaker has adorned the wrists of thousands of people around the globe. The watch we picked for this article, the Rotary Henley two-tone, is the perfect example that reflects the identity of the Swiss watchmaker. Rotary Henley (ref. GB05381/05), comes with a navy blue dial, visible from the sapphire crystal case. Underneath ticks an automatic movement, also responsible for the accuracy of the day/date function. As for its overall aesthetics, the watch embraces the two-tone philosophy to the fullest. With its stainless steel and yellow gold PVD coating, blending a watch into colors has never looked so good.
Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
Tissot, a Swiss watchmaker operating since 1853 and sold in over 160 countries, made a buzz last year, by introducing the new Tissot PRX Powermatic 80. The watch pictured above is part of the collection.
PRX Powermatic 80 comes in a genuine 70s vibe, drawing inspiration from the brand’s same model from over 40 years ago. It comes in a 40mm tonneau-shaped case crafted from 316L stainless steel and a bezel that features a PVD coating rose gold layer.
The dual color aesthetic is carried by the combined gold-colored indices and hands. Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (ref. T1374072103100) employs the Powermatic 80 movement, which has an anti-magnetic Nivachron balance spring visible through the exhibition case back. Additional features include a sapphire crystal glass, 80 hours of power reserve, and a 100 meters water resistance rating.
Longines Hydroconquest Two-tone
Longines has joined the vintage watch reissue mania that has taken the Swiss watch industry by storm recently. And I am not complaining! All the contrary. The simple and classic aesthetic of a vintage watch will always be a preferred choice to me! So after surfing through the brand’s recent collections, we decided to go with their two-tone HydroConquest. Different from a vintage dive watch, this timepiece is a true modern dive watch with a bold presence. It features a stainless steel and yellow gold PVD coating case, and a matching bracelet also in stainless steel and gold PVD coating. From the scratch-resistant and anti reflective sapphire crystal you can take a look at the dial, with its luminous hands and numerals, making perfect contrast and adding to its legibility.
Thanks to Casio watches, we can enjoy adorning our wrists with fine accurate watches that also happen to be packed with countless features. The Japanese watchmaker, renowned for their watchmaking expertise, especially in digital watches, comes this time with a two-tone digital watch, that also happens to be the most affordable pick in our post. The two-tone Casio A158WEA-9CF brings a warm color combination to your wrist that I guarantee you will love. This tried and true style with a stainless steel bracelet and a gold face, houses an auto calendar, a daily alarm, and an hourly time signal. The watch is battery operated and has an accuracy range of ±30 seconds a month.
Raymond Weil Freelancer Two-Tone (Model: 2780-SP5-20001)
Raymond Weil, a relatively new Swiss watchmaker, has emerged as a notable name on the horological map in recent years. The brand is becoming better by the day, with watches that pay tribute to musical luminaries, boast iconic designs, and are powered by movements that are meant to endure forever!
The two-tone watch we picked from their Freelancer collection features a bi-color design, made possible by the combination of stainless steel with PVD-plated rose gold. What steals the show is the open-worked dial. From there, you can see the brand’s distinctive RW1212 caliber, an exceptional automatic movement that beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour and has a power reserve of up to 38 hours.
Two-Tone Mido Baroncelli Heritage Gent
Mido is one of the most underrated entry-level luxury watchmakers. The Swiss brand has been around for a century now, and during this time they have introduced to the world of watches countless designs and technical innovations. The watch we picked for this post, the two-tone Mido Baroncelli Heritage Gent (ref. M027.407.36.260.00), is a great example of their expertise. This dress watch comes in a classy aesthetic and an impressively slim profile of only 7.3mm. Stainless steel is used to craft the case, measuring a sweet 39mm diameter. The dial is eggshell in color, with faceted hands that are dual-finished. If you were looking for an affordable two-tone watch, without compromising quality, look no further as this timepiece is the one!
Rolex The Trendmaker
Two-tone watches date back to the early 1920s when pocket timepieces were at their pinnacle of popularity. Back then, many two-toned pocket watches featured stainless steel cases with gold dials, hands, and chains.
Rolex released their own magnificent, patented two-tone watch, the Rolesor, in the early 1930s. These pieces were mainly made of stainless steel cases and bracelets with 18K gold bezels, crowns, and center links. They were exquisite and well-made. The Rolex Prince was one of their earliest two-tone models (discontinued since 2015).
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust series debuted in 1948 with the brand’s distinctive Rolesor design. When it comes to two-tone watches, it’s hard not to think about these classic models.
In addition to Rolex, there were other reputable watchmakers at that time that saw genuine symphony in bi-color watches.
Vacheron Constantin, for example, had their own interesting take on two-tone watches. While Rolex was focused on making Rolesor dress watches, Vacheron Constantin walked the extra mile and focused on the making of chronographs using a combination of steel and gold.
Pop Culture Defining Fashion
The 1980s were big-time for materialism and consumerism. It was a decade that saw tremendous social and technological developments, often associated with the rise of cable networks (MTV), the personal computer, and blockbuster movies. The latter had in center stage the young rich, their lives in cosmopolitanism and adventurous social life.
Again, pop culture boosted the trends in the watchmaking industry. That time was recently portrayed by blockbuster movies. Two-tone watches also were seen in the wrists of actors like Christian Bale, in American Psycho, or the most recent movie, The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), where we see Matthew McConaughey wearing a two-tone Rolex Datejust, to add dimension to the film, portraying the 1980s.
FAQ About Two-Tone Watches?
What is a two-tone watch?
Two-tone watches are those watches that create a bi-color aesthetic by combining two metals of different colors. The most predominant metal combination consists of steel case/bracelet constructions with gold parts.
When should you wear a two-tone watch?
With the 80s trend coming back, two-tone watches deliver the opposite of what minimalism watches do. These flashy and provocative watches are made to be seen and draw attention. Expect to wear them during your most celebratory occasions.
With what to wear a two-tone watch?
Good question! But you shouldn’t worry that much! If you want, you can wear a two tone watch with jeans and a t-shirt! Just go for it!