10 of the best watches to taste the rainbow (from US$160 to price upon request)

10 of the best watches to taste the rainbow (from US$160 to price upon request)

Zach Blass

As tasty as a pouch of Skittles, watch collectors have shown that, amongst the safety of white, black, blue, and grey-dialled watches, there is a demand for bold and colourful timepieces. And while some may find the idea of owning a rainbow watch too bold, such designs that offer the full suite and spectrum of colours have proven to be in high demand and popular. They can be very expensive due to the rainbow element being incorporated through precious gemstones, but other pieces more approachable in price exist as well. Here are ten of the best rainbow watches you can explore at varying price points.

G-Shock 2100 Series GAB2100FC-7A

GAB2100FC Multi Color 1080x1080 jpg

A CasiOak G-Shock watch is always top of mind for entry-level watch recommendations, and this applies to the segment of rainbow watches as well. Previously only available through aftermarket customisation, G-Shock eventually caught on and released its own variants with rainbow flavoured accents. Available in white, black, and green, this CasiOak trio is the most approachable rainbow watch design in both aesthetic and price. Price: US$160

Q Timex Rainbow 36mm

Q Timex Rainbow 36mm Stainless Steel Expansion Band Watch

Want a bolder aesthetic for a similar price? The entry-level price gurus over at Timex have two rainbow configurations of its wildly popular Q. The untreated steel variant simply injects a rainbow gradient into the 24-hour bezel and indices of the dial. The blackened variant pushes things noticeably further with the rainbow gradient extending to the bracelet links as well. So, whether you want a splash or a full-fledged dive into the world of rainbow watches, there is a Timex Q for you. Both clock in at 36mm in diameter and feature quartz-driven hours, minutes, seconds, day, and date complications. Price: US$189 (silver-tone), US$199 (black)

Oris Aquis Date Upcycle

Oris Aquis Date Upcycle 43 cal 400

Oris is well known for being amongst, if not the greenest, watch manufacturers in the world. Its Upcycle line of Aquis Date watches brings awareness to environmental conservation through its usage of recycled PET plastic for the dial. No two are the same, each exhibiting a random pattern and spectrum of colour. But largely speaking, each dial exhibits a tie-dye-like vibe with plenty of rainbow flair. The collection has since grown larger, with 36.5mm, 41.5mm, and 43.5mm models powered by Oris’ modified Sellita movement. The 43.5mm size is now also offered with Oris’ in-house, 10-year backed, and 5-day automatic Calibre 400. Price: starting from US$2,500

Breitling Superocean Automatic 36/42

Breitling Superocean Automatic 42 and 36 rainbow dial editions A17375211B2S1 and U17377211A1S1 body

I am using an admittedly antiquated label as a colloquialism here, but Breitling dropped a fantastic his/her combo of Superocean watches – a rainbow-flavoured sequel to the rainbow-remixed Superocean ’57 limited editions of the past. The pair offers one steel 42mm model and a bi-metal steel and 18k red gold 36mm model, the former utilising a black dial and ceramic bezel while the latter going for a whiteout look. Breitling-modified 38-hour Sellita movements drive both sizes, and with a screw-down crown-secured 300-metre depth rating, these new Breitling Superocean Automatic watches tie Oris for the most robust rainbow watches of the list. Price: US$5,200 (42mm), US$7,300 (36mm)

Zenith Defy 21 Chroma II

zenith defy 21 chroma ii 1

Kicking things up a notch, the masters of high-beat chronographs over at Zenith know how to have fun. A rainbow sequel to the also rainbow-injected Chroma, the Defy 21 Chroma II is presented as a limited edition of 500 pieces in both black and white ceramic configurations. At 44mm, the 100-metre water-resistant watch may seem rather large, but the Defy collection always boasts compact lug-to-lug spans for its diameters. Price: US$15,600

