A bag of Skittles features less color than the watch Travis Scott wore courtside at a Houston Rockets game this week. Rainbows arc across the sky with less vibrancy than this watch. Scott’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, which was released just last year at watch trade show SIHH, appears to be the brand's counter to Rolex’s hot-all-over-again Rolex Daytona “Rainbow.” But Audemars’s version of the Rainbow is like the Rolex’s after its trust fund kicks in: Suddenly, not only is it surrounded with diamonds, but it’s undergone some cosmetic work – namely, the Florentine technique, by which the watch is hammered with a tiny diamond-tipped device to create that sparkling effect. It's also ripped off the dial to expose all the dazzling machinery underneath the hood. The result is a watch with the ominous “price upon request” label (secondary-market sites have the watch listed in the neighborhood of $150,000). Also this week, LeBron James shows off a new Richard Mille, Roger Federer wears a blacked-out Rolex, and a Stranger Things star has a brand-new Royal Oak.
Travis Scott’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Ascending to the top of the rap world apparently does wonders for your watch collection. Over the past year, Scott’s worn a Patek Philippe with a celestial map of the night sky; another Patek with the critical ability to tell him the time in Auckland, Bangkok, and Caracas all at once; and a different, but almost as shiny, Royal Oak. This new piece from Audemars might be the granddaddy of them all. A good lesson from Scott’s watches: The more difficult it is to read the time, the better the watch.
LeBron James’s Richard Mille RM 11-03
LeBron’s watch collection runs deep. Remember – this is a guy who has his very own collaborative special-edition watch with Audemars Piguet. But he’s not exclusive. Bron wears pieces from Rolex and Patek Philippe with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes he mixes in a special-edition “Jean Todt” RM 11-03, made as an homage to the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile president of the same name, with its Jolly Rancher–blue case.
But it appears James is adding to his collection of Richard Mille watches, starting with the brand’s signature RM 11-03. It’s easy to see why entertainers and athletes alike flock to this model. The RM 11-03, with its sports-car-inspired dial, takes the idea of classic racing watches, like Omega’s Speedmaster or Rolex’s Daytona, and then tweaks them by imagining what Le Mans contestants will wear in the year 3000. Of course, James will still be playing in the NBA then, too.
Roger Federer’s Rolex Day-Date II
In 2008, after decades of making the Day-Date almost exclusively in the 36 mm size, Rolex decided to update the watch to keep up with modern trends. The brand needed something beefier, so in came the Day-Date II: dayer and datier. The new model measured 41 mm, and elements like the bezel and the lugs were given Rock-like proportions. (The Day-Date II was eventually replaced in 2015 by the Day-Date 40, which was – you guessed it – a millimetre smaller.) Federer is wearing the now out-of-production Day-Date II, with a black dial and black numerals.
Millie Bobby Brown’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
When Luka Doncic received the Rookie of the Year award last year, he did so in an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. When Bieber needed a gift for the new Mrs. Bieber, he bought a Royal Oak. While I’m fully aware that Millie Bobby Brown is the breakout star of Netflix’s breakout hit Stranger Things, this is her true arrival into the world of celebrity. There’s a reason the Royal Oak was the most-spotted celebrity timepiece last year. Bobby Brown gets it: When you’re rich and famous and have watch money to blow, you get a Royal Oak. Hers, in steel and with a white dial, could hardly be more classic.
Danny Green’s Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
DUN! DUN! DUN! DUN! Do you hear that? That’s Danny Green’s music! Because this ornate Rolex Daytona is known as...the Eye of the Tiger! The case is 18-karat yellow gold and the bezel features 36 diamonds, with more gems snaking around the dial. What better watch to wear before a game than one that bears the nickname of history’s greatest pump-up anthem? It might not be a coincidence that Green’s Lakers beat the Houston Rockets the night he wore this.
Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Rolex Submariner
A surprising number of fashion designers dress quietly, in contrast to the wild fantasies they spin out for the runway. Valentino's Pierpaolo Piccioli is not one of those designers. Piccioli gets dressed: often in slouchy black suits that make the age-old standard feel brand-new, and somehow louche in the very best way. What I’m winding up to here is that the designer is a man of great taste – which extends, naturally, to his watch game. He’s wearing the iconically iconic Rolex Submariner, a watch that probably doesn’t need any more status conferred upon it. But the watch fits perfectly with Piccioli’s style of taking a classic and making it his own.