December 6, 2022

Gold-and-steel watches have been divisive for ages. You either love them or you don’t. There seems to be no middle ground when it comes to the combination of utilitarian steel and luxury gold. Within the Fratello team, opinions differ as well: we have the principle haters, the case-by-casers, and the unabashed lovers of the gold-and-steel combo. But in the last year or two, we have seen a slowly growing appreciation for two-tone watches. Likewise, there are brands that have focused on putting out great releases in gold and steel. So it’s time to list the top five gold-and-steel watches of 2022 thus far.

Historical context usually plays a big part in the appreciation for two-tone watches. It’s really simple; for most of us, the appreciation of two-tone is linked to specific pieces. The best example is the Rolex Datejust. For many, it’s the archetypical gold-and-steel watch. And it is for me too. If ever there were a watch that I would always consider buying in two-tone, it would be the Datejust. Another personal favorite from Rolex is the vintage GMT-Master “Root Beer.” Fratello’s own Mike and Gerard both own classic “Root Beer” models, and they are simply stunning. When it comes to two-tone glory, nothing beats a vintage “Tigerauge” in my book. But I’m drifting way off-topic here. After all, we are here to talk about modern two-tone watches. Without any further ado, let’s take a look at some of this year’s best.

Tudor Black Bay GMT S&G “Root Beer”

Let’s stay on the topic of the classic GMT-Master “Root Beer” for a minute. Earlier this year, Tudor released two models that are a clear homage to two classic Rolex watches. The Black Bay Pro was, without a doubt, the more discussed of the two. It sparked a lively discussion among the Fratello writers and you, the Fratelli. But the second model that came out also paid tribute to a Rolex great. The new Tudor Black Bay GMT S&G is Tudor’s take on the classic Rolex GMT-Master “Root Beer.” In my review, I discussed how I feel about the watch, and I still stand by what I said. If you are a fan of the original GMT-Master “Root Beer,” it can feel uncomfortable. Having said that, the Black Bay GMT “Root Beer” is a great watch.

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The new Black Bay GMT fills a gap in the market in a way that a lot of people will love. The watch comes with a 41mm stainless steel case that is 14.6mm thick with a water resistance of 200 meters. It comes equipped with an 18K yellow gold bezel with an anodized aluminum insert in matte brown and black with a 24-hour scale. The black dial and handset ensure this watch has its own Tudor twist. The Black Bay GMT “Root Beer” is powered by the COSC-certified caliber MT5652, which provides 70 hours of power reserve. You can choose a leather or fabric strap for €4,080. But the one right choice would be to get it on the two-tone bracelet with solid end links and gold-capped center links. On the bracelet, it is €5,270. As Robert-Jan explained in a Sunday Morning Showdown about the watch, if there is one brand that can pay homage to the original Rolex models from the past, it’s Tudor. And the brand does that well!

Zenith Chronomaster Sport

During Watches And Wonders 2022, the focus for Zenith was on the Chronomaster Open. The modern re-interpretation of the models from the Nataf-era at Zenith proved to be surprisingly attractive and really well executed. But the stars of the show for me were the new full-rose-gold and rose-gold-and-steel versions of the brand’s Chronomaster Sport. I especially love the rose gold model with the black dial. It’s an absolute stunner of a watch that I also featured in an article about the best gold watches of 2022 not too long ago. But the two-tone version of the Chronomaster Sport is another highlight in the collection.

Zenith Chronomaster Sport two-tone

The watch comes with a 41mm stainless steel case. As Dave explained, Zenith used rose gold for the bezel, crown, pushers, and bracelet mid-links. Combined with the silver sunburst dial with its colorful sub-dials, the watch stands out from the crowd. Combine the brilliant presence with the spectacular El Primero 3600 movement, and this Chronomaster Sport is a winner. The movement is a joy to see in action with its central chronograph hand making a complete lap of the dial every 10 seconds. The two-tone version of the Chronomaster Sport is available for €16,900. It’s another excellent release from Zenith that proves the brand is on fire these days.

