There’s absolutely no denying that the modern rainbow-watch lineage begins with 1:1 wholesale Rolex replica watches.
Many enthusiasts and collectors would argue that it also ends with Rolex.
For this story, I spoke with a large sampling of perfect fake watches lovers, most of whom confessed that no other watch brand came close to being a legitimate rival in the rainbow-colored playing field. The Daytona ref. 116598RBOW and ref. 116599RBOW kick-started the rainbow wave back in 2012, and Rainbow Mania became even more widespread with the 2018 release of ref. 116595RBOW in Everose gold. The glitz and glam of this high quality replica watches has grabbed everyone from Miley Cyrus to John Mayer.
That makes a certain kind of sense. In so many ways, Rolex sets the industry agenda. But I don’t think any of us expected pretty much every major watch brand to follow suit and wrap itself in rainbows. And yet that’s what we saw in 2022. It happened slowly and then all at once, which is pretty much how things move in the world of cheap US copy watches design. By December (and actually, probably before that), rainbow had clearly distinguished itself as the year’s definitive design movement.
A Little History
In order to put all of this in context and really understand why it matters, allow me to set the scene.
The history of the Rolex rainbow dates back to the 1980s Cellini models (pictured below). But the real rainbow blueprint which has become the frame of reference for this entire category is the Rainbow Daytona. If you want to explore real rainbow predecessor territory then you can take a look at ref. 6269 and ref. 6270, both extremely rare, and both likely created to test the appetite for masculine gem-set AAA replica watches. This was back in the ’80s and it’s interesting to think of this in terms of groundwork being laid for future gem-set experiments.
Eric Ku – the Bay Area-based horological expert and cofounder of online auction platform Loupe This – recently told me about a piece unique luxury fake Rolex Daytona watches that he had previously sold, it was made in the ’90s, originally commissioned by a Middle Eastern client. Which kind of makes it the OG rainbow, pretty wild considering how popular this whole trend has become.
The rainbow replica Rolex Daytona watches for sale was initially met with overtly hostile and borderline violent reactions (see the comments section from the 2018 Baselworld release). And I get this. Before my entry into the watch space, I absolutely detested rainbow jewelry. Its popularity was rising right around the same time as the infamous ref. 116595RBOW, and I felt a strong aversion to well-known jewelry designers like Stephanie Gottlieb and Jessica Biales making rainbow tennis bracelets, necklaces, rings…rainbow everything. It was just too jarring for me, too loud (which is funny if you know me, because my personal style is anything but muted so this really is saying a lot; I am the woman who loves yellow gold). Fast forward a couple of years to the first time I held a rainbow Daytona in the metal. That’s when the rainbow setting became a totally different thing for me. Rainbow was now Rolex. I couldn’t unsee it and I didn’t want to.
At the recent Miami Basel launch of the Code 11.59 Starwheel, John Mayer made a comment during his discussion with François-Henry Bennahmias and Ben Clymer that stuck with me. He said he enjoys super clone watches online that can win him over after a period of time. He enjoys having his mind changed. He went on to explain how often the experts and people behind a brand can also change your feelings toward a watch. This resonated with me in the rainbow context.
Initially, I had wanted to hate the Rainbow Daytona. But after looking at it up close and seeing the quality of craftsmanship, the perfect gradient of sapphires, after trying it on, after speaking with countless vintage experts at auction previews, I simply fell in love with it.
This isn’t an attainable watch by any means. Rainbow, in watch parlance, generally constitutes gem-set China replica watches, which limits this to a very exclusive bracket, which in turn means it’s very collectible. What’s more alluring to collectors than a small production run? Eric Ku called it the rich person’s “ultimate status symbol watch” and he’s right.
If we take the price out of the equation and focus on the increase in admiration and overall appreciation of rainbow fake watches shop, it signals a desire for more, a desire for fun, and perhaps even a desire for more gender neutrality. Here was a fully gem-set watch on what was considered to be an extremely masculine Daytona profile. It was an exchange of male and female design codes: a gender-neutral hybrid.
If you are intrigued by gem setting, this is really the top lot by traditional jewelers’ standards. I spoke about this with my friend and jewelry designer Sarah Ysabel Dyne, who graduated from Central Saint Martins with a degree in jewelry design, then attended the GIA for her gemology degree, and then went on to work for infamous NYC jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz – so she knows her stuff, but isn’t involved with top replica watches, which makes her the perfect person to weigh in on the gems for gems’ sake. “Sapphires used for that kind of work are normally heat-treated to achieve vibrant colors,” she told me.
Rolex sources natural stones, hand-selecting them, and then cutting them to size, which means the watchmakers are taking this seriously. “The calibration on these stones is amazing,” Dyne said. “I have nothing against the use of stones here.” Horological gem setting is no easy feat, with up to 90 percent of each colored stone being disposed of in order to have them fit perfectly into a gradient setting. And all of this is done in-house.
Okay, so that’s Rolex.