Forget the supposed pot of gold to be found at the end of it — for many watch collectors, it’s the rainbow itself that matters. For several years now, the rainbow watch has been hugely popular, with models such as the Rolex’s gem-set Daytona winning over collectors with their characteristically colourful bezels, set with gemstones channelling the colours of the rainbow. For those who like that cheerful palette but aren’t quite fans of a multi-hued circle of bling, here are the newest timepieces that riff off rainbows in more unexpected ways.
1. Audemars Piguet — Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Music Edition
How seriously does Audemars Piguet take its ties with the world of music? Seriously enough for the brand — a partner to artistes such as Jay-Z and Mark Ronson — to launch a five-piece collection of Royal Oak Offshore models with dials that look like audio equalisers, as found in recording studios. Available in 37mm or 43mm, the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Music Edition comes in a titanium or black ceramic (only 43mm) case. The titanium and black ceramic models feature Tapisserie dials printed with the rainbow-like colours of an equaliser.
For those who think the gem-set bezel of regular rainbow watches isn’t enough bling, check out the gem-set versions of the Royal Oak Offshore Music Edition. Also available in 37mm or 43mm, these jewellery watches feature white gold cases, along with dials that depict an equaliser via the clever use of the following gemstones: Tsavorites, peridots, rubies, and blue, green and orange sapphires. The bezels are decked out with rubies, tsavorites, and yellow, orange, green and blue sapphires.
(Related story: Audemars Piguet’s introduces the new generation of an icon)
2. Audemars Piguet — Royal Oak Selfwinding Carolina Bucci
Not content with having some of the most sought-after rainbow jewellery watches around, Audemars Piguet has clearly also been creating some of the most compelling alterna-rainbow models as well. Having worked with AP on several Frosted Gold watches, which feature hammered gold cases, jewellery designer Carolina Bucci now conceptualises an iridescent dial for a 34mm Royal Oak Selfwinding model cased in black ceramic.
To create the rainbow-esque plays of light, a sapphire plate with little squares, created via a process called micro-structuring, was set atop the brass dial. The effect was then enhanced by applying a golden metallisation onto the back of the sapphire plate.
3. Bell & Ross — BR 03-94 Multimeter
Distinguished by the use of different, striking colours, the five scales of the BR 03-94 Multimeter by Bell & Ross each serve a specific purpose when used in conjunction with the chronograph. These comprise three tachymeters for measuring speed for driving, cycling or running; a pulsometer for measuring heart rate; and a asthmometer for measuring breathing rate. These colourful loops stand out against the matte black of the rest of the self-winding timepiece, including its 42mm black ceramic case.
4. Franck Muller — Vanguard 7 Days Power Reserve Skeleton Colour Dreams 43mm
A rainbow on a bezel? So last season. With the Vanguard Skeleton Colour Dreams, Franck Muller evokes that cheerful, rainy-day natural phenomenon through the coloured components of the FM1740-VS skeleton movement. Red, blue, orange and violet anodised aluminium bridges support components such as a green balance wheel and a yellow small seconds counter. It’s all housed in a black carbon fibre case measuring 52.7mm by 42.5mm.
5. Longines — HydroConquest XXII Commonwealth Games
Inspired by the logo of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, the bezel and minute track of the Longines HydroConquest XXII Commonwealth Games feature markings in blue, green, yellow and orange. Housed in a 41mm steel case, this self-winding dive watch is water-resistant to 300m. This year, Longines is the Games’ official partner and timekeeper, and the HydroConquest XXII Commonwealth Games is the latest timepiece to mark this long-standing partnership, which began with the 1962 Games in Perth, Australia.
6. Zenith — Defy 21 Chroma
Most of the other brands here have chosen to calm their rainbow palettes down with a black dial and/or case. Not Zenith, which has chosen to emphasise the explosion of summery hues with a 44mm white ceramic case and white rubber strap. The markers on the open dial and movement of the Defy 21 Chroma feature a spectrum of vibrant hues, beginning with red at 12 o’clock. PVD-coated bridges complete the chromatic story on this timepiece, which is powered by an El Primero 1/100th of a second chronograph movement.