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Breitling SuperOcean 42 two-tone

Breitling SuperOcean Automatic 42

When the new Breitling SuperOcean collection was announced in June, a couple of models immediately stood out from the expansive lineup. The first was the 42mm bronze version with its green dial, black bezel, and green rubber strap. That takes the first prize for me. But a good second came in the form of the 42mm steel-and-rose-gold version of Breitling’s retro-inspired dive watch. Granted, I have a soft spot for the combination of black and rose gold, but that combination alone doesn’t make a great watch. However, I also love the aesthetic of the SuperOcean ref. 2005 “Slowmo” and the SuperOcean MK2 that this new collection was based on, so you will understand that the new SuperOcean is a winner for me.

The two-tone 42mm model comes with an 18K rose gold bezel, black dial, black bezel, and black strap. The combination of a black rubber strap with rose gold and steel is hard to beat. Inside the 42mm case, Breitling equipped the SuperOcean with the automatic Breitling COSC-certified caliber 17, based on the Sellita SW200 movement. While a B20 Tudor-based movement ( would have made this release even more impactful, seeing the €6,400 two-tone version of the new Breitling SuperOcean 42 is definitely a treat.

Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400 two-tone

Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400

The next release came out of nowhere for me, and honestly, it didn’t quite add up when I first laid eyes on it. The new two-tone Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400 seemed like an oddball watch at first. But when I saw both versions in the office multiple times, they quickly made an impression, especially the blue one on the blue rubber strap that Gerard took diving in Croatia over the summer. And as Gerard explained, the two-tone Aquis makes perfect sense when put in the right context. The steel-and-gold watch makes for one hell of a summer piece, especially on the bright blue rubber strap.

Oris Aquis gallery

The gold-and-steel Aquis features a 41.5mm stainless steel case with an 18K yellow gold unidirectional diver’s bezel with a dark blue insert. The second two-tone model comes with a green dial and dark green bezel insert. It looks slightly less vibrant, but I would always go for the blue version because of its beautiful contrasting colors. Inside the case, Oris equipped the watch with its automatic Calibre 400, which offers a five-day power reserve. The steel-and-gold version of the Aquis is available on a full stainless steel bracelet for €4,000. On the rubber strap, it comes in at €3,900. Gerard usually has conservative taste in watch designs and colors, but he liked the two-tone Aquis quite a bit. Even after returning from the trip, he wore it a lot. That speaks volumes about this new Aquis.

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Royal Oak 37mm two-tone

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 37mm

The last watch on this list is one of those classics that works super well in a combination of steel and gold. It seems like a long time ago, but it was only at the beginning of this year when Audemars Piguet introduced the new Royal Oak collection. For the 50th anniversary of the brand’s biggest icon, we saw a completely overhauled lineup powered by new movements. Visually, AP respected the great power of Gérald Genta’s design masterpiece from 1972. Part of that new collection is the 37mm version executed in a combination of stainless steel and 18K pink gold.

The power of the design also shows in this two-tone version of the mid-size Royal Oak. Audemars Piguet only changed three fundamental elements to pink gold to transform the watch into a two-tone masterpiece —the iconic octagonal bezel, the bracelet’s intermediary links, and the crown. Additionally, the silver-toned Grande Tapisserie dial comes with applied pink gold hour markers, and the handset is also executed in pink gold. The result is a watch that perfectly shows all the brilliance of the original design, injecting it with a strong ’70s vibe that hints back to the era in which it was conceived. The 37mm watch is just 9mm thick and houses the new automatic AP 5900 caliber with 60 hours of power reserve. The watch is available for €30,500 and oozes ’70s style at its best.

Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400 two-tone

Let’s hear from you

There you have it — our list of the best five gold-and-steel watches released in 2022 so far. But with such a huge number of impressive releases this year, there are many great two-tone watches that could have been on this list. That’s why I pass the question to you…

What is your favorite two-tone watch that debuted this year? Let us know in the comments section.