Blancpain Ladybird Colours

With the Blancpain Ladybird Colours, bling has finally entered the chat – but diamonds, not coloured gemstones. A beautifully arranged mother-of-pearl dial, a rainbow gradient of Roman numerals surrounds the outer dial gradually shrinking as you work from 12 to 6. This accommodates the figure 8 rings of diamonds that create both a sense of a central medallion and a sub-dial for the sub-seconds hands. There are diamonds not only set on the dial but also on the white gold bezel and lugs. Further driving rainbow appeal, the watch is bundled with five quick-release, coloured leather straps. It may seem ridiculous to say, but its price of US$35,300 at retail is actually very reasonable when you consider the 34.5mm white gold case set with diamonds, mother-of-pearl dial set with diamonds, five bundled straps, and a 100-hour, in-house automatic 1163 calibre driving it all. Price: US$35,300

F.P. Journe Élégante 48mm Gino’s Dream

FP Journe Elegante Ginos Dream 4

Now, you may think we have finally hit the point where the watch in focus includes a rainbow array of gemstones. Wrong. What you actually are seeing is a gradient of 52 pieces of ceramic glass. Journe opted for this in-house produced material instead of the more common coloured sapphires due to its ability to be more precisely controlled, its hues perfectly curated and uniform. The duo of F.P. Journe Élégante Gino’s Dream watches seen above have an incredibly rich backstory crucial to the genesis of the brand. They were introduced at Watches and Wonders earlier this year, bringing a rainbow twist to arguably the most sought-after quartz watch in the world. Quartz snobs, do not get it twisted. The calibre is crafted with rose gold bridges and features a handy system in which the watch will go to sleep after 35 minutes of inactivity to preserve the battery. Once picked up, it will automatically drive the hands to the correct time and resume timekeeping. Very cool. And before anyone worries, the 48mm in the name refers to the lug-to-lug. Price: CHF 34,500 (~US$38,600)

Hublot Square Bang Unico King Gold Rainbow

Hublot Square Bang Unico King Gold Rainbow LS 1

This is where we have reached the coloured gemstone portion of the list. The Hublot Square Bang Unico King Gold Rainbow takes its latest case shape and decks it out with 50 baguette-cut coloured gemstones set into the polished King Gold bezel and 94 coloured gemstones set into the remainder of the 42mm case. The strap and hour indices match the rainbow energy of the gemstones, incorporating a gradient of hues as well. Keep in mind though, while über-precious in material, it’s still a 100-metre water-resistant watch with an in-house, automatic, flyback chronograph movement that boasts a weekend-proof 72 hours of power reserve. One-click your way over to the bundled black rubber strap and you can safely swim with this bad boy. Price: US$103,300

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 7968/300R

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 7968:300R

Normally chronographs are bigger than their time-and-date relatives, but the Aquanaut 7968/300R, while a gem-set flyback chronograph, is 1mm smaller in diameter than the standard steel 5167/1A. The first-ever chronograph in the Aquanaut Luce line, the ref. 7968/300R-001 “Rainbow” was, according to Patek Philippe, “created especially for modern, active women”. This has not stopped male celebrities and mega-collectors like Kevin O’Leary and Corey Gamble from saying f*** that and sporting it on their wrists. The rainbow effect shines through with its incorporation of 12 coloured sapphires for the hour indices and 40 coloured sapphires set in the bezel. There are even 40 diamonds set into the watch between the bezel and clasp. At 39.9mm, it clocks in at a size that, for anyone who can afford it or get an allocation, should fit most wrists well. It also has the benefit of being bundled with three coloured composite rubber straps as well. Price: US$213,280

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold Double Balance Wheel Openworked

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold Double Balance Wheel Openworked 37mm all

For the rainbow watch category, no offering presents such a high level of technical and aesthetic finesse as the Royal Oak Frosted Gold Double Balance Wheel Openworked. A meticulously skeletonised calibre, finely bevelled and decorated, driven by two balance wheels is enough on its own to have people curious and drooling. Blended with the iconic Royal Oak aesthetic, with the twist of a frosted finish to add further sparkle, you are getting the utmost in high-horology and jewellery. The only thing that may draw the eye first, ahead of the case and bracelet finish and a skeletonised movement, is the gem-set bezel adorned with coloured sapphires between each of the eight bezel screws. Befitting of the pinnacle option of this buying guide, its price is upon request. Price: on request