Variations of gold : 10k, 14k, 18k, plated, rolled gold, etc...

Thread: Variations of gold : 10k, 14k, 18k, plated, rolled gold, etc...

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  1. #1
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    Variations of gold : 10k, 14k, 18k, plated, rolled gold, etc...

    This must have been discussed before but in spite of a few searches I couldn't find any summary topic on the different variations of solid gold and gold plating on vintage watches.

    Here are the variations I found :

    Solid Gold :
    18k = 1/750
    14k = 1/583 (thought I'd seen 1/485 ?)
    9k - seems rare

    Plated : there seem to be several variations on this, "Gold Filled", "Electroplated", "Rolled Golled" "SGP" (Seiko) : different terms for the same thing ?

    Types of plating : 9K, 10K, 14K, not sure I've seen 18k

    Thickness of plating : 20 micron generally, sometimes 40 micron

    Can anyone shed some light on variations in plating and whether some are better than others? Obviously 40 is better than 20 micron and 18k solid gold is better than 14k solid gold, although 14k might be stronger ?

    Thanks !

  2. #2
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    Re: Variations of gold : 10k, 14k, 18k, plated, rolled gold, etc...

    Gold PLATED is the thinnest.

    Next comes rolled-gold, I believe.

    After that, is gold-filled, which is basically gold-plating of varying thicknesses. A good gold-filled case would be marked to wear for 25 years. This indicates a nice, thick layer of gold, which is unlikely to wear off anytime soon.

    In terms of plating/filling, I've seen 9kt, 10kt, 12kt and 14kt...VERY occasionally, I saw watches with 18kt. It seems to be rare.

    14kt gold is 58.5% gold and 52% or whatever, brass. This means that it's just over half gold and the rest is brass. It gives the shiny niceness of gold, with the strength of brass.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Variations of gold : 10k, 14k, 18k, plated, rolled gold, etc...

    Here you go:

    http://www.watchtalkforums.info/foru...ad.php?t=22496

    The first group of links deal with case materials. I tried to word it so us regular people could understand it. There was a ton of industry jargon I translated. There's a bunch of info on watch internals in the next group of links, then a couple quartz blurbs, and finally some interesting stuff on miscellaneous topics. Enjoy!

  4. #4
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    Re: Variations of gold : 10k, 14k, 18k, plated, rolled gold, etc...

    Excellent, thanks, and bookmarked! Here is the direct link to the Plating article.

    Gold filled would be the preferred type of plating then, behind the rarer "gold capped". I don' remember seeing markings specifying the microns for GF though, the article says between 50/140 and less Rolled Gold, I'll keep a closer eye on that going forward.

  5. #5
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    Re: Variations of gold : 10k, 14k, 18k, plated, rolled gold, etc...

    One thing you will notice: gold filled watches have a warmer, richer look while plated can appear brassy. Capped is definitely the best looking option if solid gold is out of the ballpark but very few manufacturer's use that method anymore. Glad you enjoyed the link!

  6. #6
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    Re: Variations of gold : 10k, 14k, 18k, plated, rolled gold, etc...

    Thanks, price not being an option 14K gold would always be preferable to 14K gold filled? Clearly for a dress watch solid gold is a must, but for a watch like a Bulova Accutron I'm not so sure...

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    Re: Variations of gold : 10k, 14k, 18k, plated, rolled gold, etc...

    Solid anything (gold, silver, stainless steel, nickel, etc) will not show wearthrough. Many scratches can be buffed out.

    Plated anything, can not be buffed without running the risked of buffing through the plating.



    Gold filled might be the thickest plating when NEW. We're typically not dealing with NEW vintage watches, so the amount of plating after wear is unknown (except where you can see that zero plating is left)

  8. #8
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    Re: Variations of gold : 10k, 14k, 18k, plated, rolled gold, etc...

    Another issue is the strength of the material. Gold is very soft and pure gold is not sufficiently strong to use in watch cases. 18kt is still fairly soft but is usable. In the States you can not call anything less than 10kt 'solid gold'.

    20 microns seems 'adequate' for a case which has not seen a lot of wear. But I like my old Longines... they often used 80 microns. I have never seen wearthrough on an 80 micron case. (I am sure it has happened... I have never seen it so I doubt it is common.)
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  9. #9
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Variations of gold : 10k, 14k, 18k, plated, rolled gold, etc...

    This webpage has a lot of useful information nicely laid out including the composition of 'yelow/pink/etc' gold:

    http://www.allaboutjewels.com/jewel/pages/gold.shtml

    This page:

    http://www.goldipedia.gold.org/jewel...n/gold_purity/

    has a nice table that illustrates how we know that - for example as Eeeb says - a 9ct watch would not have been intended for the US market.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Variations of gold : 10k, 14k, 18k, plated, rolled gold, etc...

    Excuse me, what is "gold-capped"? I've not heard of that term before.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

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