Many times, it’s common for us to look at a device as “simple” as a gold watch and think you know, this gold watch is great and everything, but all it does is tell time – why on Earth is it worth so much? This is an interesting question to ask.

Of course, that’s usually a question reserved for those who aren’t familiar with watches, gold, or the watch-making process. There are many more elements that go into making a gold watch besides simply “digging up gold” and “making it tell time.” The knowledge of watchmaking has developed for a long time over the years, and it will continue to develop with new technologies and electronics available.

Over the years, civilization has gone from portable sundials to GPS watches, and the science of how watches are made continues to evolve. In this article, we’ll try to answer specifically how gold watches are made, and how gold as a resource is put into watches to give them that special, gleaming quality that is so familiar.

First things first: You’ve Got To Have Gold

When looking at gold watches, it might be helpful to look at gold itself – just as a commodity. Gold is one of the world’s most precious metals, a relatively rare commodity that is rarer than silver but more common than platinum. Gold is an element on the periodic table, which suggests it is one of the most basic elements we have in our library of knowledge.

Gold is highly valuable for a number of reasons, but one of them is that gold is a highly malleable, shape-able substance. It works well in metal working, being melted down and formed to fit casings and different molds. It can also be beaten down into the ultra-thin gold leaf that is used for gilding basic structures, like structures made from wood.

Not only is gold relatively easy to work with, it is a highly durable metal that is difficult to break. This is where gold becomes an especially apt choice for the metal used in a watch. Because of gold’s durability, it can greatly enhance the worth of any watch without sacrificing any of the watch’s strength. Gold can also be fashioned into pink, yellow, and white colors for a variety of “styles” to the gold watch.

How is gold used in a watch? After being dug out of the ground – gold can be found in nugget form, or in lesser amounts alloyed with other metals – metal workers will melt down gold and separate it from other metals. From here, gold can be transferred and melted down further to the exact shapes needed to construct a gold watch.

Use of Gold in a Watch

Since gold can be melted down and pounded into shape relatively easily (especially pure gold, which is actually a “softer” type of metal), it can be incorporated into a watch through a number of methods.

First, watches are often made of two essential parts – the “watch” or “clock” itself, and the band that goes around the wrist. These different parts can be fashioned in a number of styles. Indeed, a “gold” watch might actually included a leather band for easy, comfortable wearing around the wrist. In other cases, the band itself will be sheeted in gold or made fro ma higher quantity of gold.

Many watches have to be intricately made with special attention to detail, meaning that a large amount of gold watches will be hand-made by skilled watch and metalworkers. For the individual gold pieces to be used, these workers can use specially-made molds that fashions the gold (or gold mixture featuring other metals like copper) into the shape of the piece necessary. Once cooled, these pieces can be installed with other pieces in the watch, much like any of the other metals and parts involved in making a watch.

The great variety and amounts of styles used in watches makes it impossible to describe each process here. But making a gold watch generally follows the above principles – acquiring, mixing, and shaping the gold, and then assembling with the other parts. Many different ways of treating the gold – such as mixing it with other metals like copper or silver – can be employed, making the varieties endless.

The next time you look at your gold watch, consider the amount of attention to detail that was required to fashion it in the specific way it has been fashioned. Now you know that gold watches feature a lot of energy going into it so that you can enjoy a lovely article of jewelry, and perhaps you’ll start getting more enjoyment and satisfaction from the gold watch you own.