In an episode which we will call “The Rainbow Connection”, we take a look at watches which incorporate multicolours in the design.
The rainbow is a fascination. In a way, it is a kind of vapour ware, an optical phenomena that occurs under certain meteorological conditions. It is caused by refraction, internal reflection and dispersion of light in tiny water droplets and is displayed as a continuous spectrum of light appearing in the sky. The rainbow takes the form of a multicoloured circular arc, following the curvature of the earth.
In horology, we refer to watches as “Rainbow” when the watch uses multicolours as a design element. Today, we pick what we think are the best six of these Rainbow watches.
The Rainbow Connection: Six of the best watches with multicolours
As you may have guessed, we have not featured long form reviews of many of these colourful watches. So this list will contain some watches which are only covered by our News with commentary articles, though the Zenith and the Rolex have full reviews as linked.
We kick off with the Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Multimeter. Bruno Belamich, the Bell in Bell & Ross is also their chief designer, and to us, he has a great eye at using multiple colours on a watch and make it look good. Often, when we read the specifications of a novelty with the use of many colours, often clashing with one another, we would always think that it will look horrid. And each and every time, Bell & Ross surprise us with something which looks very pleasant.
And with this BR 03-94 Multimeter they have pulled it off once again. At first glance, the watch looks funky and perhaps playful given the multicolours on the dial…mildly reminiscent to the rainbows on an Apple Watch. But look deeper and the colours are useful measurements that can be applied to the BR 03-94 movement. The watch is basically similar to the other like the BR 03-94 A521 Alpine F1 Edition and BR 03-94 Patrouille de France, but clad in a black ceramic case. With the main differentiator being the dial. Retail in 2022 was SGD 8,200 and this was a limited edition of 500 pieces.
Next, another which made us think it is going to look horrible when reading the specifications. And yet another which surprised us when we saw the actual watch. And as if to confirm our impression when we saw the watch, within hours, the complete allocation for many markets were spoken for.
Felipe Pantone has reimagined Zenith’s most advanced chronograph to date, the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone, a strikingly colourful creation that is all about playing with frequencies – visually and mechanically. Not only the dial has this multicoloured treatment, the movement also features this “wild” coloured segments.
The watch is based on the technically impressive Defy 21 with a black ceramic case with a bezel engraved with a grid pattern. It launched in 2021 with a retail price of USD 19,100.
Even Casio G-SHOCK has gotten into the multicolour game. And as usual for Casio, this has to be done at an industrial scale, instead of the artisanal nature of the other watches on this list. The MTG is built over a carbon monocoque case, and the peculiarity for the model is the multi-coloured striations, which look like funky wood grain, on the bezel which is unique for each piece. The process to create the bezel is done at an industrial scale, but Casio found a way to randomly allocate coloured glass fibres and carbon to form the the striations on the bezel.
This colourful imagery on the case is further enhanced by using a ion plating to adorn the inner edge of the bezel in a mélange of colours, the buckle, the band loop, buttons and crown in rose gold, the screws in rose gold and blue. The funky colour scheme continues to the hands, the applied indices and the perimeter of the sub-dials. The watch was released in Jan 2022 with a retail price of SGD 1,699.
Perrelet is an interesting manufacturer known for the use of the automatic winding rotor on the dial side often to showcase animated dials. The Turbine Rainbow is part of their iconic Turbine line with a multi-colour peek-a-boo dial and a case in carbon fibre.
The design calls for colours of the rainbow spectrum to be used in the hour markers, with each gradually going from red at 12 to violet just before. But what is also interesting is that the turbine blades on the dial side moves, and as it does so, reveals and hides a multi-coloured sub-dial below. This sub-dial is made up of many dots making patches of colour in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. An effect which is vaguely similar to the works of American painter Jackson Pollock. The watch was released in 2022 with a retail price of EUR 4,950.
A new entry by Roger Dubuis to their Excalibur lineup is the Backlight Spin-Stone Monobalancier. This is a rather interesting watch with the case and bezel is then set with curved synthetic sapphire Spin-Stones, with a gradient of hues. The Spin Stones are the novelty here, as the regular RD Excalibur Backlight editions already feature coloured spinels which glow under UV. The new Spin-Stones used not only for the vivid multi-colour spinels on the arms of the movement which are visible from the dial side, but also layered in a special cut around the bezel.
The movement is the standard RD720SQ which is the same as those used in the other Excalibur Backlight watches. This novelty offers a very unique look to the watch, with the colours coming into play quite beautifully in all lighting conditions. Retail price was set in Feb 2023 at SGD 222,000 with a limited edition of only 28 pieces.
And we conclude with perhaps the grand daddy of rainbow watches. The Rolex Daytona Rainbow Ref. 116595RBOW. The base Daytona Ref. 116500LN of the vintage is already made of unobtainium, notwithstanding that Rolex has just replaced that version with the new Ref. 126500LN. As is well known amongst collector circles, though the Daytona carries a retail of only SGD 21,050, it is well nigh impossible to obtain one at your nearby Authorized Dealer.
But the rainbow version, decked out in a bezel made of gemstones mimicking the entire spectrum of the rainbow is a very rare watch. The bezel is set with 36 baguette-cut sapphires in graduated hues, starting with red at 12 o’clock, and transitioning to yellow, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.
The retail was set in 2018 at SGD 130,300 / USD 97,000. Rolex does not currently list one on their catalog. These watches go in the pre-owned market at between USD 450,000 to over USD 1,000,000 for one of these babies.
And there you have it. A less serious list for this Sunday, though featuring very serious watches. The multicolour theme is taken to its extreme, and makes the watches look more playful, and bright (yes, pun intended!). Are any of these pieces or this style of multicolour watches in your wish list? What would you have included in a list like this?