How Much Does it Cost to Gold Plate a Watch

What is Gold Plating?

Gold is the heaviest metal found on earth. It is very expensive, and the pure gold is very rare to find. It is yellow in color, with luminous outlook. Real or pure gold is very soft to touch and highly malleable.

Gold plating is covering the surface of the metals, mostly copper, silver or aluminum with an ultra thin layer of gold. It is done by either chemical or electroplating methods. Semiconductor and electrical industry benefits largely from gold plating. Checkout Best Selling Gold Plated Watches in USA.

Difference Between Gold Plating and Gold Filling

It gets confusing to differentiate between gold plated and gold filled products. Only experts can tell the difference if the gold plating is done perfectly.

  • The gold plated products contain only a thin layer of gold.
  • The gold filled products are usually made up of pure gold. If 20% of jewelry is gold, it is considered as gold filled.
  • Gold plated ornaments are less expensive and more brittle.

How Gold Plating Process is Done

It is a complex and difficult process for watches. The ornaments need a thin coat of gold that is 0.5 microns to get gold plated. In case of watches, the thickness range varies from 7 to 10 microns.

The process is called Electroplating, which includes chemical and electrical process going side by side. The surface of the metal is cleaned and polished thoroughly. The salt containing gold is used as a “bath”. The metal is immersed in the “bath” and the flow of electric current results in the formation of a “gold layer” over the surface of the metal.

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The exact cost of gold plating a watch mainly depends upon the amount of gold required and quality or karat of gold used. – Image Credit:

Why One Needs to Gold Plate One’s Watch?

There is a minor difference between gold plating the watches and jewelry. There are many reasons to gold plate your watches. Some of the reasons include:

  • Gold plating the vintage watches is mostly done for the cosmetic reasons. The tarnished watches do not give the looks as impressive as the properly polished “yellow” gold look.
  • The normal stainless steel watches with a silver finish do not look as expensive as the gold colored watches.
  • They always ooze a certain royal feel, which makes you stand among the crowd.
  • The casual leather strapped wristwatches can have their bezel, clasp or any metal part gold plated to create an impression.
  • The dress watches should be more regal and expensive looking than the normal casual watches. Plate them with gold
  • The actual gold-filled watches are prone to put a deep dent in your pocket. So it is better to get the old watch gold plated.
  • The allergy-prone people can have their jewelry plated with gold, to avoid the allergies.

Some Facts About Gold Plating of Watches

There are options to gold plate several metals. Nickel, silver, copper and aluminum are mostly used for this purpose. As a matter of fact, the above statement is totally opposite. You can cover the above metals with gold for several reasons. Here we are discussing the case of wrist watches only.

The gold plating of watches is different from other metals because:

  • The amount of gold required for plating watch is much more than the other jewelry items.
  • A normal ring or chain will require a layer of 1-2.5 microns only. Whereas a watch requires a layer with thickness from 7-10 microns.
  • The surface has to be cleaned thoroughly. A single blemish or dent of a minute size has to be removed so that the end product is of high quality.
  • The 24 karat gold is the purest form and is highly malleable. For gold plating, 14karat or 18 karat is preferred for a strong and brittle finish that won’t wear off easily.

How Much Money Do You Need to Gold Plate Your Watch?

The price of gold and gold plating fluctuates through out the year for various reasons. It can be calculated by multiplying the cost per karat with the amount of gold used for gold plating. 24 karat gold plating will cost more. The price range exceeds from $50, which includes labor and other costs too.

How Much To Gold Plate An Apple Watch?

As mentioned above, there are many factors to estimate the cost of gold plating any watch including Apple watches. These factors include:

  1. Karats of Gold Used (10K, 14K, 18K, 20K, 22K or 24K): 24 Karats is the purest gold and will cost you highest fee.
  2. How Much Gold is Used for Plating: Usually gold is mixed with other metals and then applied on watches for plating. If greater quantity of gold is used then price will be higher of course.
  3. Labor Costs: Besides gold karats and quantity, the labor cost is also important.

Usually the famous apple watch can be fully gold plated at a rate of $400.

What Are Benefits and Advantages of Gold Plating Your Watches

The generic reasons of getting expensive looks in inexpensive ways apply in this case. Some advantages are:

Gold Plating Gives Expensive Look to Watches

The plain old silver dial or strap of your watch does not look expensive to the others. We all need to show off sometimes, and gold plating your watch aids in giving out a more polished and expensive look.

Lasts Longer Than You Anticipate

You can maintain the gold and tarnished look for several years with proper maintenance. You might be thinking that the gold plating might work for few months only, it doesn’t. Keep it away from sweat, salt and chlorine. Do not use perfume and do not leave it in the sunshine for longer duration. As a result, it will stay as new for longer. It will last for even 50 years if you have done good gold plating.

Showoff Your Vintage Watch

The vintage watches loose their appeal when their polish fades off. Do not worry and get them plated with gold again. Several companies are offering this service and they guarantee 100% results, and they do not charge much either. At least they charge less than what an actual gold filled watch does.

Get Yellow, Rose Gold, Rhodium or Any Shade

The gold finish should not necessarily be of yellow color. The electroplating can give you rose gold, palladium, rhodium and platinum finish.

Scratch Resistant Gold Plating

The surface of the watch can be made highly resistant to scratches and dents by layering with hard and brittle gold.

What Are Possible Disadvantages of Gold Plating Watches?

Apart from the advantages, there are few disadvantage of gold plating as well.

Worn Out Surface

The gradual wearing off the gold plating from the watch looks untidy. It mostly happens over time when the metal particles diffuse in to the gold particles.

Gold Allergy

It is a rare condition but it does exist. Get yourself tested for any gold allergy before carrying out this process.


We do not have a whole budget to spend on gold filled watches or other jewelry pieces. It is rather a cheap way to transform casual watches to gold plated watches by investing small sum of money. However it is advisable to keep a maintenance regime to let the plating last longer. Those people who have allergies from nickel can benefit largely from gold plating.







How Much Does it Cost to Gold Plate a Watch
Article Name
How Much Does it Cost to Gold Plate a Watch
The price of gold and thus gold plating fluctuates through out the year for various reasons. It can be calculated by multiplying the cost per karat with the amount of gold used for gold plating. 24 karat gold plating will cost more. The famous apple watch is fully gold plated at a rate of $400. The price range exceeds from $50, which includes labor and other costs too.

One thought on “How Much Does it Cost to Gold Plate a Watch

  1. I wonder if it is possible to re-plate with a nice quality of gold an electric pocket watch purchased in Switzerland by my daughter. There is an inscription on the back which is not very deep and the watch is probably the quality one finds at a tourist trap, but it is swiss. There is no metal face cover, just the back. It was originally gold plated but not very deeply. Thanks

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