Let’s say your friend down the block got cozy enough with his Rolex AD to snag a Rainbow Daytona or a colorful gem set Day-Date. Now, even if you got the call on one of those, you’d be forever known as the neighborhood also-ran. There is hope on the horizon if pockets are deep enough to one-up even the sought after Rainbow Rolexes of the world in the form of this watch, The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Rainbow” 15413BC.
In all seriousness, the person who acquires this watch will have long passed his or her need for out-blinging the Joneses, so to speak. Just like the standard issue 41mm 15400 Royal Oak, this Rainbow preserves the recognizable shape while managing to also be the brightest single object in a glass room on a sunny day. Since it is an unfortunate fact that most of the handful of these Rainbow Royal Oaks will spend their existence locked away in perpetuity, the mystique and brilliance of the watch becomes even more special, which allows for at least a little fantasy.
Imagine, if you will, taking your 15413BC for a spin down to the local Whole Foods. Even the most socially distant shoppers will be able to marvel at the diamond pavé dial from afar. If they are lucky to get a closer look, they will notice the highest quality diamonds form concentric circles on the dial, showing off exemplary craftsmanship and precision. The brilliance doesn’t stop there. Down the meat aisle, the butcher will be simply dazzled when you reach your arm out to select only the finest Kobe beef filets. He will no doubt be entranced by the fact there are double baguette cut diamond indexes at each hour with twelve-o-clock hosting an indulgent four baguettes in order to stand out. The butcher will surely think: “What madness is this? Diamonds on top of diamonds?” as you thank him for the steaks and move along.
Once you’ve finally arrived at the check-out and whipped out the blackest of black cards to pay for your wares, everyone in line will be all smiles when they bear witness to the piece de resistance component of the 15413BC. The bezel greedily snatches attention away from the diamond bathed dial with no less than thirty-two baguette cut sapphires forming a rainbow of color continuously around the bezel. The sapphires are so brilliant and harmonious in their recreation of the best natural light phenomenon that your checkout line companions will applaud and clamor to acquire smartphone photos as you complete your transaction.
Perhaps that shopping trip fantasy may be a bit exaggerated, however there is absolutely nothing exaggerated about the rest of the Royal Oak Rainbow. Aside from the precious stone-fest happening up top, it is all classic Royal Oak below. That is a good thing. White gold comprises the case and bracelet which retain the sharpest edges in the watch industry, a tradition going on nearly fifty years now. The use of the most discreet of gold hues helps to add even more occasion to the Rainbow and diamond specialty. Dare I speculate that the white metal will also help with wardrobe pairing? The overall heft of the watch with gold and gems is substantial enough that the wearer will also reap the no-charge benefit of a one-sided bonus workout.
Audemars Piguet blessed the Rainbow with the absolutely splendid 3120 caliber movement. The least impressive aspect of this movement is the date window at three-o-clock which, while very functional, displaces precious real-estate that could’ve housed at least four diamonds and one whole baguette. Strangely, AP moved its own logo from the dial to a laser etching on the sapphire crystal to allow for more diamonds. This misalignment of priorities is long forgotten when you turn the watch over and gaze upon the movement itself through the case back sapphire glass. The caliber 3120 is securely framed by a thick white gold portico with the classic AP slotted screws which will wreak havoc with anyone’s OCD, as the slots are all aligned in random ways. You may as well divert your gaze to the movement itself, which is finished only as AP can and dominated by the heavy yellow-gold rotor bearing regal AP crests and logos.
In this author’s mind, the final and most important attribute of this watch is that it is water resistant to fifty meters. For me, the idea of swimming a few laps in an outdoor pool with this feat of jeweled engineering strapped on really extrapolates the fantasy of owning a piece like this. It will never happen, I know that, but the idea that it could happen is enough to keep a smile on my face the next time I go for a dip.